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How to Get Geraniums to Bloom

By Cindy Hill ; Updated September 21, 2017

Geraniums are cheerfully blooming plants of the family Pelargonium, and range from sweet tiny pink-flowering wild species to the common round-leaf scarlet blossomed houseplant variety. Zonal geraniums can be massed as warm-season bedding plants or grown in windowsill pots. Ivy geraniums have glossier leaves and trail from window boxes, while scented geraniums perfume your home in a living potpourri. Get your geraniums to bloom and keep them blooming with the right soil, light, temperature and watering schedule.

Locate your geraniums, whether in pots or garden beds, in a spot with light suitable for that geranium variety: Zonal geraniums must have full sun at least six hours per day to bloom, while other geranium varieties can tolerate slightly more shade. Keep potted geraniums by a sunny south-facing window or supplement natural light with a few hours under grow lights each day.

Plant outdoor geraniums densely, and let potted geraniums become root bound to encourage blooming.

Water outdoor geraniums once a week and potted geraniums twice a week. Use rainwater to avoid salt build up in the soil. Allow soil to dry out between waterings. Add water-soluble fertilizer to your watering routine once a month, but do not over fertilize.

Monitor the temperature near your geraniums. Adjust temperatures for zonal geraniums grown indoors to 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55 F at night. Keep the growing area a few degrees cooler for ivy or scented geraniums.

Promptly pinch off any dying blossoms at the base of the flower stem. Pinch back new growth tips regularly to encourage branching and new growth.


Things You Will Need

  • Geranium plants
  • Rain water
  • Water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer
  • Grow lights (optional)


  • Geraniums will flower all year but are less prolific in winter.
  • Younger geranium plants flower more profusely, so start new growth from leaf cuttings regularly and discard older plants as their blooming slows.

About the Author


A freelance writer since 1978 and attorney since 1981, Cindy Hill has won awards for articles on organic agriculture and wild foods, and has published widely in the areas of law, public policy, local foods and gardening. She holds a B.A. in political science from State University of New York and a Master of Environmental Law and a J.D. from Vermont Law School.