The Cultivation of Geraniums
Geraniums are extremely versatile and easy to grow and thus are good planting projects for kids and first-time gardeners. Some geraniums can reach 5 feet to 6 feet tall, although these plants typically grow to between 12 inches and 24 inches tall. Because they produce flowers that range in hue from purple, pink and red, to white, orange and even salmon. Geraniums can add beauty to any outdoor garden or indoor space.
- Moderately Easy
Things You’ll Need
- Potting containers
- Fluorescent lights
- Geranium starter plants
- Soilless potting mix
- Gardening gloves
- Watering can
- Liquid fertilizer
- Dry cloth
- Gardening shears
- Select an area of your yard that provides full sun and good air circulation. Also, make sure the soil you will use for growing your geraniums is slightly dry and well-drained. If cultivating geraniums inside, choose a sunny south-facing window or use a couple of fluorescent grow lights for the plants. Optimum plant growth occurs between 70 degrees F and 75 degrees F during the day and from 60 degrees F to 65 degrees F at night.
- Collect a sample of soil from your outside garden and take it to your local county extension office to have it tested. The test will let you know if you should add an inch of soil amendments such as sphagnum peat moss, partially-rotted manure, or compost to your garden. The ideal pH for geranium soil is 5.8 to 6.2.
- Dig holes in your outside garden for your geranium starter plants, spacing the holes 12 inches apart. Pour a soilless potting mix into your indoor planting containers so the containers are three-quarters full. Both inside and outside, place your geranium seedlings in the soil no deeper than the depth they were growing in their initial pots. Firm the soil around the roots.
- Give the geraniums water once a week so that the soil is moist. Test the soil each week using your finger to see if your plants need more water. Allow the soil to dry out between watering times, and avoid getting water on the plants’ leaves, which can cause plant diseases, such as blight and leaf spots.
- Apply a liquid fertilizer to your geraniums based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Spray any fertilizer that gets on any of the plants’ foliage away with water to avoid burning your plants, and gently dry these areas with a cloth. Repeat the fertilizer application once a month. Apply fungicide according to the manufacturer’s instructions if spots appear on the leaves.
- Remove any dead or damaged stems, leaves and flowers from your plants. This will keep your geraniums looking nice and promote new blooms. Dig up your outdoor plants and pot them if you plan to keep them indoors during the winter. Geraniums will survive only a light frost, so take them inside around the first frost.