Pelargonium species, which come in pots, make great indoor plants that may be grown all year round. They normally become available in March through June, and if given enough light inside the house, they will bloom continuously. There are several fresh varieties, like vining and hanging basket cultivars. They are available in many different types of containers and at varying stages of development.
How are geraniums maintained indoors?
Once the roots have established, new top growth appears. Rooting might take one to four weeks, depending on the type of plant, light, and temperature. To keep the pots from drying out if you set them in a south window with direct sunlight, you might wish to loosely cover them in a clear plastic bag. Yellowing leaves typically result from overwatering or too cold of a climate.
The plants in their original containers or the ones you brought inside from your outside beds will be substantially smaller once you have taken cuttings from them. Take out any dead branches, brown or yellow leaves, flowers, or flower buds. Place them in a warm, well-lit area with modest water. You might want to take another round of cuttings in late winter or early spring depending on your needs and those of your friends.
For them to grow and bloom indoors, they require at least four hours of daily direct sunlight at regular room temperature. While they are actively growing, water them sparingly, making sure the potting mix is moist but never waterlogged. Between waterings, let the top half inch of the soil dry out. When there are signs of growth, apply a diluted 20-20-20 soluble fertilizer every three to four weeks.
For many years, I’ve kept ‘Shone Helena,’ a magnificent salmon-pink geranium, in my sunroom, where it blooms for most of the winter.
How long do indoor geraniums survive?
One of the most dependable types of garden flowers is the geranium (Pelargonium spp.). Around the world, they are grown as indoor plants, as garden annuals in USDA plant hardiness zones 2 through 8, and as perennials in zones 9 through 11. If given the right care, a common geranium can live for 40 years or longer. The most frequent causes of geranium death are overwatering or underwatering, insects or illness, and cold snaps. They might eventually grow long and unsightly, at which point they should either be replaced or removed.
Do geraniums grow better indoors or outdoors?
Gardeners have traditionally favored geraniums. They smell wonderful, are colorful, and are simple to grow. How to cultivate geraniums in your house and garden is provided here!
(Note: This page is about Pelargonium plants, sometimes known as geraniums or storksbills. This is not a page about “hardy geraniums, also referred to as cranesbills.
Geraniums are normally kept indoors to overwinter, even if they may be kept outside throughout the warmer months of the year. In contrast, if given enough light, they can bloom all year long indoors.
Geranium or Pelargonium? A Case of Mistaken Identity
Early in the 18th century, Dutch traders who were traveling through South Africa brought the plants that we now refer to as “geraniums” to Europe. Botanists misclassified these new plants into the same genus because they resembled the hardy wild geraniums that are already present throughout Europe.
Botanist Carl Linnaeus of Sweden included them in the genus Geranium in 1753. Pelargonium, which refers to the long, sharply pointed shape of their seedpod, was used to reclassify these new “geraniums when it was later revealed that they differed from European geraniums in the shape of their petals, the number of stamens, and other features.
However, people still refer to them by their old common name, “geranium,” even if we really mean “pelargonium.”
- You can grow geraniums as annual blooms or as indoor plants. They can be kept outside in a sunny area throughout the warmer months of the year (between your local frost dates).
- If keeping geraniums as indoor plants, make sure to do so in the late summer or early fall when overnight lows begin to consistently fall below 55F. (13C).
- Pay great attention to the size and color of geraniums when purchasing them. Healthy stems and leaves will not be straggly or discolored on top of them or underneath them. A plant with evident insect indications should also be avoided. Mealybugs, whiteflies, and spider mites are typical indoor plant pests.
- To prevent root rot, put plants in containers with drainage holes.
- When planting in pots, use a well-draining potting mixture rather than heavy, clayey soil. Geraniums dislike being planted in mucky, compacted soil.
- Place the plants where they will receive 4-6 hours of sunlight per day for the best bloom.
How to Care for Geraniums
- After letting the soil somewhat dry between waterings, water it again well.
- Water plants significantly less throughout the winter, but make sure the roots are not completely dried up. Given a time of hibernation throughout the winter, when they consume less water and don’t grow as much, geraniums thrive. For additional overwintering tips, see the section below.
- Regularly deadhead spent flowers to promote blooming.
- Pinch back the stems to encourage bushiness and prevent legginess.
- Fertilize approximately every two weeks throughout the active growing months. Half-strength a fertilizer that is water soluble When the plant should be dormant in the winter, avoid fertilizing.
- Repotting geraniums can be done in the spring to promote new growth or if they appear to need revitalization.
- If they receive plenty of sunlight, geraniums that have spent the summer outdoors can be kept indoors. The sun may not be strong enough in northern regions in late winter to promote buds on some cultivars.
