How to Grow Perennial Geraniums
Geraniums are easy to grow, resistant to disease and colorful, making this flower a popular addition to gardens and landscapes. In most climates, frost-tender perennial geraniums are grown as annuals. In warm climates, perennial geraniums will grow year-round. But even in cold climates, gardeners need not loose their geraniums at the end of the growing season. Growing geraniums as perennials is as simple as potting up the flowers in the fall and nurturing them indoors through the cold months.
Things You’ll Need
- Compost, manure or peat moss
- Garden fork
- Potting soil
- 8- to 12-inch pots
- Prepare the planting bed in the spring after all frosty weather has passed. Spread a 1-inch layer of manure, peat moss or compost over the planting area. Work the organic matter into the top 8 to 12 inches of the soil using a garden fork.
- Set out the geraniums in the areas you intend to plant them. Space the plants 8 to 12 inches apart to create a colorful border or plant them in a flower garden, leaving about 12 inches around each plant.
- Dig out the planting holes for your geraniums at each planting site. Make the holes slightly larger than the nursery pots and as deep.
- Slide the geranium plants out of the nursery pots. Place the fingers of your hand over the top of the pot with the plant protruding from between your fingers. Gently turn over the pot with your other hand until the root ball slides free. Be careful not to drop or damage the delicate stem.
- Place the root ball into the planting hole. Plant geraniums so that the base of the stem is the same depth in the soil as it was in the nursery pot. Soak the area around each plant until it is evenly damp to the bottom of the planting hole.
- Water when the top 1 inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Soak the soil at least 6 inches at each watering.
- Fertilize every other month using a 20-20-20 or a 15-30-15 fertilizer. Check the package to determine the appropriate application method and amount for the specific brand of fertilizer.
- Pot up the geraniums in the fall before the first frost date in your area. Select pots that are 8 to 12 inches wide and have drainage holes in the bottom. Fill the bottom 1/3 of each pot with potting soil.
- Drive a garden shovel into the soil about 3 inches from the base of a geranium plant. Pull back on the handle to lift the root ball from the soil. Place the geranium into one of the prepared pots with the base of the stem about 1 inch below the lip of the pot. Fill in the pot with potting soil leaving 1 inch between the soil line and the lip of the pot. Continue until all the geraniums are in containers.
- Soak each geranium until water seeps from the drainage holes in the bottom and leave them outside to drain completely. Place the pots in a frost-free area where they will get at least six hours of sun a day.
- Allow the top 1 inch of soil to dry out before watering. Soak each pot until water drains from the holes in the bottom. Place the pots in a sink to drain before returning them to their winter location.
- Replant the geraniums in the spring after all chance of frost has passed.