How to Grow Geranium (Pelargonium)


Pelargoniums are summer geraniums with showy clusters of flowers that come in white or in shades of red, orange and pink. They’re perfect container plants.



Things You’ll Need
  • Bypass Pruners
  • Compost Makers
  • Fertilizers
  • Hand Cultivators
  • Mulch
  • Plants
  • Seeds

Choosing Geranium (Pelargonium)

  1. Look for plants at nurseries in spring and summer.
  2. Buy geranium (Pelargonium) in 4-inch to 1-gallon containers.
  3. Choose healthy-looking plants with signs of new growth in leaves and flower buds.

Caring for Geranium (Pelargonium)

  1. Cut off old stems from the previous year in early spring using bypass pruners.
  2. Apply a light application of organic fertilizer on top of the soil; follow package directions.
  3. Mulch around but not on top of the plants with 3 inches of organic compost.
  4. Water well weekly until soil is completely moist in summers with no rainfall.
  5. Cut off flower stems as they finish blooming using scissors or bypass pruners.
  6. Fertilize container plants monthly during spring and summer by adding fish emulsion to the water; follow directions on the package.

Planting Geranium (Pelargonium)

  1. Plant geranium (Pelargonium) in full sun in well-drained soil.
  2. Add a light application of organic fertilizer to the planting hole.
  3. Place the plants no deeper than the depth of the containers they were growing in.
  4. Set the plants 9 to 12 inches apart.

  5. Mulch around but not on top of the plants with 3 inches of organic compost.

  6. Water well until soil is completely moist.

How to Save Geraniums Indoors Over Winter


Geraniums are so hardy that they can survive a winter indoors as houseplants. This will save you money on annuals for your garden in the spring, and provide you with lovely foliage and some beautiful blooms during the cold winter months. Follow the steps outlined below to save your geraniums indoors over the winter, and you’ll have pots bursting with blooms ready to transplant to your garden in the spring. If you already keep your geraniums in pots outdoors, you can transfer them inside with almost no effort.

Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need
  • Geranium plant
  • Garden shears
  • Pot and saucer
  • Gravel
  • Potting soil
  • Water
  • 20-20-20 fertilizer
    1. Before the first fall frost, use garden shears to trim off approximately half of the top growth of the geranium plant you are considering saving indoors over the winter.
    2. Examine the bottom side of the geranium plant your trimming has exposed for insect or bacterial damage, which will appear as round or v-shaped brown spots. If only a few leaves show signs of damage, remove them. If the majority of the leaves have been impacted, the plant is not a good candidate to winter indoors. Trim down more plants until you find one with healthy bottom growth.
    3. Transplant the geranium you’ve selected into a pot. Place two inches of gravel at the bottom of the pot to ensure adequate drainage, and fill the pot to the halfway point with fresh potting soil. Gently pat the roots of your geranium plant to remove excess garden soil, and place the roots into the pot. Surround the roots with more potting soil, pat the top of the soil down firmly and place the pot on top of a saucer. Water the geranium until you see a trickle of water come through the saucer.
    4. Keep your geranium plant in a cool spot in your home, ideally between 60 degrees and 75 degrees. Place the plant where it has access to light six to eight hours per day, and water it two times per week. Once new growth appears, fertilize the soil with a mixture of one tsp of water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer dissolved in one gallon of water once a month.
    5. Replant your geraniums outside when the danger of spring frost has passed.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your geraniums are already potted, simply trim them down, check to ensure that the bottom growth is healthy and follow the instructions above for indoor care.

  • Empty the saucer under your pot a few minutes after watering. Geraniums will not bloom if their roots sit in water for extended periods of time.

  • You can use fluorescent tube lighting to supplement sunlight if the days are short in your part of the world. Position the fluorescent tube one foot from the geranium and turn it on in the evenings from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

  • Watering your geraniums too often will cause them to rot. Geraniums do better with too little water than with too much. Feel the soil with your fingers before watering. If it feels cool and at all damp, do not water.

How to Prune Container Geraniums


The scented stems and foliage of the florist geranium (Pelargonium) make an attractive background for the clusters of flowers that repeatedly appear when temperatures are warm. Grown as an outdoor container annual that succumbs to frost, geranium eventually exhibits rangy stems, few leaves or flowers when grown in frost-free climates or indoors as a houseplant. Pruning encourages fresh new leaf growth and more attractively shaped plants.