- Lift the plants before the first fall frost (you can find your local frost dates here), and use a sharp, clean knife to shapely prune the stems back to about 6 to 8 inches. In the low-sunlight environment they are about to enter, they shouldn’t have to maintain substantial amounts of leaves. A simple technique to increase the number of your plants is to save a few stems for rooting.
- Place the “mother plant” in the smallest pot you can find—just big enough to hold the roots—and fill it with ordinary potting soil.
- The plants should be kept in the shadow for a week before being moved to a sunny location and kept cool.
- Geraniums thrive in temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit (10 and 16 degrees Celsius) at night during the winter, but they can also withstand lows of 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) and highs of 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius), provided they are kept relatively dry.
- Cut off all the old leaves when the spring growth begins.
Keeping the new growth alive is the only challenge that can compare to getting it to appear. Here is some assistance with that:
- Only offer tiny quantities of water when the leaves begin to droop. Don’t feed or fertilize the plants. These plants must have some downtime.
- Pinch back your overwintered geraniums in February if you want them to bloom by Memorial Day. Take the plants outside and move them to beds or pots, as you like, once warm weather returns and all threat of frost has passed.
- Containers are ideal for growing the Common or Zonal Geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) (as well as outdoors).
- Hanging baskets, window boxes, and containers are all extremely popular places to use Ivy-Leaf Geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum).
How to Root Stem Cuttings
The majority of geraniums readily take root from stem cuttings when placed in soil, sand, water, perlite, or another rooting medium.
- Make a slanted incision 4 inches below the tip of the stem, above the node where the leaves emerge, with a clean, sharp knife. Cut the grass immediately below a node. Remove all except two or three leaves, any buds, and the stipules that resemble leaves at the base of leaf stalks.
- To ensure that the cut end of the stem will seal and not rot, roll the stem cutting in newspaper or place it in the shade for 24 hours.
- Place the stem in a wet rooting media container and keep it there for two days in a warm, shaded area. Give the cutting indirect sun after that. Just as needed, moisten the medium.
- Apply crushed geranium leaves to small cuts to halt the bleeding.
- Scarlet geranium is the flower that speaks of foolishness. More floral meanings can be found here.
- You won’t have to worry about those bothersome bugs because geraniums are known to be harmful to Japanese beetles.
- Keep geraniums out of the reach of curious youngsters and animals (cats, dogs) as they might cause indigestion or vomiting.
Low light, overexposure, and underwatering are common issues. Yellowing leaves are a sign that you are watering your plants either too little or too much. Try to water the geraniums evenly in this situation, and transfer them to a more sunny location.
Can indoor geraniums be grown outside?
You might never need to add fertilizer, depending on the condition and age of your plant as well as the potting soil.
Years ago, I neglected to fertilize the geraniums I had in numerous planters by a drafty west-facing window. After the first few years, when the roots began to grow out of the drainage holes, I did transplant them to larger flower pots and provided fresh potting soil at such time, and it was enough to maintain the floral power.
The usual advice is to use a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer made for potted flowers if you so choose. Observe the directions on the packaging. Before the busy spring and summer growing seasons, fertilize the soil.
Grow Outdoors Again
Geraniums can be grown year-round indoors or outdoors after the last frost until early fall (before the first frost).
They certainly like living outdoors, and it’s wonderful to keep plants alive this way for many years, but there is always a risk of bringing bugs or diseases back home when they return.
If you do want to give them a summer vacation outside, adhere to these hardening off requirements for plants. “Hardening off” is just a term for progressively acclimating plants to outdoor growth environments so they can adapt well and avoid extreme heat, light, or cold.
Bring Inside as Houseplants
You can bring your potted geraniums (Pelargoniums) indoors for the winter if you have space for them in a sunny place.
While they require sunlight, they thrive in temperatures between 55 and 65 °F (12-18C). I have tremendous luck keeping the air around them a touch colder than the rest of the home with a west-facing window that is slightly drafty.
Dig Up and Repot if Desired
To make sure they are content, healthy, and bug-free, some preparation is needed.
- Before the first frost, dig up and container your geraniums if they are in the ground.
- If they are already in pots, you can repot them if you want, but first perform a rigorous pruning and a bug inspection (see below).
- Trim any extremely long roots or any unkempt root balls before potting.
- Put flowering plants in containers using potting soil made for them.
- Cutting back the entire plant by between one-third and half is a usual recommendation.
- Any dead, broken, moldy, sick, or diseased pieces should also be taken out.
- If the plant is otherwise good and healthy, you can try keeping any buds or blossoms even though this harsh pruning is ultimately ideal.
Are geraniums suitable as pot plants?
Few flowers in a pot look as wonderful as these ones do. Large clusters of magnificent blooms in shades of red, pink, rose, salmon, orange, lavender, violet, or white are mingled with attractive foliage. Although geraniums are frequently used as bedding plants, we believe they thrive in containers.
