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How to Store Geraniums for Winter


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Geraniums, with their brightly colored blooms, are a flower bed staple. Unfortunately, they will not survive outdoors past the first hard frost. However, geraniums can be stored indoors over the winter with minimal effort. There are several ways to do this. Taking cuttings is one of the easiest methods and ensures you’ll have plenty of beautiful, inexpensive geraniums come spring. According to the Purdue University Horticulture Extension, you also can overwinter geraniums by hanging them.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • Geraniums
  • Clean, sharp knife
  • Rooting hormone
  • Flower pots with drainage holes
  • Rooting medium (i.e. mix of coarse sand and sphagnum moss)
  • Plastic bags
  • Fungicide

Cutting Method

  1. Clay flower pots are a good choice.

    Place 3 to 4 inches of rooting medium in a flower pot or other planting container with drainage holes.

  2. Take as many 3- to 4-inch-long stem cuttings as desired. Remove the lower leaves of the shoots with a clean, sharp knife.
  3. Dip the end of each cutting in a rooting hormone of your choice.
  4. Geranium shoots planted in plastic pot.

    Plant the shoots in the rooting medium, just deep enough that the shoots do not lean or fall over. Water well and cover the container and shoots with a plastic bag.

  5. Place in bright but indirect light. Keep rooting material relatively dry. Allow anywhere from four to eight weeks for roots to develop.
  6. Remove plastic covering when cuttings have rooted and replant each shoot in a separate pot with potting soil.
  7. Geraniums need lots of light

    Place newly potted shoots in a bright, sunny spot.

Hanging Method

  1. Dig up geraniums and shake dirt from the roots. Do this before the first frost.
  2. Hang plants upside down in a cool, dark place, such as a basement. Humidity should be low and room temperature should be between 45 to 50 F.
  3. Take plants down once a month and soak the roots in water for one to two hours.
  4. Apply a fungicide (bulb dust) after soaking. Place fungicide and plants in a paper bag and shake well. Rehang plants.
  5. Cut plants back to 1/3 of their original height in the spring. Plant in the garden after the danger of frost has passed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Geraniums have a tendency to get spindly. To minimize this, pinch back flowers regularly, increase light exposure and add a liquid fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus.

  • Geraniums need at least four hours of direct sunlight each day in order to flower. They will grow adequately with less light but will not flower.

  • Be sure to choose healthy-looking geraniums for storing. The horticulture experts at Purdue University Cooperative Extension say wilted, rotting or discolored plants will not store well.

  • If using the hanging method, expect most of the leaves to dry up and fall off during storage.

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