How to Cut Geraniums

Overview

Geraniums are perennials, but may be grown as an annual plant in areas with cold winters. Geraniums come in a variety of colors and petal types, suitable for adding color to beds or containers. Cutting back geraniums helps ensure full growth as well as rejuvenating plants that are no longer flowering as well as they once did. Geraniums also need to be cut if you want to overwinter them in their dormant state. It takes geraniums about two weeks to a month to return to full bloom after a trimming, but the fuller and healthier plants are worth that wait.

Step 1

Pinch the tips off young geranium plants before transplanting them into the garden or into their permanent containers. Pinch off the top 1/4 inch of each growing stem with your fingers. This encourages the stems to branch, which leads to fuller plants that produce more flowers.

Step 2

Cut back geraniums to half their height in midsummer if they are no longer blooming well and beginning to look ragged and leggy. Use sharp shears and leave at least two leaf sets on each stem.

Step 3

Water the plants immediately after cutting and feed with a half-strength balanced fertilizer. This encourages new growth on the recently trimmed geranium.

Step 4

Cut back overwintered geraniums in early spring or March when the plants leave dormancy and begin actively growing again. Trim off all dead leaves. Cut off stems that are withered and hard, leaving just the healthy, firm stems in place. Water and fertilize after trimming.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some annual geraniums, like Martha Washington variety, take too long to return to bloom after cutting back to make the practice worthwhile. Generally, only cut back perennial geranium types.

Things You'll Need

  • Shears
  • Fertilizer

References

  • Iowa State University Extension: Growing and Overwintering Geraniums
Keywords: cutting geraniums, pinch back geranium plants, trimming perennials

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.