How to Grow and Care for Geraniums

This genus, Geranium, includes more than 400 species of flowering plants, including perennial geraniums, annual geraniums, and several others.

As a gardener, I find geraniums an essential addition to any flower garden due to their versatility and charm. It’s worth noting that most common geranium”s we’re familiar with actually belong to a different genus, Pelargonium, but are commonly called geraniums due to historical classification by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. Let’s delve into the world of geraniums and learn how to grow and care for these beautiful plants.

Understanding Why Geraniums Are Perfect for Your Garden

Geraniums are perfect for your garden for several reasons. Their vibrant geranium flowers and dark green foliage can uplift any garden bed or pot. Plus, they’re available in a myriad of types like zonal geraniums, ivy geraniums, regal geraniums, and scented geraniums. Scented geraniums are especially fascinating, with their aromatic green leaves filling the surroundings with pleasant fragrances.

Choosing the Right Geranium for You: Types and Varieties

Understanding the different types of geraniums can help you select the best fit for your gardening needs. Zonal geraniums, known for their dark green foliage and bright blooms, are ideal as container plants or garden beds. On the other hand, ivy geraniums, with their ivy-shaped leaves, are perfect for hanging baskets or window boxes, trailing down beautifully.

geraniums and petunias in balcony pot

Delving into Geranium Types: A Closer Look at Different Varieties

Daredevil Claret Geranium

‘Daredevil Claret’ is a zonal geranium known for its bright claret-red flowers and foliage that make a bold statement. This variety boasts a mounding habit and dark green foliage that nicely complements the bright flowers. It’s perfect for container planting and garden beds and blooms from late spring until the first frost.

Maestro Rose Pink Geranium

The ‘Maestro Rose Pink’ is a zonal geranium known for its large, rose-pink flowers. This variety is known for its heat tolerance, making it perfect for hot climates. Its beautiful blooms and rounded, green foliage make it an excellent addition to garden beds, window boxes, or containers.

geranium bloom

Elegance Royalty White’ Regal Geranium

Also known as “Martha Washington Geranium,” the ‘Elegance Royalty White’ is a regal geranium, boasting striking white blooms adorned with subtle purple veins. This type of geranium prefers cooler temperatures and makes a fantastic houseplant when provided with a sunny window.

Global Merlot Ivy Geranium

The ‘Global Merlot’ is an ivy geranium that offers a cascading habit with beautiful merlot-red flowers. Its ivy-shaped leaves and trailing growth make it perfect for hanging baskets. This type of wild geranium also prefers full sun but will appreciate some afternoon shade in hot weather.

Patriot Lavender Blue Geranium

This is another stunning zonal geranium, ‘Patriot Lavender Blue,’ renowned for its striking lavender-blue flowers. This zonal geraniums grows well in both containers and garden beds, and its blooms add a unique color that stands out in any garden setting.

Royal Candy Pink Ivy Geranium

The ‘Royal Candy Pink’ is an ivy geranium variety with eye-catching candy-pink flowers. This trailing geranium loves sunny spots and looks stunning in hanging baskets, containers, and window boxes with its ivy-shaped leaves and bright blooms.

Royal Lavender Ivy Geranium

Last but not least, the ‘Royal Lavender’ ivy geranium offers stunning lavender-purple flowers that create a lovely contrast with its dark green foliage. Its trailing habit is ideal for hanging baskets, and it brings a vibrant splash of color to any garden, window box, or container.

Where to Plant Your Geraniums: Ideal Locations for Growth

Geraniums love a sunny location. They can tolerate full sun to partial shade, but for best results, plant them in a spot that gets direct sunlight for at least six hours daily. However, in hot weather, an afternoon in partial shade can be beneficial.

Planting Basics: How to Plant Your Geraniums for Optimal Growth

Geraniums can be grown from seeds, but starting from stem cuttings is more popular and easier. For planting, choose well-drained soil or potting soil for potted plants. If you’re planting in a garden, ensure the soil drains well. This is especially crucial for ivy types of plants that love well-draining soil.

Proper Watering Techniques for Healthy Geraniums

Water your geraniums thoroughly but ensure the soil isn’t waterlogged. Allow the soil to dry between watering. Overwatering geranium, can lead to root rot and other problems. In colder climates, watering needs may reduce.

Feeding Your Geraniums: The Importance of Proper Nutrition

Just like other plants, geraniums need proper nutrition for optimal growth and bloom. Feed them with a balanced liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season. Remember to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package for best results.

