Geraniums From Seeds


  • There are over 300 species in the Geranium genus, both annuals and perennials, upright growers and trailers. Commonly called cranesbill, geraniums are often confused with Pelargonium, which is a separate genus. Geraniums readily self-seed yet are sometimes stubborn germinators when cultivated.

Meadow Cranesbill

  • Meadow cranesbill (Geranium pratense) is a perennial plant that blooms in lovely blue flowers. Growing to heights of 24 to 36 inches, meadow cranesbill should be grown in full sun in cooler areas of the U.S. but give it some afternoon shade in the warmer regions. Plant meadow cranesbill seeds after the last frost date in your area. It is a bit slow to germinate, sometimes up to 3 months or more, so don’t give up on it too soon. Meadow cranesbill is hardy to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 4 a to 9b.

Spotted Cranesbill

  • Geranium maculatum, or spotted cranesbill, is the only commonly grown geranium that is native to the U.S. Pink to lavender flowers bloom from March through July on a plant that grows from 1 to 3 feet. If you have a shade garden you will particularly like the spotted cranesbill for its ability to thrive in shady areas. Collect the seed pod from the plant when it begins to turn dark, generally 3 to 4 weeks after it blooms. Place it in a paper bag and allow it to remain there until it pops and releases the seeds. If you won’t be planting immediately, store the seeds in a dry area in the refrigerator. Plant outdoors in late fall or in early spring. There is no cold treatment required.

Wargrave Pink

  • Wargrave pink (Geranium x oxonianum) is a hardy variety of hybrid geranium. It blooms almost the entire summer in a delicate shade of pink flowers. Wargrave pink is more drought-tolerant than many other geranium cultivars and takes well to either full sun or partial shade. This is not a good variety for the deep South as it is intolerant of humidity. Wargrave pink is the compact, mounding type of geranium that looks striking in cottage gardens or as a ground cover for small, shady spaces. Wargrave pink seeds are available from a variety of online retailers and should be planted after the last frost date.

How Moist Do Geraniums Like to Be?


Many varieties of flowering geraniums exist, and they are all perennial favorites with home gardeners, according to Their care is simple and they have a pleasing scent–but be careful not to let them get too wet.

General Care

  • Geraniums need full sun and well-drained soil or potting soil. Clay soil is acceptable if you combine it with organic materials to improve its drainage. Although geraniums are perennials, they do not tolerate frost and will die back in winter unless you move them indoors.

Deadheading and Pruning

  • Pinching off spent flower clusters during the summer blooming season will help your geranium to produce more flowers. Cut plants back by about one-half before your first frost and then dig them up, pot them and bring them indoors.

Water Needs

  • Geraniums like their soil to dry out between waterings. These plants, whether in the ground or in a pot, can develop a disease called Botrytis, according to Ohio State University. They die if you water them too much, or leave their soil wet for extended periods. If you keep a potted geranium on a plant saucer, empty it after you water it.

What Do I Do With Geraniums in the Spring?


Every spring, garden centers and department stores offer several types of geraniums for sale. These versatile plants are usually inexpensive and add long-lasting color to garden borders. They are grown in hanging baskets and pots both indoors and outdoors.


  • Plant geraniums outdoors in spring when all danger of frost has passed and the soil is beginning to warm. Plant them at the depth they grew in their container. Planting too deep leads to stem rot. Water thoroughly after planting.


  • Choose a site with full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil. Improve heavy clay soil by adding organic matter such as compost, or plant them in a raised bed. When the soil is poor use raised beds or containers.

Take Cuttings

  • Spring is a great time to take cuttings from your geraniums. Cut 3-inch sprigs of new growth, remove the lower leaves and root them in potting soil. Place the pot inside a plastic bag to keep the humidity high, and use a rooting hormone. Keep the plant out of direct sunlight as long as it is in the plastic bag.

Starting Geraniums From Cuttings


Geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) are favorite flowering plants for flowerbeds, borders, containers, window boxes and hanging baskets. The seed pods resemble a stork’s bill with an elongated tip. There are over 200 types of geraniums offering a variety of colors, growing habits, leaf patterns and scents. The flowers are white, pink, salmon, red, fuchsia and lavender. Geraniums are commonly propagated either from seeds or cuttings. Geranium cuttings create a copy or clone of the parent plant.



Things You’ll Need
  • Clay pot 3-inches
  • Plant pot 6- to 8-inches
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Bleach
  • Electric drill
  • Screen mesh
  • Cork
  • Vermiculite
  • Geranium parent plant
  • Sharp knife
  • Rooting hormone
  • Spray bottle
  • Clear plastic bag
    1. Wash a small 3-inch clay plant pot and a 6- to 8-inch container in soapy water. Rinse both containers in a mixture of one part bleach and nine parts water. Drill holes in the larger container with an electric drill if there are no drainage holes. Cover the drainage holes with a screen mesh.
    2. Seal the bottom of the clay plant pot with a cork. This is used as a water reservoir and the water will seep out through the sides of the clay plant pot. Set the small plant pot in the center of the larger one and surround it with vermiculite.
    3. Cut 2- to 3-inch long stem pieces with a sharp knife. The best cuttings are the taken at the end of the stems and are without flower buds. Remove the bottom half of the stem of leaves. Dip the cut end into 1/2 inch of rooting hormone. Slide the cuttings 1 1/2 inches deep into the vermiculite.
    4. Fill the small clay pot with water and spray the cuttings with water. Place a clear plastic bag over the top of the cuttings. Puff the bag up so that it does not touch the leaves. Place the geranium cuttings in a warm area with indirect light.
    5. Refill the small clay pot when the water level drops. Remove the bag when new growth begins, which signals the establishment of roots. Move the cuttings into an area with filtered sunlight. Once vigorous growth begins, transplant the cuttings into their permanent home.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pinch dead or fading flowers off blossoming geranium plants. Deadheading promotes the growth of new blossoms and prevents the formation of seed pods.

  • Do not let the geranium plants dry out and wilt. Cycles of wilting and heavy watering causes leaf drop and slow growth.

Should I Bring My Geraniums in Over the Winter?


Zonal and ivy geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) can survive a light frost, but when temperatures drop below 26 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, significant leaf and stem damage occurs. Geraniums are native to southern Africa where they grow in sunny locales in a moist to dry, well-drained soil.


  • If you grow a particularly showy geranium that you like or spent a fair amount of money to obtain, digging and re-potting the plant indoors before a killing fall frost arrives makes sense. Conversely, if the geranium is common and inexpensive to replace, it may not be worth the time and effort to bring plants indoors to overwinter. Just plant newly purchased seedlings next spring.


  • There are three options for overwintering geranium plants according to Cooperative Extension publications from both Illinois and Iowa State Universities. Dig the entire plant up and plant it in a container to bring indoors; take stem cuttings and root them in small containers to grow over the winter months; or dig up plants, wash off all soil and hang them to air-dry in a cool, dry place. The last option is the most difficult to complete successfully for healthy plants come spring.


  • In order for geranium plants to remain healthy over the winter when brought indoors they must have as much direct sunlight as possible. A bright window in a cool, unheated room with temperatures of 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Warmer rooms lead to "leggy" plants. Also, do not over-water geranium plants in the winter–keep the soil on the dry side.