Martha Washington geraniums, also known as regal geraniums, are vibrant flowers ideal for the indoors, where a temperate climate will maintain the blossoms. Martha Washington geraniums bloom in the summer, revealing pink, red and white blossoms. The geraniums need sunlight and a regular schedule of water and fertilizer to thrive.
Things You’ll Need
- Pot with drainage
- Mildly acidic soil
- Decide where to plant your Martha Washington geraniums. The best place is near a window indoors where they would receive the most sunlight. The geranium thrives when it gets at least six hours of daily sunlight in a spot that has an average temperature of 65 degrees during the day and 55 degrees at night. A garden bed, planter or hanging basket outdoors will work fine in these conditions.
- Pick a well-made pot with drainage holes in the bottom. Rather than setting the pot on a saucer, use a surface that allows full drainage when you water the plant.
- Fill your pot with mildly acidic soil (ideally a pH of 6.5) to improve your geranium’s growth. Use an indoor fertilizer on the soil every two weeks during the flower’s bloom. Fertilize about once a month during fall and winter when the flower isn’t blooming.
- Water the plant weekly and mulch the area twice a month.
Tips & Warnings
Plant geraniums 12 to 24 inches apart.
Don’t put them in areas of the home that might harm them, such as near a heating vent or next to a window that is opened often.
To keep your geraniums looking their best, remove any wilting or dried leaves, stems or flowers.
Be aware of any signs of pests or diseases. Some common diseases show up in graying and moldy leaves or blackened stems. Treat the diseases by removing infected leaves or stems. Infections from pests such as caterpillars, aphids and termites usually result in yellow stems. Treat them with a chemical spray specific to the pest.
Geraniums die if left out in cold temperatures, but if they are transported inside, they can survive the winter. Move the flowers into a good-sized pot. Geraniums come in reds, yellows, purples and pinks. The blossoms give off a sweet scent used in many types of perfumes and oils. The flowers come in various shapes, including bells and stars. After the temperatures warm up, the plants can be put back into the ground.
- Moderately Easy
Things You’ll Need
- Pot larger than the root ball
- Hand shovel
- Use a hand shovel to dig up the plant. Try to avoid cutting or damaging the roots.
- Grasp the plant firmly at the base and lift. Set the plant into the pot. Hold the plant upright with one hand and pour dirt around the root ball.
- Water well.
Tips & Warnings
Red geraniums are a staple in summer bedding, containers and hanging baskets. Their bright red blossoms provide a nice contrast to the light green foliage. They are tolerant, easy-to-grow plants.
In cool climates, geraniums are usually treated as annuals, but they can be overwintered in a cool humid basement between 35 and 45 degrees F. Remove all the soil from the roots, trim the plant down to 6 inches and hang it upside down. Periodically mist or soak the plant in water to prevent it from totally drying out.
Geraniums add color to any garden bed or patio. Even the gardener without a green thumb can usually manage to cultivate a healthy show of geraniums. Geraniums are easily propagated from cuttings which can be rooted in soil or water.
The hardiest type of geranium, and the one seen most often, is the zonal geranium. They’re the ones with the distinctive circle or horseshoe shape on the leaves. The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture says, "The old practice of knocking soil from the roots and hanging the plants under the house for the winter is an acknowledgment of the geranium’s ability to survive periods of drought and neglect."
When you start the geraniums in water, you will see the roots growing out from the sides of the stem in the first three or four weeks. After that, for best results, transplant the cuttings to an indoor pot filled with potting soil.
According to CreativeHomeMaking.com, the geranium plant is a popular flowering plant used to decorate windows or hanging baskets, or for creating potpourris. They bear bright, aromatic flowers that help add color to any garden.
Common types of geranium plants include zonal geraniums, ivy-leaved geraniums, scented geranium and mosquito geraniums. Zonal and ivy-leaved geraniums are used to decorate gardens or houses, whereas scented and mosquito geraniums are used to flavor teas, repel insects and add a strong scent to sachets.
According to the University of Rhode Island, botrytis, a type of fungus, can infect geranium plants in wet seasons. Bacteria can also infect plants and cause them to wilt, especially if the temperature is between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.