Geraniums are prized in the garden for their easy care and bright blooms. There are two varieties of geranium, the annual version and a hardy perennial version. Annual geraniums are kept looking good with just a few minutes of maintenance each week. The hardy perennial is preferred in most gardens as they return year after year and can easily survive cold winters. Perennial geraniums often need rejuvenation in mid-summer. They have been blooming for a couple months at this point so they begin to look leggy and may not be blooming as proficiently. A few minutes fixing them up allows them to come back and flower profusely until fall.
Remove blooms from both annual and perennial geranium plants as they begin to whither and die. Pinch them off ¼ inch beneath the flower head and discard. This allows the geranium to concentrate on flowering instead of seed production. Remove blooms weekly from annual varieties to keep them fresh looking.
Cut off stems that grow longer than the rest of the plant with sharp shears for both annual and perennial varieties. Cut them down to the height of the main plant as they grow in to keep the plant bushy and full.
Cut back the entire perennial plant in mid- to late-summer if blooming is slowing down or the plant is looking bad. Cut the plant down to 3 to 5 inches above the ground, leaving at least one set of leaves on each stem.
Apply a balanced fertilizer after cutting back to encourage new growth and bud set. Follow label application instructions for the fertilization brand. Annual geraniums also respond well to a mid-summer fertilizer application.
Water the perennial geraniums thoroughly after cutting back and fertilizing. Supply enough water to moisten the soil but not so much that it is soggy. Keep the soil moist at all times while the plant is replacing the removed foliage.
Things You Will Need
- Apply a 2-inch layer of organic mulch around the geraniums to preserve soil moisture.
- Cut back annual geraniums only enough to control legginess, as more severe trimmings may kill them.
- Remove all the trimmed off parts of the plants from the bed immediately. Dead plant material harbors diseases and insects which may damage your geraniums.
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