If you’re looking for a hardy plant that offers plenty of blooms in a large variety of colors, geraniums are a great choice. These old-fashioned favorites grow well in flower beds, hanging baskets, containers, window boxes and they’ll bloom beautiful clusters of flowers right through summer until frost. Here are some tips to grow them…
When: Plant outside after all danger of frost has passed and the soil is dry and workable (for the first few days cover them at night to help them acclimate with less stress).
You can start them outside earlier in the Spring by protecting them in a cold frame (make sure to keep cold frame open during the day so it doesn’t get too hot).
They can also be started by seed indoors about three months before going outside.
Location: They thrive in full sun (at least 6 hours) but if you live in a hot climate, find a place where they’ll have a respite from the heat by sheltering them with some afternoon shade.
They’re happy in hanging baskets (especially ivy varieties), patio containers, window boxes and directly in the ground in your flower beds.
Make sure the soil is well draining and if you plant them in a container, be sure to provide drainage holes as they aren’t happy sitting in water.
How: Dig the ground well so it’s nice and loose and mix in some compost. Plant as deep as needed to accommodate the soil ball, keeping the ground level with the top of the soil ball (if planted too deeply and you bury the exposed stem, you run the risk of rot).
They love the sun, but their roots don’t care for hot soil–keep them happy by adding a layer of mulch around it, this will help keep the dirt moist and cool.
If you’re planting in pots and containers, tips for how to do this can be found here.
Watering Conditions: Water every other day when first planted (for the first week), then only when the top 1″ – 2″ of soil is dry (at least once or twice a week). Watch containers in hot weather as they’ll likely need a good drink daily.
They can tolerate dry soil better than they can overwatering so don’t be tempted to give them too much water. Avoid getting leaves and stems wet.
- Keep the blooms coming by feeding monthly with fertilizer or a drink of compost tea–they’ll thank you for it! Feed container plants every other week.
- Bring potted geraniums inside before the first Fall frost and you can enjoy it all winter long! Once inside, trim back by half, water well then place in a location that has plenty of sun. It will prefer a spot slightly cool so keep away from heating vents.
- Pinch off blooms as they fade (deadhead) and this will encourage it to produce lots more blossoms.