How to Bring in Geraniums in the Fall


There are several methods of caring for geraniums over the winter. One old method called for keeping the plants in the basement, but modern heated basements do not provide the best conditions for overwintering geraniums. Some gardeners take cuttings of their geraniums and root them in the fall, providing a ready source of new plants in the spring. The recommended method to bring in geraniums in the fall is to pot the plants and enjoy them in the house over the winter.

Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need
  • 6-inch pots
  • Trowel
  • Pruning shears
  • Houseplant fertilizer
    1. Cut away the top two-thirds of the plant, leaving at least 6 inches of growth. Use clean, sharp pruning shears.
    2. Dig up the plant, being careful to avoid damaging the roots.
    3. Transplant the plant into a 6-inch pot. Give it plenty of water and place it in a sunny window.
    4. Water the plant two to three times a week as needed to keep the soil moist.
    5. Fertilize once a month with a houseplant fertilizer formula.

How to Store Geraniums for Winter


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.

Moderately Easy


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.

What To Do With Geraniums After Winterizing Them


To overwinter a geranium means to bring the plant indoors where it remains alive throughout the winter. It may or may not bloom during the winter, but either way it should thrive, and you’ll be able to replant it in the spring.


  • When overwintering geraniums, bring them inside, cut the stems back by about 6 inches and put the potted plants in a cool, dark place or put the plants in a netted bag that can be hung. You can also put the potted plants in a sunny location, where they may bloom later in the winter.

Check on Your Geraniums

  • If you notice over the winter that your geranium is starting to mummify, immerse it in tepid water, which will rehydrate it. If your plant is in a dark spot, start exposing it to sun in February.

Introduce Fertilizer

  • At this time, you may want to introduce some fertilizer. Fertilize once a month, beginning in February, until you take the geranium back outside when the chance of frost has passed.

Gradually Reintroduce the Plant to the Outdoors

  • Turkey Creek Lane recommends that when you bring your geraniums up from the basement or from the dark area where they’ve been overwintering, do not take them outside immediately. Put them in your garage for two days or somewhere in the house with sun exposure so that they can gradually acclimate to the sun.

Provide Some Shelter Initially

  • After two days, take them outside and put them next to a fence or some kind of sheltered structure. If the geraniums are exposed to too much sun too quickly they may not survive.


  • You may want to re-pot your plants before taking them back outside, using new, all-purpose potting soil. If your plants are spindly and leggy, cut them back some more.

How to Snap Off Dead Leaves From Geraniums


Geraniums are popular annuals due to their beautiful blooms and relative ease of care. Removing dead leaves from geraniums will help them continue to produce healthy, vibrant blooms. It can be tempting to simply snap off the dead leaves with your fingers. However, this can cause damage to the root. Taking a few extra minutes to properly prune the geraniums will help them last longer and produce more flowers throughout the growing season.



Things You’ll Need
  • Garden scissors
    1. Check your geranium once a week for dead or dying leaves, usually the color of a light or dark brown. Note that yellow leaves are an indication that the plant needs more fertilizer, not that the leaves have died.
    2. Run your fingers down the leaf stem until you reach the point where it connects to the root.
    3. Cut the leaf away from the root with garden scissors.
    4. Discard dead leaves in the trash, on the ground or in your compost pile.

Tips & Warnings

  • Removing dead leaves and flowers as soon as possible will hep your geranium produce more flowers.

  • Geraniums should be fertilized every few weeks for optimal growth.

  • Use caution when using garden scissors around young garden helpers.

Information on Geraniums


Geraniums (Geranium), herbaceous perennials in the Geraniaceae plant family, originated in Asia, Eastern Europe and the United States. Geranium plants often work well for beginning gardeners because these hardy plants rarely suffer from pest or disease problems.


  • Common geranium plants include the wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), the bigroot geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum) and the hardy geranium (Geranium phaeum).


