If given the proper care, geraniums can survive the winter. Geraniums are notoriously difficult for gardeners to overwinter.
Can geraniums survive the cold in pots?
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.
How should geraniums be cared for over the winter?
Geraniums are incredibly simple to store for the winter—just place them in a cardboard box or a paper bag and secure the top. The following advice will help them survive:
- Maintain geraniums in a cool, dry area with a temperature of 50 to 60 degrees F.
- Once a month or so, remove dried leaves from the bag or box and check for mold.
- Check the stems quickly at the same time; they should be stiff. Throw away any dried-out, shriveled stems you uncover.
- If you see that the plants are becoming really dry and crispy, give them a brief soak in water.
- Plants with stems that appear to be blackened or mildewed should be disposed away.
Geraniums are typically kept in a sack upside down. Although the exact cause is unknown, one idea holds that it does so by pushing moisture into the stems. Whatever the cause, storing them in this manner is neither harmful nor necessarily harmful.
Hardy Geraniums vs. Pelargoniums
Pelargoniums should not be confused with hardy geraniums. You might be wondering what makes a geranium different from a pelargonium. Similar to some siblings, they are both members of the same plant family, but they could not be more unlike.
Pelargoniums cannot withstand frost, while hardy geraniums can. Pelargoniums are usually treated as annuals and replanted each year, but true hardy geraniums are perennials that grow back every year. Pelargoniums die in the winter.
Prune your Hardy Geraniums
Your sturdy geraniums will look their best and promote new growth if you prune them properly. By correctly pruning your hardy geraniums after the blooming season, you can encourage repeat blooming. The majority of geraniums can be cut back twice in a single season, which allows them to bloom at least three times.
When to Prune
Your hardy geraniums should be pruned in accordance with the season you are in. Rozanne will require various cuts in the spring, summer, and fall. To maintain your blooms rich and healthy, mark your calendar and adhere to our seasonal trimming recommendations.
What tools you need
Your geraniums may be pruned fairly easily. All you’ll need is the ability to prune, a pair of sharp pruners, your favorite mulch, and your favorite gardening gloves. Watch this video to learn more about pruning strategies in detail.
How to prune
You shouldn’t be concerned that pruning your flower’s back will harm her. The majority of hardy geraniums require trimming to promote new growth and prevent them from encroaching upon other plants.
Trim the plant back to within a few inches of the ground or to about an inch above the main stem once the flowering is completed or you find old growth. Remove any brown stems or yellow leaves after that by going inside.
Shortly after cutting, you will notice new leaves appear! Some resilient geraniums even have the ability to blossom again. Maintaining correct pruning on your plants encourages new development and keeps them from spilling out throughout your landscape.
What pruning advice do you prefer? Share them with us in a comment on our Facebook page!
Can geraniums endure snow?
Grow geraniums as indoor houseplants or annuals outside their hardiness area. While geraniums can endure colder temperatures and even light frosts, harsh killing freezes — when temperatures dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit — result in freeze damage and possibly death of the geranium. The minimum temperature for geraniums in Celsius is -7 degrees.
How should I use the geraniums from previous year?
Knowing how to overwinter geraniums is very useful for gardeners since it can help them save money and extend the life of particular varieties they enjoy.
Pelargoniums, sometimes known as geraniums, are mainstays of the summer garden. Geraniums are ideal for adding cheer and long-lasting color to hanging baskets, containers, and borders since they come in a variety of colors and flower continually as long as they are deadheaded.
However, when making your job list, you might consider including them as one of your winter garden ideas.
When growing frost-sensitive plants, planning a winter garden is crucial. Geraniums are perennial plants that put on a long display, but they are frost tender, which means they won’t survive harsh winters. If you are interested in cultivating geraniums, you must learn how to overwinter them.
Geraniums are South African natives that thrive in the heat and can withstand periods of drought with little water.