Things You’ll Need
  • Hand-held pruners (secateurs)
    1. Snap with your fingers or cut with a hand pruners flower stems that have finished their blossoming. Cut them at the base where the flower stems meets the larger plant branch. This is called deadheading and makes the plant look tidy as well as encourages more flowers.
    2. Make crisp, one-motion cuts with the hand pruners, removing all dead or damaged stems on the container geranium plant. Locate pruning cuts one-fourth inch above an alive leaf or at a junction with another healthy stem branch. Cutting away dead or diseased stems can be done at any time.
    3. Reduce the length of leggy stems by half to three-fourths with a crisp pruning cut. Making the cut in tan, semi-woody stem tissue is better than in soft, green new growth stems. This reductive pruning is best done in late winter or early spring just before new growth accelerates.
    4. Selectively cut back leggy stems, those that are long, thin or are nude of foliage, as needed during the growing season. Discontinue pruning back leggy stems six to eight weeks before the expected first autumn frost date as the new growth will not mature to produce flowers in time.

Tips & Warnings

  • In regions where the florist geranium is grown outdoors only as a summer annual, pruning plants is best done no later than two months before the expected first fall frost date. Where plants grow year round in warm climates, pruning is best done in very late winter or in late summer, whenever stems become leggy or flowering wanes.

  • Florist geranium (Pelargonium) is not the same as a true botanical geranium (Geranium) that is commonly called cranesbill.

How to Pinch Geraniums


Geraniums are, according to the International Geranium Society, one of the most "universally popular" plants on Earth. And with good reason. Not only do geraniums add a bright punch of color to any garden, they are notoriously hardy and require very little special attention. The practice of "pinching" geraniums, while not absolutely necessary, is a pruning technique that is utilized simply to encourage new and fuller growth–a way to help your geraniums be the very best that they can possibly be.

Moderately Easy



  1. Run your fingers approximately one inch down the geranium stem. Be certain that you are grasping the main growing shoot and not a thinner shoot growing off the main stem.
  2. Hold the stem very securely to prevent uprooting the geranium or tugging at its delicate root system.
  3. Grip the upper part of the stem with the thumb and forefinger of your other hand.
  4. Pinch, or snap, the stem and discard the geranium bloom. Be mindful to pinch only the stem and not the bulb.


  1. Pinch newly planted or transplanted geraniums immediately upon planting to encourage healthy growth.
  2. Begin pinching established geranium plants in late spring or early summer.
  3. Check your geraniums once weekly for browning, fading or wilting blossoms. Pinch them off.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep your geranium plants free of dead or yellowing leaves or other debris.

  • Plant your geraniums in open spaces with plenty of sunlight. Avoid planting them under large trees.

  • Provide your geraniums with fertilizer every one to two weeks.

How to Keep Geraniums Over the Winter in Virginia


Geraniums are hardy, bright-colored flowers, and a welcome sight in pots, containers and mass plantings. They’re practically insect-proof and will bloom continuously if properly deadheaded, fed and watered. Because Virginia falls mostly in Zone 6 and 7, it’s too risky to leave geraniums in the ground for the winter. One good frost will do them in. There are several ways to keep geraniums over the winter for spring replanting.



Things You’ll Need
  • Geraniums
  • Gloves
  • Spade
  • Twine
  • Soilless potting mix
  • Potting soil
  • Pots
  • Water
  • Sharp knife
  • Rooting hormone
  • Water-soluble fertilizer
    1. Dig geraniums out of Virginia gardens when the nights begin to dip toward 40 degrees Fahrenheit, usually in late October. Put on garden gloves, grab a spade and gently pry them up out of the ground or their containers. It should be easy as geraniums are shallow-rooting.
    2. Shake the soil off the roots until they are fully exposed. Bundle them together with twine and hang them upside down in a cool dark basement. Take them down every six weeks during the winter and soak the roots in lukewarm water for an hour or so, to keep them from completely drying out. After danger of frost passes in spring (late April, in Virginia), cut the plants back to one-third their size and repot in containers or in the ground. Water and fertilize, and they will begin sprouting new leaves within a few weeks.
    3. Cut geraniums back to one-third their size and pot them in potting soil, or simply leave them in their containers if you don’t have a basement. Bring the containers indoors. Place in a south-facing window where they will get plenty of light and keep them moist. Fertilize with a water-soluble plant fertilizer every six weeks during the winter, and the potted geraniums will produce new flowers in February and March.
    4. Take five-inch cuttings with a sharp knife from the original plant if you don’t have a basement or room for containers. Strip off leaves from the bottom three inches of the cutting, dip the bare end in rooting hormone, and plant in small pots of soilless potting mix. Keep moist.
    5. Transfer the cuttings to pots with potting soil after three weeks when the cuttings will have rooted. Continue watering throughout the winter. Add a pinch of water-soluble fertilizer to the water every six weeks, and by spring you’ll have pretty, new geraniums to replant outdoors.

Tips & Warnings

  • Water geraniums directly at the base of the plant. Watering from the top wets the leaves and flowers, making the plant susceptible to fungus.

  • Plant geraniums in loose, well-drained soil. Check containers to make sure they drain freely at the bottom and never leave geraniums standing in saucers of water, indoors or out.