  • Wild geraniums bloom in various shades of pink and purple. Hardy geraniums display deep purple to maroon blossoms, while the bigroot geraniums bloom dark magenta flowers.

Time Frame

  • Hardy geraniums bloom from May through August. Wild geraniums display flowers in April and May, while the bigroot variety flowers from April through June.


  • Geranium varieties typically range from 12 to 30 inches in height with spreads between 18 and 24 inches.


  • Bigroot and wild geraniums typically grow well in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8. Hardy geraniums generally thrive in zones 5 to 7.


  • Gardeners often plant geraniums in woodland, wild, cottage and native plant gardens. These plants also work well as ground cover for smaller spaces.

How to Overwinter Ivy Geraniums

0 Geraniums are beloved garden and potted flowers. They come from a large family of flowering plants referred to as geraniums and pelargoniums, with flower colors from white, through pinks and corals to red. They are distinctive plants with rounded leaves, and some varieties, like ivy geraniums, have a trailing habit that makes them ideal for hanging baskets and window boxes. There are several ways to overwinter them in northern climates if brought indoors before the first killing frost.

Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need
  • Healthy ivy geranium plants
  • Indoor area maintained above freezing
  • Small pots and light potting mix

Take Cuttings

  1. Take cuttings from stems with leaves before the first killing frost. Clip about 1 1/2 inches off the ends of healthy trailing sections with clean, sterilized scissors or clippers.
  2. Put clipped plant material into clean, clear water, cut part in water, until ready to plant in soil.
  3. Fill pots with light, loose potting soil mix and water the soil so it’s thoroughly moistened. Plant cuttings in pots.
  4. Keep potted cuttings in a well-lighted area, under plant lights if available. Light is important for the successful growth of geranium cuttings into healthy plants. Water weekly, but don’t let pots get waterlogged. With regular moisture and 8 to 10 hours of daily bright light, the cuttings will grow well all winter and be ready for the garden or deck by spring.

Bring Plants Inside

  1. If there is sufficient space and light, bring potted plants inside before the first killing frost.
  2. Trim off dried leaves and flower heads, and trim back leggy growth. Check for insects and treat any infestations with a warm soapy water wash.
  3. Keep plants well-lighted and water once a week, being careful not to over-water or let them dry out completely.

Dig up Garden Geraniums

  1. Dig up geraniums from the garden before the first killing frost.
  2. Carefully shake the dirt from the roots and tie twine or cotton string lightly around the base of the plant, leaving a 12-inch-length loose. Use this length of string to hang the plant, either on a clothes hanger or from a rack such as a garment rack.
  3. Hang the plants upside down in an area where 80 percent humidity and cool but above-freezing temperatures can be maintained throughout the winter.

How to Get Geraniums to Rebloom


Often used as a bedding plant, geraniums flower from spring until the first fall frost kills the plants. While geraniums are often used as an annual plant, they are actually perennials. Instead of disposing of your geraniums after a killing frost, bring them indoors where the temperatures are warm enough for them to thrive. Overwinter them until spring when you can then encourage your geraniums to rebloom.



Things You’ll Need
  • Shears
  • Spade
  • Pots
  • Potting soil
  • Fertilizer
    1. Cut off the top half of the geraniums with garden shears before the first frost in fall. Look over the plants for signs of damage or disease, and choose the healthiest ones for overwintering and reblooming.
    2. Fill an 8-inch pot with a potting mix for each geranium you are digging up. Dig around the roots of the geranium then slide your spade under it, lifting it from the soil. Plant the geranium in the prepared pot to the same depth it was planted in the bed.
    3. Water each pot until the excess water begins draining from the bottom drainage holes, ensuring the soil is evenly moist. Bring the pots indoors and place them in a sunny window in a 65 to 70 degrees F room.
    4. Water each pot when the soil surface begins to feel dry. Check them every other day as winter air, even indoors, is more drying.
    5. Pinch off the tips of each stem one or two times throughout the winter. Pinch when the plant begins looking leggy or if you wish to encourage a bushier, rounder plant.
    6. Fertilize each plant with a liquid balanced fertilizer one week before transplanting outside, following label instructions for exact application amounts. This encourages bud development, making the geraniums ready for reblooming.

