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Geraniums: Basic Care and Tips

Geraniums are beloved by gardeners everywhere because they are easy to care for, bloom profusely, and emit a wonderful fragrance. Garden geraniums are annuals in most zones, but when overwintered indoors, they can thrive for years. It’s easiest if the geranium is in a pot that you can move indoors and out with the seasons.

Geranium Basic Care

Follow this guide to keep your geranium plants happy and healthy. A well-cared-for geranium can live upwards of 20 years.

Sun: Full sun is best, at least 6 hours. In especially hot locations, geranium plants appreciate some shade during the hottest parts of the day.

Water: Let the soil dry a little before watering, then water thoroughly. Geraniums like consistent watering.

Temperature: During the summer, keep geraniums outdoors where they will enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Once nighttime temperatures begin going below 50F, it’s time to bring them indoors.

Pots & Soil: Always plant geraniums in pots with drainage holes and use good quality, well-draining potting soil. Soggy soil leads to root rot, a common problem with geraniums that don’t have good drainage. Repot the plants in spring to refresh the soil and nutrients and to encourage new growth.

Fertilizer: If your geraniums are in the garden, they need a timed-release or slow-release fertilizer. Geraniums in pots need an application of all-purpose fertilizer monthly during the primary growing season or liquid weekly. Don’t fertilize plants in winter — they need a rest!

Pruning & Blooming: Pinch back growth to force the plant to grow multiple stems, which in turn produces a bushier, fuller plant. Do this early in the growing season. Deadhead flowers regularly to encourage new blooms. Cut the spent flower and the stem it grew on so the geranium can focus on growing new branches and flowers.

How To Overwinter Geraniums

With enough sun, a geranium will continue blooming throughout the winter. This is more challenging in northern climates, but it is possible. At the very least, the plant will remain alive and healthy even if it’s not producing flowers.

  • Bring the plant indoors before nighttime temperatures continuously dip below 55F.
  • Cut the stems back, so the plant is around 6-8 inches tall. It is easier for geraniums to thrive when smaller.
  • Only water when the leaves droop, and then just give them a small drink.
  • Place geraniums in a bright, sunny location, like a south-facing windowsill.
  • In February, pinch back the leaves, and the geraniums should bloom in time for Memorial Day.

Geraniums look incredible everywhere they are planted — garden beds, hanging baskets, along borders, or in pots on the back deck. The flowers brighten up a room when they bloom indoors. With so many varieties and colors to choose from, there is a geranium for everyone!