Many gardeners treat geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) As annual bedding plants, but those tender perennials develop to shrublike measurements in frost-free spaces. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 11, they include the favorite common or zonal geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum), regals (Pelargonium x domesticum), trailing ivies (Pelargonium peltatum) and scented-leaved geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) , that have aromatic foliage. In USDA zones cooler compared to zones 10 through 11, geraniums moved indoors — for winter or year-round — keep pulling flowers, color and/or fragrance year in, year out.
Growing Outdoors in Frost-Free Climates
Geraniums perform best when they receive full, direct morning sunlight along with some protection from hot afternoon sun rays. Dry, warm days and cool nights combine for ample, year-round geranium flowering outdoors in frost-free zones. Supply fast-draining soil with ample organic matter and a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. Fantastic drainage is critical to prevent root and stem decay. Geraniums within an inground garden require minimal fertilizer. A water-soluble, 20-20-20 fertilizer used three times throughout the summer season is adequate. Mix 1 tablespoon of that fertilizer with 1 gallon of water, and use the solution to water the geraniums’ soil in place of a normal watering. Since soil nutrients leach quicker in pots than from the ground, feed outdoor container geraniums every two weeks from spring through fall with the identical fertilizer solution utilized for inground-garden geraniums. Decrease watering and fertilizing as light levels fall.
Shifting Inside for Winter Months
In regions with frosts and freezes, some gardeners use sunken containers which lift easily in the backyard and move them inside for winter. Others transplant garden-planted geraniums into containers while still others simply move geraniums in stackable pots inside. Take geraniums inside once the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Trim the plants back, if desired, and supply them with a bright, sunny window. Fantastic drainage remains essential when they’re indoors. Utilize a porous, fast-draining potting mix with good aeration to get geranium roots, and use just containers with bottom drainage holes. No fertilizer is needed during winter. Water the plants’ soil thoroughly until water runs out the pots’ drainage holes, and vacant excess water in the pots’ saucers. The soil should be allowed to dry before it’s watered again. Move the geraniums back outside after the danger of spring frost passes.
Enjoying Year-Round Houseplants
Given adequate lighting, geraniums do nicely indoors all year. Regals, also known as Martha Washingtons, appear to find cooler indoor growing for their liking. Ivy geraniums may be utilised in hanging baskets in well-lit indoor locations. Nighttime temperatures between 50 and 60 F and bright south- or west-facing windows encourage flowering. As they do in other locations, geraniums indoors require fast-draining soil for their health. Permit their soil to dry before watering it, and moisten the whole root balls until water runs through the containers’ drainage holes. Fertilize the plants every two weeks from spring through fall as you would for outdoor potted geraniums. Houseplant geraniums are prone to whiteflies, aphids and spider mites. Spray infested plants with ready-to-use insecticidal soap to protect the pests thoroughly. Retreat the plants weekly as needed.
Wintering Bare-Root and Dormant Plants
Where outdoor wintering is not an alternative, geraniums may spend winter indoors in a dormant state. Cut the plants back to 6 inches in height, either in the garden. Move container-grown or transplanted plants into your cool, dark, frost-free location, or dig up the geraniums and store them bare-root for replanting in spring. Bare-root plants should be packed tightly in deep boxes, covering them with sawdust or a light ground layer. Store dormant bare-root or potted geraniums where temperatures remain 40 to 45 F. Check them sometimes, and include light moisture to them as needed to prevent the plants from shriveling. After all danger of frost passes, pots may be moved outdoors, the bare-root plants replanted and their soil watered well. Plants which were dormant often flower heavily.