How Can I Overwinter Geraniums?
Although geraniums are perennial plants, they are sensitive to frost and freezing temperatures. In regions with cold winters, geraniums are usually grown as annuals. However, home gardeners can easily overwinter geraniums and replant them in next year’s garden. There are three ways to do this: potting, dormant storage, and propagation. Potting geraniums results in larger plants for next year’s garden, while propagation increases the number of plants.
- Moderately Easy
Things You’ll Need
- Shovel or trowel
- Potting soil
- Paper bags
- Sharp knife
- Rooting hormone
- Rooting medium
- Dig the geranium out of the ground, being careful to break as few roots as possible. Shake some of the garden soil off the roots.
- Cut back the geranium to about half its original height. Cut off any broken roots.
- Plant the geranium in a pot, using lightweight potting soil. Water heavily to settle it in.
- Place the potted geranium in a bright, sunny window or under grow lights. Temperatures are best at around 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 65 F in the daytime.
- Two or three times during the winter, pinch back the growing tips of the plant. This will encourage branching, resulting in a bushy plant with more buds. Water as needed.
- Dig up the entire plant before the first frost. Shake all the garden soil from the roots.
- Place each plant in a paper bag. Alternately, hang the plants upside down from the ceiling rafters.
- Store the plants in a cool, dry, dimly lit area. Temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit are good. The leaves will fall off, but the stems should remain firm.
- Two or three times during their dormant period, take the plants down, and soak the roots in water for an hour. Throw out any plants that show signs of rotting or have severely withered stems.
- Pot the dormant geraniums eight to 10 weeks before you plan to move them into the garden. Water the plants thoroughly, and cut back the tip of each stem. Place them in a sunny window to stimulate new growth.
- Cut a section from the end of a geranium stem. The cutting should be 3 or 4 inches long. Use a very sharp, very clean knife to make the cut.
- Pinch off the leaves on the bottom half of the stem, leaving two or three at the tip.
- Dip the bottom of the cutting into rooting hormone, and stick the cutting in a pot of moist rooting medium. Coarse sand, vermiculite, and perlite are all used as rooting mediums.
- Place the cutting in an area with bright, indirect light and high humidity. Keep the rooting medium moist. Geranium cuttings usually take six to eight weeks to develop roots.
- Pot the cutting when it develops roots about 1 inch long. Grow the new geranium plant in a bright, sunny window or under grow lights until it is large enough to plant outdoors.
Tips & Warnings
Fertilize lightly about one month before planting the geranium in the garden.
Wait until there is no danger of frost to plant geraniums outdoors.
Always examine the plant for garden pests, and apply treatment if needed before bringing the geranium indoors.