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How to Get Geraniums to Keep Blooming

By Fern Fischer ; Updated September 21, 2017

Geraniums, or Pelargoniums, are native to South Africa. They are also known as garden geraniums or zonal geraniums. Pelargoniums are available with blooms in a variety of reds, whites, or pinks. Some of the new hybrids have colorful, decorative leaves as well.

After an initial rush of blooms, geraniums sometimes reach a point where they do not flower much. Part of this may be due to the controlled conditions they were grown under in the greenhouse, and the change when you brought them home. Geraniums also need some simple attention to keep them at their best.

Pinch off spent blooms. Geraniums will focus on seed production instead of new blooms if spent flowers are left on the plant. Remove the faded flowers, and any leaves and stems that are dry and brown.

Pinch back leggy branches. This encourages a more bushy branching habit, and more growing tips where flowers will emerge. Pinch back geraniums if they are tall and you do not see blooms developing.

Fertilize your geraniums with a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or 14-14-14. Phosphorus, the second number in the fertilizer ratio, is what encourages flowering, and it needs to be equal in the ratio to promote blooms. Keep geraniums moist, and don’t let them completely dry out between watering. Be sure the soil is well drained and that the roots are not soggy.

Plant your geraniums where they will receive plenty of sunlight. They need six hours a day, or more if it is filtered sunlight. If the plant struggles to get enough light, it will not produce flowers.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Geraniums
  • Sharp clippers
  • Balanced fertilizer

Tip

  • Feed your geraniums once every three to five weeks if they are in containers. If they are in the ground, feed them once every four to six weeks. Too much fertilizer will encourage lots of green vegetation and too few flowers.

Warning

  • If you have to pinch off geranium flowers that have a brown, dead center and the flowerets around the edge seem normal, your plant may be infected with botrytis, a fungal disease. Trim away all infected parts of the plant; they will be soft and brown. Water carefully at the soil level as needed. Botrytis on geranium flower heads can be caused by overhead watering or poor air circulation.

About the Author

 

Fern Fischer's print and online work has appeared in publications such as Midwest Gardening, Dolls, Workbasket, Quilts for Today and Cooking Fresh. With a broader focus on organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family articles, she specializes in topics involving antique and modern quilting, sewing and needlework techniques.