The vibrant colors and refreshing foliage of geraniums seem too vital to throw away at the end of the summer blooming season. Use several strategies to carry over your geraniums to next spring and summer. No strategy is completely foolproof, but different groups of experienced gardeners swear by each method. Dig your geraniums up carefully and have fun saving these joyful summer blooms for next year.
Things You’ll Need
- Clippers or scissors
- Brown paper bags
- Clean pots
- Potting soil
- Loosen dirt around geranium gently and lift plant with any clinging dirt to workbench. Carefully loosen any remaining dirt from the plant’s roots and trim back spent blossoms and tired leaves. Place each plant in a brown paper bag and store bags in a cool dry place (pioneer wives used to hang the bare-root plants from the rafters). Once a month, until you replant them in the spring, take the bare-root plants out of their bags and soak them in lukewarm water for an hour. Gently shake off remaining moisture and rebag the plants.
- Keep your geraniums in their summer pots, trimming plant stems back behind the last pair of leaves. Rinse the remaining stems and the top of the soil to remove any summer insects living in your geranium pots. Place them in a cool dry place — the windowsill in an unheated garage keeps them cold without freezing. Water monthly until spring. If placing on a windowsill, keep them from direct light, which can confuse winter-dormant plants.
- Dig gently around your geraniums and remove them from their summer bed or pots. Cut back your plant stems to between 6 and 8 inches long or to the last pair of healthy leaves. Prepare clean pots and new potting soil. Rinse your pruned plants and move them to their new pots. Place on a sunny indoor windowsill with your other houseplants and water them regularly. Feed with all-purpose houseplant food and pinch back any leggy shoots to reshape your plants. Nearly all will form bushy new growth and some will bloom before it is time to move back outside.
Tips & Warnings
Watering during winter and early spring months is crucial to overwintering geraniums. Plants allowed to dry out completely are unlikely to regrow. Water during the winter, then carefully prune back branches until you see live greenish fiber.