Tips & Warnings

  • Replant the geraniums in the garden bed once all danger of frost has passed in spring.

  • Geraniums can also be dug up and hung in a 45 degrees F room for storage. The plants go dormant when stored this way, and are more prone to dying during storage.

  • If you have little direct sunlight in winter place the geraniums under fluorescent grow lights for eight hours a day, otherwise they may die from lack of sun.

How to Unwinterize Geraniums


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.



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.

What Are the Soil Requirements for Geraniums?


Geraniums are versatile plants of both the genus Geranium and also Pelargonium. Together, the two groups include wildflowers, annuals, biennials and perennials. Soil choice should be guided by whether geraniums are planted in containers or in the ground.

Indoor Soil Needs

  • Many types of potting soils exist for plants grown indoors in containers. Choose one that drains well.

Outdoor Soil Needs

  • For geraniums that will be kept outdoors in containers, it is acceptable to use garden soil as long as it is not clayey. If your soil needs extra drainage, you can add compost or coir, made from coconut husks.

Soil in Gardens

  • Again, drainage is an important quality; therefore, soil amendments are a must for clay or silt soils. Soil that drains too much, such as sandy soil, can be adjusted for geraniums with the addition of organic materials.


  • Geraniums should be planted in the sun, increasing the need to keep them watered adequately. Let the soil dry between waterings.

Acid Soil

  • Geraniums like a soil that has a slightly acidic pH. On the pH scale, 7 is neutral, and the level of acidity increases as the pH value decreases. Geraniums thrive at around 6.5.

Why Are My Geranium Leaves Turning Red?


The plants commonly known by gardeners as geraniums are in fact pelargoniums. There are thousands of varieties grown for their attractive, colorful flowers or aromatic foliage. There are both annual and perennial types and varieties that creep along the ground or are erect bushes. Pelargoniums grow fast and flower profusely and are a staple of the low-maintenance beginner’s garden as well as a popular container and bedding plant.


  • Healthy pelargoniums as a bedding plant

    Pelargonium leaves turning red is a sign that the plant is stressed in some way. This may be because the plant is receiving too much water or too much sunshine, or has been planted outdoors too early or in mineral-deficient soil. Pelargoniums that are planted too close together also tend to develop red leaves. Diagnosing the problem is a case of looking at the exact conditions your geranium plant is growing in.


  • Red leaves on a pelargonium plant are often a sign that it is receiving too much water. These plants need very little water, and should be planted in well-draining soil that is kept barely moist. Potted pelargoniums with a saucer under the pot often suffer from waterlogging and will develop red leaves. If overwatering or waterlogging is not corrected, pelargoniums will drop leaves and die.


  • Pelargoniums planted in direct sunshine will turn red as a defense, starting with the older leaves. Moving potted plants into semi shade or providing some shade for plants out in the garden will remedy the situation.


  • Cold weather will turn pelargonium leaves red, especially if they are planted out too early in the year. Annual plants that have been grown from seed or as cuttings in the house or under glass should be exposed to colder outdoor conditions gradually. If your pelargonium leaves turn red just after being planted or moved outdoors, it is likely because it is still too cold for them. In the fall, red leaves are a sign that it is time to move pelargoniums back indoors or to take cuttings from annual cultivars.


  • Pelargoniums are fast growing with small root systems and are therefore vulnerable to phosphorus and trace mineral deficiencies. Treat any plants with red leaves or slow growth with a high-phosphorus liquid fertilizer applied every two weeks during the growing season. Also apply a trace mineral-rich fertilizer or foliar spray containing boron and magnesium. Cold temperatures inhibit the uptake of trace minerals in pelargoniums. Cover the soil around your plants with black barrier cloth to increase soil temperature, or move plants indoors during cold weather.