Geraniums are a long-time favourite of gardeners. They are easy to grow, colourful, and emit a lovely scent. Although they may be kept outdoors during the warmer part of the year, geraniums are typically kept indoors to overwinter. Alternatively, if provided with enough light, they can bloom indoors all year long.
- Geraniums may be grown as houseplants or as annual flowers. During the warmer months of the year (between your local frost dates), they can be kept outdoors in a sunny location.
- If keeping geraniums as houseplants, be sure to bring them indoors in late summer or early fall, when night-time temperatures start to regularly dip below 55°F (13°C).
- When buying geraniums, pay close attention to colour and size. Healthy leaves will have no discoloration on or below them and stems will be sturdy, not straggly. Be sure to avoid any plants with obvious signs of pests as well. Common houseplant pests include mealybugs, whiteflies, and spider mites.
- Place plants in pots with drainage holes to avoid root rot.
- Use a well-draining potting mixture (not heavy, clayey soil) when planting in containers. Geraniums do not like to sit in soggy, compacted soil.
- For maximum bloom, place the plants in an area where they will get 4-6 hours of sunlight.
HOW TO CARE FOR GERANIUMS
- Allow soil to dry to some extent between waterings, then water thoroughly.
- During the winter, water much less, but do not let the roots dry out entirely. Geraniums do best when given a period of dormancy through the winter months, during which they use less water and do not grow much. See below for more overwintering instructions.
- To encourage blooming, deadhead spent flowers regularly.
- To promote bushiness and curtail legginess, pinch back the stems.
- During active growing months, fertilize every 2 weeks or so. Use a water-soluble fertilizer at half strength. Don’t fertilize in winter, when the plant should be dormant.
- Geraniums can be re-potted in spring to encourage new growth—or if they look like they need to be refreshed.
For more information on how to properly care for your Pelargonium, click here