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How to Unwinterize Geraniums


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Geraniums are grown as summer annuals in many parts of the country, but they are actually tender perennials. Forcing them into a dormant state to overwinter indoors allows you to keep them from year to year with no need for replacement plants. After spending the winter dormant, you must "un-winterize" the geraniums before transplanting them back into the garden. Bringing the plants out of dormancy isn’t difficult, but the proper method must be used to avoid damaging your geraniums.

Difficulty:
Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • Pot
  • Soil
  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Vermiculite
  • Shears
    1. Dig up each geranium plant before the first frost in fall kills off the foliage. Shake the excess soil from the roots and hang them upside down in a dark room with a temperature between 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit to store over winter.
    2. Fill an 8-inch diameter pot with a quality potting mix in early spring. Make your own potting mix by combining one part compost, one part peat moss and one part vermiculite.
    3. Plant one geranium per pot. Plant so the crown of the plant, the place where the stems emerge from the root ball, is even with the soil surface.
    4. Water immediately after planting until the excess moisture begins dripping from the bottom drainage holes. Keep the soil moist at all times.
    5. Cut off the dead stem tips with a pair of garden shears. Cut off the parts that have begun to shrivel, leaving the healthy firm stems on the plant.
    6. Place the geranium in a sunny window to encourage it out of dormancy. New growth begins within two to four weeks.

Tips & Warnings

  • Soak geranium roots in water for an hour two or three times while they are in storage to rehydrate them.

  • Leave geraniums potted over summer or transplant them into a garden bed once all danger of frost has passed.

  • While the leaves may die off while the plant is dormant, the stems should remain healthy. Dispose of plants if the stems begin to shrivel and die.

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