Geraniums are so hardy that they can survive a winter indoors as houseplants. This will save you money on annuals for your garden in the spring, and provide you with lovely foliage and some beautiful blooms during the cold winter months. Follow the steps outlined below to save your geraniums indoors over the winter, and you’ll have pots bursting with blooms ready to transplant to your garden in the spring. If you already keep your geraniums in pots outdoors, you can transfer them inside with almost no effort.
- Moderately Easy
Things You’ll Need
- Geranium plant
- Garden shears
- Pot and saucer
- Potting soil
- 20-20-20 fertilizer
- Before the first fall frost, use garden shears to trim off approximately half of the top growth of the geranium plant you are considering saving indoors over the winter.
- Examine the bottom side of the geranium plant your trimming has exposed for insect or bacterial damage, which will appear as round or v-shaped brown spots. If only a few leaves show signs of damage, remove them. If the majority of the leaves have been impacted, the plant is not a good candidate to winter indoors. Trim down more plants until you find one with healthy bottom growth.
- Transplant the geranium you’ve selected into a pot. Place two inches of gravel at the bottom of the pot to ensure adequate drainage, and fill the pot to the halfway point with fresh potting soil. Gently pat the roots of your geranium plant to remove excess garden soil, and place the roots into the pot. Surround the roots with more potting soil, pat the top of the soil down firmly and place the pot on top of a saucer. Water the geranium until you see a trickle of water come through the saucer.
- Keep your geranium plant in a cool spot in your home, ideally between 60 degrees and 75 degrees. Place the plant where it has access to light six to eight hours per day, and water it two times per week. Once new growth appears, fertilize the soil with a mixture of one tsp of water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer dissolved in one gallon of water once a month.
- Replant your geraniums outside when the danger of spring frost has passed.
Tips & Warnings
If your geraniums are already potted, simply trim them down, check to ensure that the bottom growth is healthy and follow the instructions above for indoor care.
Empty the saucer under your pot a few minutes after watering. Geraniums will not bloom if their roots sit in water for extended periods of time.
You can use fluorescent tube lighting to supplement sunlight if the days are short in your part of the world. Position the fluorescent tube one foot from the geranium and turn it on in the evenings from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Watering your geraniums too often will cause them to rot. Geraniums do better with too little water than with too much. Feel the soil with your fingers before watering. If it feels cool and at all damp, do not water.