Pelargoniums, sometimes known as geraniums, may live in USDA zones 7 to temperatures of -12oF (0oC) if they are sheltered. They are hardy in climates between 20oF and 50oF in zones 9 through 12. They need to be sheltered in these conditions because, while they can withstand brief frosts (temperatures slightly below freezing), they cannot withstand prolonged exposure.
The Pelargonium genus contains a wide range of cultivars, all of which are categorized as delicate perennials. According to David Taylor, vice chairman of the UK Pelargonium and Geranium Society, “this means that they are not cold hardy as the majority of the founding species come from the warmer climbs of the Southern Hemisphere.
Perennial plants are able to flourish for a number of years, however in the UK this would mean that they would also need to be sheltered from winter wet and damp in addition to frost.
Geraniums can be cared for like annuals by being dug out in the fall, composted, and then replaced with fresh plants the following year. The appropriate care and attention, however, will enable you to winterize geraniums, keeping them alive throughout the winter so they can bloom once more the following year.
According to David Taylor, vice chairman of the UK Pelargonium and Geranium Society, “Keen enthusiasts keep their pelargoniums in growth during the winter and continue to feed and water but a few key points can be undertaken by anyone to keep your pelargoniums (geraniums) alive throughout the winter” (opens in new tab).
Pelargoniums are known as geraniums, but these plants are not the same as hardy geraniums or cranesbill, which are a different kind of plant and don’t need to be overwintered.
I have geraniums, when should I bring them inside?
Bring geraniums indoors before the first frost to overwinter them. Drag the entire pot indoors where they should stay for a few weeks while you take care of other more urgent garden tasks if you are growing them in a tub or container and have limited time (as it generally is in the fall). If they were grown in beds, simply remove them with a little dirt, place them in a pot, and water them sparingly. They will survive for a few weeks until you can deal with them.
For the winter, should geraniums be pruned back?
You should prune a perennial geranium after it has bloomed all season and starts to wither. This helps the plant store energy for the spring while simultaneously keeping it dormant for the winter. This could need to happen any time between August and late October, depending on your zone. Cut perennial geraniums down to 2 or 3 inches above the soil with a pair of trustworthy shears, ideally at nodes or new growth points. Take out any more flowers or foliage. You’ll have a collection of thick stems that is really ugly. But don’t panic, your blooms will return in full bloom the following spring.
How long do geraniums in pots last?
My geraniums are no longer blooming. I fed them, but it was ineffective. What’s the issue?
You might be feeding them too much. Pelargoniums, a genus of geraniums native to the Mediterranean, flourish in full sunlight and relatively infertile soil. Overfeeding can be the issue if you have a lot of foliage growth and the plants appear healthy. For a while, stop giving them food. But if your plants are becoming older and their stems are getting lanky, it might be time to propagate. Although they can live much longer, geraniums typically only bloom for two years on average before becoming woody and losing their blooming ability. Thankfully, geranium propagation is simple. Simply cut stem tips with at least two pairs of healthy leaves from a four-inch stem. Cut the stem at the lowest point, dunk it in hormone rooting powder, and then plant it in a mixture of half sand and half peat moss. In around three weeks, repot in ordinary soil after providing adequate watering and covering with plastic to assist preserve moisture. Sticking the cutting in water and letting it grow roots before potting is a simpler method.
Can geraniums recover after a freeze?
The geranium will keep any uninjured leaves and stems if the weather improves after a frost or freeze in the garden. Depending on the weather, it may start to develop again from the tip of the stem or go dormant until the right amount of warmth returns in the spring. Frost-killed leaves and stems turn black and dry, however there may be some rotting of soft stem tissue where dead tissue meets living, moist tissue.
- Geranium plants cannot be subjected to frosts in order to be permanently evergreen, remaining alive with all of their leaves and stems.
- When air temperatures dip and stay between 25 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit, plants can suffer significant damage or even die. The geranium will keep any uninjured leaves and stems if the weather improves after a frost or freeze in the garden.
How much cold can geraniums stand?
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.