How to Get Geraniums to Keep Blooming
Geraniums are brightly blooming garden and container plants. They make great hanging baskets as well as porch or deck potted plants. Geraniums are sun-loving plants, requiring up to 6 hours of sunlight per day. Technically speaking, geraniums are perennials, meaning they only grow for one season. However, some people will winter geraniums indoors or make cuttings in the late summer to produce a second growth season or more.
- Moderately Easy
Things You’ll Need
- Geranium plants
- Small garden shears
- Plant lights or sunny window
- Pots for cuttings
- Potting soil/Jiffy pellets
- Hormone powder
- Plastic bags
- Plant your geraniums with a time-released fertilizer initially. If you’ve done that, you don’t need to add more fertilizer through the season. If not, fertilize the geraniums every 2 weeks with a 20-20-20 water-soluble fertilizer.
- Water geraniums regularly and thoroughly. Let the soil dry completely between waterings to prevent yellowing of the leaves. Test the soil moisture by poking your finger down into the soil an inch or two. Water when the soil is dry, especially in the summer.
- Deadhead the plants when the blooms fade or turn brown and dry. This frees up nutrients for newer blooms to grow and preserves the geraniums for a longer season.
- Overwinter your geraniums by moving them indoors or making cuttings from the plants in late August to grow indoors. The simplest procedure is to trim back the plants by more than half up to two-thirds. Place the pots under plant lights or on the windowsill of a sunny, west- or south-facing window.
- Water the wintering plants only once per week as they do better with drier soil indoors. When the new growth begins in the late winter (around March), start adding fertilizer to the plants when you water. When it’s time to move them outside, place the potted plants outside for a half-day at first, in a sheltered, more shady location.
- Increase the length of time outside over a couple weeks, gradually moving the plants into an open, sunny and windy location. After they’ve acclimated to the outdoors, you can plant them in your garden or move the pots to their display location.
- Take cuttings in late August from your blooming plants. Trim 4-inch-long, healthy stems from the top of the geranium plant. Remove any lower leaves or buds until there is just a leafy canopy at the top of the cutting.
- Fill small pots (one per cutting) with Jiffy pellets or potting soil mix that is slightly moist. Make a hole in the soil about the size of a pencil. Dip the ends of the cuttings in hormone powder to help them root and place them in the soil, pressing the soil around the stem into place.
- Cover each pot with a plastic sandwich bag, secured with a rubber band for 3 to 4 weeks until roots form. Place the cuttings under fluorescent lights or in a bright, but not-direct sun area while the roots grow.
- Remove the bags when new growth appears. Feed the plants with 50-percent-strength fertilizer once per week and begin watering them regularly. Move the cuttings to a window or keep growing them under lights until planting time.
Tips & Warnings
Cut back the indoor full plants by one-third to one-half in mid- to late March to prepare them for a full spring bloom.
Moving geraniums from inside to outside instantly without an acclimation period may kill or damage your plants for a new growing season.