The Sun and Your Geraniums: Understanding Light Requirements

gerarium

As mentioned, geraniums love sunlight. If you’re growing geraniums indoors, place them near a sunny window to receive enough light. In summer, geraniums can tolerate full sun, but in high summer heat, they might need some shade.

Temperature and Geraniums: What’s the Ideal Climate for Your Plants?

Most geraniums prefer a temperature range of 55-75°F. In colder climates, they need protection. Perennial geraniums are hardy and can tolerate frost, but pelargonium types like zonal and ivy geraniums are sensitive to frost.

Pruning Your Geraniums: How and When to Do It

Regular pruning helps maintain the plant a neat appearance and encourages new growth. You can prune your geraniums in late summer or late winter. Remove faded flowers (spent blooms) to prolong the bloom time and improve the plant’s overall appearance.

Repotting Your Geraniums: A Step-by-Step Guide

Repotting helps your geraniums grow better. The best time to repot is in late winter or early spring, just before the growing season starts. Choose a pot with good drainage holes and fresh, well-drained soil.

Winterizing Your Geraniums: Ensuring Year-Round Care

In colder climates, geraniums, especially pelargonium types, need extra care. After the last full frost has passed, they can be taken outside. Once the first frost is expected, it’s best to move them indoors, unless they are perennial geraniums, which are frost-resistant.

Pests and Diseases: How to Protect Your Geraniums

Geraniums can be attacked by pests like spider mites and aphids. Regular checkups can help identify and treat any infestations early. Diseases like root rot can also occur if the geranium plants are watered excessively or the soil isn’t well-drained.

Encouraging Blooming: Secrets to Vibrant Geranium Flowers

For a great show of geranium flowers, adequate sunlight, regular feeding, and proper pruning are crucial. Also, remove spent blooms to encourage new growth in the plant to produce more flowers.

Propagating Geraniums: How to Multiply Your Beautiful Blooms

Geraniums are relatively easy to propagate, especially from stem cuttings. The best time to take cuttings is in late summer. You can also grow them from seeds, but this is usually done by professional growers.

Embrace the Joy of Geranium Gardening: Final Thoughts and Tips

Growing and caring for geraniums is a delightful journey. With their abundant blooms and appealing foliage, they are a worthy addition to your garden or window boxes. Remember to choose the right type of geranium, provide enough sunlight, maintain the right watering and feeding schedule, and protect them in colder climates.

From Novice to Expert: Your Journey in Geranium Gardening

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced gardener, geraniums can be a joy to grow. Their versatility and wide range of types mean there’s a geranium for every garden and every gardener.

Frequently Asked Questions about Geraniums

What is the difference between perennial geraniums and annual geraniums?

Perennial geraniums, also known as true geraniums or cranesbill, belong to the genus Geranium and are hardy plants that come back year after year. They usually have delicate flowers and are excellent for ground cover. Annuals of geraniums, often referred to as Pelargoniums, are not true geraniums but are commonly called so. They are more showy geraniums with larger, more colorful blooms and are usually grown as annuals.

How often should I water my geraniums?

Geraniums don’t like to sit in waterlogged soil, so it’s crucial to let the soil dry out between waterings. Generally, watering once a week should suffice. However, in hot weather or if the geraniums are in pots or hanging baskets in full sun, you might need to water them more frequently.

When and how should I prune my geraniums?

Pruning your geraniums helps to maintain a compact shape and encourages blooming. Prune your geraniums in late summer or late winter by removing dead and overgrown branches. Always make clean cuts close to the stem, and remember to remove any faded or spent blooms regularly.

Can geraniums be grown indoors?

Yes, geraniums can be grown indoors, especially in colder climates. They need at least six hours of sunlight, so placing them near a sunny window is crucial. In the absence of sufficient natural light, you can use fluorescent lights to supplement.

How can I propagate geraniums?

Geraniums are commonly propagated from stem cuttings. Select a healthy, strong stem around 4-6 inches long, cut just below a node, and remove all but the topmost leaves. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone, then plant it in well-drained soil. Water well and place the cutting in a warm, bright spot.

Why Geraniums? Recapping the Benefits of These Beautiful Blooms

Geraniums are versatile, colorful, and relatively easy to care for, making them a popular choice among gardeners worldwide. With a little attention and care, they can bring a burst of color and life to your garden, window boxes, or hanging baskets, transforming them into a beautiful haven.