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.