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How to Maintain Care for Geraniums


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Geraniums thrive throughout the garden, whether they are planted in beds, pots or hanging baskets. They bloom from spring until the first fall frost, providing a steady supply of color in the landscape. As tender perennials, geraniums do not tolerate frost. They are either brought indoors to overwinter, or grown as annuals and replaced each year. Caring for and maintaining the geraniums properly, regardless of the season, ensures your plants have a long life and remain attractive.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • Fertilizer
  • Shears
  • Pots
    1. Water bedding geraniums once weekly, or when the top 2 inches of soil begins to feel dry to the touch. Water deeply until the top 6 inches of soil feels moist. Water potted geraniums when the soil surface dries, irrigating until the excess moisture drains from the bottom of the pot. Potted geraniums outdoors may require daily watering during the heat of summer.
    2. Fertilize bedding geraniums in spring at planting with 2 lbs. of 10-10-10 fertilizer applied over each 100 square feet of bed, then reapply half this amount of fertilizer again in July. Fertilize potted geraniums in spring and summer when they are actively growing once every two months. Apply a 20-20-20 soluble fertilizer at the rate recommended on the label.
    3. Pinch back plants to encourage full growth in both pots and beds. Pinch off the top 1/2 to 1 inch of each growing stem in spring, as this encourages lateral branching and fullness. Pinch back a second time in mid-summer if plants become leggy.
    4. Remove dead blossoms and foliage to prevent disease and prolong blooming. Geraniums will stop flowering once they set seed, so remove blossoms just below the flower head once they wither. Botrytis fungus lives in dead plant matter, so dead leaf removal protects geraniums from this disease.
    5. Bring potted plants indoors before the first killing frost in fall. Transplant bedding plants to a 6- to 8-inch diameter pot and bring indoors. Cut the plants down to half their previous height, then place them in a window that receives full sun and water when the soil surface begins to dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Overwinter only the healthiest plants in your garden, as plants suffering from disease or pests likely will not survive a winter indoors.

  • Botrytis blight appears as a fungal growth that kills healthy leaves and young flower buds. Treat affected plants immediately with a fungicidal spray.

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