How to Care for a Geranium


Use versatile geraniums in pots, baskets or the flower garden. They bloom from late May to the first hard frost in temperate climates but may bloom almost year round in Southern regions. Bright red geraniums are among the most commonly grown varieties, but consider pink, fuchsia, white, coral or multi-colored types, as well. In cold climates, grow geraniums as annuals or bring them indoors to overwinter. They won’t bloom as profusely as they do when they’re outside, but with a little care, they’ll remain healthy and spring back to life once warm sunny days return.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need:

  • All-purpose 10-10-10 plant food
  • Water
  • Trowel
  • 6-to-8-inch pot with drainage holes
  • Potting soil
  • Grow light
  • Scissors or hand-pruning shears
Outdoor Growing
  1. Till 1 lb. granular 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet of soil into the earth before planting geraniums in a flower bed. Give container-grown geraniums a water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks, following package directions.

  2. Plant geraniums outdoors after the last expected frost. In temperate climates, this is typically mid- to late May. Plant geraniums in fertile, well-drained soil in a location where they’ll receive at least eight hours of sunlight daily.

  3. Water geraniums to keep them moist but not soggy. Watering them deeply once a week is usually sufficient, although they may require more moisture during hot weather. Water container-grown geraniums several times per week if needed.

  4. Pluck off spent blossoms and discard them, known as deadheading. Deadheading prevents the geraniums from going to seed, promotes new blooms and keeps the plants looking healthy.

Overwintering Geraniums
  1. Dig geraniums out of the ground with a trowel before the first hard frost. Fill a 6- to 8-inch pot with good potting soil and place the plant in the pot. Firm the soil with your hand. Cut the plant to half its original size.

  2. Water the geraniums to keep them slightly moist and place them in a sunny window. Allow them to dry out between waterings, because geraniums are prone to root rot. Geraniums grown indoors prefer a temperature of 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit but must have bright sunshine. Place a fluorescent grow light 10 to 12 inches over them if you don’t have adequate sunlight.

  3. Prune the geraniums back occasionally so they stand less than 8 inches high. Pruning them promotes stocky, compact growth. Cut off any dead or diseased leaves. Re-plant geraniums outdoors when warm temperatures return.

Tips & Warnings

  • Start geraniums indoors eight to 10 weeks before the last frost. Plant them in seed-starting trays or pots filled with starter potting mix. Place them 1/8 inch deep in the soil and water them until the soil is evenly moist. Cover the pots or trays with plastic wrap and store them in a warm place. Geraniums germinate best when the temperature is 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Water as needed to keep the soil moist and take the plastic wrap off when the seedlings appear. Plant the seedlings outdoors when they are 3 to 4 inches high and all danger of frost has passed.

  • Snip 6- to 8-inch pieces from the plant in the fall for root cuttings. Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the clippings, and dip the ends in rooting hormone powder. Place the cuttings in a pot filled with coarse sand or sand mixed with peat moss. Water the cuttings enough to thoroughly moisten the potting medium, and cover them with a clear plastic bag. Place the pot in a room with bright but indirect sunlight. Plant the cuttings after four to six weeks, when they are 4 to 6 inches tall and have developed strong roots.

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