How to Unwinterize Geraniums


Geraniums are tender perennials that thrive outdoors during the summer across most of the US, making them ideal for adding brilliant color to window boxes, planters and garden beds. Sun-loving geraniums produce clusters of flowers atop a slender stalk in colors ranging from pastel pink to fiery reds and orange-red. When frost threatens, many gardeners choose to bring geraniums inside, where they are stored in their dormant state by hanging in a cool, dry area until it's time to revive them in the spring.

Step 1

Move geraniums to a sunny location and pot in fresh soil in early spring 6 to 8 weeks before planting time in your area. A mixture of equal parts potting soil, peat moss and perlite creates a porous growing medium.

Step 2

Remove all dead leaves and trim brown or dead stems back to the point where stems are green and firm to revive the dormant plant and encourage foliage to form along the stem.

Step 3

Water thoroughly until water runs clear from the bottom of the pot to saturate the soil. Keep soil moist, but avoid soggy soil. New growth typically appears within two weeks.

Step 4

Apply water-soluble fertilizer when new growth appears. Dilute to ¼ the recommended strength and apply weekly. Full strength fertilizer is not recommended on seedlings as it may damage young roots. A weaker solution applied frequently provides a slow supply of nutrients and is preferred to infrequent applications of a stronger solution.

Step 5

Squeeze new leaves on terminal stems between your thumb and finger to gently pinch out new growth, once new growth flourishes. This forces new leaves form along the stem and creates dense compact foliage.

Step 6

Transplant to the garden or place outside once all danger of frost has passed and weather has warmed.

Things You'll Need

  • Plant pots
  • Potting medium (potting soil, peat moss, perlite)


  • Iowa State University Extension: Overwintering Geraniums
  • Clemson Extension: Growing Geraniums Indoors
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Outdoor-Indoor Geranium Culture

Who Can Help

  • University of Rhode Island: Geranium Care
  • TAMU Extension: Geraniums
Keywords: start geraniums, pot geraniums, grow geraniums

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.