How to Overwinter Geraniums

Overview

Some gardeners like to bring a little bit of summer into the house at the end of the growing season. Geraniums offer garden enthusiasts a beautiful annual plant that will overwinter inside the house. These incredibly tough plants will thrive in a bright spot in your home or in the coolness of your basement. Such versatility allows the gardener to choose between regularly maintaining a plant throughout the winter or simply letting the plant go dormant. Learning how to overwinter geraniums involves making a choice with this versatile, hardy perennial.

A Blooming Houseplant

Step 1

Pull the geranium carefully out of the garden or outdoor container. Shake off excess soil and rinse the roots with a garden sprayer. Completely cleaning the plant limits the incidence of insects that thrive in warm indoor environments.

Step 2

Repot the plant in a clean pot with fresh potting soil. The use of new potting soil prevents the introduction of insects as well.

Step 3

Place the geranium in a sunny spot that offers 10 to 12 hours of light. Choose southern exposure or place the plant under a fluorescent growing light.

Step 4

Water regularly when the soil becomes dry to the touch.

Step 5

Clip back dead blooms and stalks to the parent stem of the plant to encourage continual blooming. Discard these clipping in the trash.

Step 6

Move the plant back outside after the chance of frost has passed.

Drying Geraniums

Step 1

Remove the geranium from the garden or container and shake to remove soil.

Step 2

Clip back foliage to remove spent flowers and dead leaves. Retain the thickest part of the main stem of the plant.

Step 3

Place the plant inside an open paper grocery bag or suspend upside down in a cool, dry location. Temperatures should range from 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit and this location should be dark.

Step 4

Soak the geranium roots in water for one to two hours a few times through the winter. Place the plant back into its bag or return the geranium to its hanger after watering.

Step 5

Clip off dead growth and repot the geranium in a clean planter with fresh potting soil three to four weeks before the last frost. This allows plenty of time for the plant to begin growing before outdoor planting.

Things You'll Need

  • Potting soil
  • Clean plant pot
  • Fluorescent plant light
  • Paper grocery bags
  • Garden hose

References

  • Iowa State University Extension
  • Unversity of Illinois Extension
Keywords: geranium care, overwinter geranium, geraniums

About this Author

Currently studying for her Maryland master gardener certification, Sharon Heron has written professionally since 2006. Her writing includes hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including gardening, environment, golf, parenting, exercise, finances and consumer how-to articles.