2 primary plants You can certainly find four or five distinct types of geraniums if you scour enough garden centers. However, two are responsible for practically all of the sales. The common geranium is the first and most widely grown (Pelargonium x hortorum). Because of the burgundy ring that frequently surrounds its rounded, velvety, green leaves, it is also sometimes referred to as a zonal geranium.
Common geraniums are typically treated as annuals, although in parts of the Southern Coastal and Tropical regions where it doesn’t freeze, they are perennials. Age causes succulent stems to turn woody, and plants develop into attractive shrubs. If you want to grow plants this manner outside of these places, you must keep the plants indoors, next to a window, during the winter.
The ivy geranium (P. peltatum), so named for its glossy green, ivy-shaped leaves, is the second most popular variety. This geranium cascades in growth as opposed to growing erect like regular geraniums. Use it to jump from window boxes, hanging baskets, or the edge of a large planter.
How To Grow Geraniums prefer rich, organically-rich soil that is fertile and well-drained. Between waterings, let the soil become just a little bit dry. Avoid overfertilizing: Feed them with liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer three times throughout the growing season or slow-release, granular fertilizer once in the spring. To keep the plants blooming, regularly remove fading blossoms. The ideal exposure is early full sun with afternoon mild shade.
Ideally Known These plants may suffer damage from the intense summer heat. In hot temperatures, many common geraniums stop blooming, a phenomenon known as “heat check.” (When cooler weather hits, they’ll start flowering again.) Grow heat-tolerant varieties like the Americana, Eclipse, Fidelity, Maverick, and Orbit Series to prevent this. Even less tolerant to excessive heat are ivy geraniums, which thrive in the Upper and Middle South. However, across a large portion of the Lower South, the heat-tolerant Blizzard, Cascade, and Summer Showers Series perform well. Likewise, “Sofie Cascade.” Ivy geraniums can be grown as winter annuals in the coastal and tropical South.
Can I keep my geraniums potted up all winter?
Geraniums can be overwintered inside in three different ways: as a houseplant, as a dormant bare root, or as cuttings. Your decision will be influenced by the amount of room you have indoors and the range of temperatures you can tolerate. Here is a closer examination of each method.
Overwintering geraniums as houseplants
If you want to keep the entire potted plant and have lots of room close to a window that gets bright, direct light, go with this option. A drafty west-facing window would be the ideal place for your potted geranium to spend the winter because geraniums prefer it chilly (55 to 65 F is optimum).
Wash the foliage well with your hose and repot the plant in new potting soil to prevent bringing unwanted pests from outside. You might also use insecticidal soap, which is sold in most garden centers and hardware stores as well as online. Avoid taking the plant indoors if it shows any signs of pests or illness. Only strong plants have a chance of successfully overwintering indoors.
During the winter, keep the soil wet but not damp. No more humidity is required. If the stems begin to sag, pinch them back to keep the plant compact throughout the winter. When springtime comes around, you may start fertilizing once more and transfer the plant back outside as soon as the temperature reliably rises above 50 F.
Overwintering geraniums as dormant bare root plants
This is the most typical way to overwinter geraniums, but it won’t work unless you have a dark, dry place that stays around 50 degrees throughout the winter.
First, dig up your geranium before it freezes and shake the dirt off the roots. To stop mold from forming, let the plant sit and dry for a few days before storage. Before moving onto the following phase, the roots must be completely dry.
The roots should be kept in a dark, dry place that doesn’t get colder than 45 degrees throughout the winter. Geranium roots should be kept at a temperature of 50 F. You can keep them by doing:
- It has been customary for generations to hang the plants upside-down from the rafters;
- placing them on a shelf after wrapping them in newspaper or a paper bag;
- they were put in a cardboard box.
Step 3: Every month or so, look for mold, black leaves, or limp stems at the roots. Remove any plant or root components that are harmful. Most of the stems should endure the winter in good shape. Before re-storing them if they become too wilted, give them a good bath in water and let them air dry.
Step 4: Reviving your geraniums involves cleaning them up, pruning the stems back to healthy green growth, and replanting them in new potting soil about six weeks before your final frost date. Where the new roots will grow, bury the stems two nodes deep. When you notice fresh growth in one to two weeks, keep the plants somewhat dry; after that, keep the soil moist until the plants are big enough to replant outside.
Overwintering geraniums as cuttings
If your light windowsill area is limited or you are concerned that bringing in your entire potted plant would also attract unwanted bugs, this is a nice technique to try. Additionally, it’s a fantastic way to multiply your existing geraniums.
To trim plants, you’ll need:
- a cutting edge.
- Most hardware stores and garden centers sell rooting hormone, which is sold online.
- Use little terracotta or plastic pots, or recycle a clear takeaway container for roasted chicken.
- If you don’t eat chicken, use clear plastic bags to cover the pans.