How to Grow Geraniums in the South

Overview

Geraniums are a tender perennial that does not tolerate temperatures below freezing or extreme heat. In most areas of the south, geraniums can be grown as a winter annual or as a perennial if grown in containers. Geraniums come in a range of colors and bloom profusely when all their needs are met. They are suitable as both a bedding plant and as a potted plant. They also thrive in partial shade, allowing you to plant them in areas where other flowers won't bloom.

Step 1

Plant geraniums in early fall once daytime temperatures have dropped below 85 degrees Farenheit. Prepare a well-draining garden bed in an area that receives at least four hours of sun. Work a 2-inch layer of compost into the bed to improve drainage if necessary.

Step 2

Fertilize the bed prior to planting. Work in 2 lbs. of 6-6-6 analysis fertilizer per every 100 square feet of bed.

Step 3

Dig the planting holes to the same depth as the nursery pot and slightly water. Pull the geranium from its nursery pot and set it in the hole so it is at the same depth in the bed that it was at in the pot. Refill around it with soil and firm it in place. Space geraniums 18 inches apart in all directions.

Step 4

Water immediately after planting then provide enough water thereafter to keep the soil bed moist, but not soggy. Provide water to the base of the plant and avoid getting water on the leaves as this makes them prone to disease. In areas of the south with regular afternoon rains, consider planting the geraniums in an area that is sheltered from the rainfall such as under trees or patio covers.

Step 5

Place a 2-inch layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips, over the bed and around the plants. This preserves soil moisture as well as keeping the roots cool, which is vital in warmer climates.

Step 6

Bring potted geraniums in when daytime temperatures are over 85 degrees Farenheit. Place them in a sunny window, rotating the plant every two to three days so all sides receive equal light. Set the pots back outside once temperatures begin to fall.

Tips and Warnings

  • During the periods of summer drought common in some southern areas geraniums may require additional watering.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch

References

  • University of Florida: Geraniums for Florida
  • Clemson Extension: Geranium
Keywords: southern gardening, growing geraniums, warm climate geranium

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.