How to Get Rid of the White Film on Peonies

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Peonies are lush flowers with full blooms that come in a variety of colors such as pink, white, purple, red and yellow. The flowers prefer rich, well-draining soil and some sunlight, but do not do well in intense heat or dry weather. If you have noticed your peonies look somewhat unhealthy, look for a white film on the surface. The substance is powdery mildew, and is best removed to keep the peonies from becoming deformed

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • Plastic bag
  • Pruning snips
  • Fungicide
    1. Pick off the leaves covered in the film and place them in a plastic bag to throw away. This works well if you catch the mildew when it is first developing, and you only have a few leaves affected. Snip the leaves back at the stalk or stem from which they are growing. Use pruning snips to make a clean cut that doesn’t tear the stem.
    2. Cut down the entire plant if the mildew is covering it and threatening to spread to others. Snip it at the base of the stalk. In most cases, peonies will grow back the next year. The only thing you are doing by cutting it down is removing it for the current year.
    3. Spray the peonies with a fungicide. Coat both the tops and bottoms of the leaves as well as the soil around the flowers. Apply a second application after a couple weeks to ensure the fungus is dead. Look for fungicides with triforine.

How to Store a Red Geranium

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There are two very different plants that are called geraniums. The first is the perennial geranium, which is also called cranesbill or true geranium. These can overwinter in the garden. The second plant is the pelargonium often referred to as annual or zonal geraniums. These plants will not survive winter temperatures and must be discarded at the end of fall or stored inside. When prepared properly, red geraniums will go dormant while they are in storage, resuming growth when they are replanted in spring.

Difficulty:
Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • Pruning shears
  • Hand trowel
  • Paper bags
  • Plastic container
  • Room temperature water
  • String or twine
  • Scissors

Storing Red Geraniums in Paper Bags

  1. Dig up red geraniums two or three weeks before your first hard frost. Choose blemish free, healthy plants.
  2. Cut back the side branches by half prior to digging up the geranium.
  3. Shake off as much dirt as possible from the roots. You can use your fingers to gently tease dirt from the roots, but be careful; geraniums are brittle and will shatter with rough treatment.
  4. Place the now bare-root geranium in a brown paper bag. Each geranium should have its own individual bag. You can use paper lunch sacks or paper grocery bags. Leave the top open for ventilation.
  5. Store the bagged geranium in a cool, dark location. The temperature should remain between 45 and 50 degrees.
  6. In one month, fill a plastic container with room temperature water. You will need to soak the geranium’s roots for one to two hours once a month. You can soak multiple geraniums together. Allow the geranium’s roots to dry completely before returning it to its paper bag.
  7. Re-pot your red geraniums in March. It may take several weeks before you see signs of new growth.

Hanging Red Geraniums

  1. Select a spot where you can hang your geraniums. It must be in total darkness, cool (45 to 50 F) and have rafters or hooks installed in the ceiling from which to suspend the geraniums.
  2. Follow steps 1 through 3 from Section 1.
  3. Cut pieces of string or twine into 20-to-24-inch pieces. Cut enough so that each geranium has its own piece of string.
  4. Tie the string or twine around the geranium just above the roots. The string or twine should be tight but not so tight that it damages the geranium’s tissue.
  5. Tie the string or twine around a rafter or hook. The geranium will be suspended upside down. Adjust the string or twine so that the geranium is hanging three to four inches below the rafter or hook. Space geraniums five to six inches apart.
  6. Follow steps 6 through 7 from Section 1.

Tips & Warnings

  • Expect your red geranium’s leaves to brown and fall off while it is stored.

  • If your geranium’s stem appears withered or shriveled; immerse the entire plant in room temperature water for two to three hours. Allow it to dry completely before replacing in the paper bag or hanging it upside down.

  • Geranium plants that touch other plants during storage are more prone to rot.

  • Do not store geraniums with apples. Apples produce ethylene gas as they ripen. Ethylene gas can cause bulbs and dormant plants to rot.

How to Keep My Geraniums From Freezing

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Countless hours are spent on your hands and knees watering and pruning your garden. Then, the dreaded frost arrives and many times, it ruins all your hard labor. Geraniums are one of the many kinds of plants that are ruined if left out in the cold all winter. There are simple ways, like being proactive and watching for frosts in the weather forecast, to prevent this from happening.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • Scissors
  • Potting oil
  • Pots –one pot per geranium
    1. Check the weather. When you begin to feel a chill in the air as fall approaches, watch the weather report very carefully. You will want to make sure you do not have your geraniums outside when the first frost arrives.
    2. When you see that the first frost is coming soon, you will need to cut your geraniums back. Look for the shortest and bushiest geraniums you have. During the winter months, the bushy geraniums will spread even wider, which will help you to get a more beautiful outcome in the spring when you replant. "Cutting back" means trimming them to half their size.
    3. Take each cutting you have and shake off any extra dirt. It is always best to start each new growth with fresh soil and space for new nutrients to penetrate the plant. Old dirt that is hanging on the plant can actually create a barrier between the new soil and old growth.
    4. Place what you have cut in 6 inches of potting soil in a pot; put one plant per pot.
    5. Be sure to water your pots regularly as they are growing and keep them in an area that receives a high amount of sunshine and does not go over 60 degrees F. A window that faces south or west will gain the most natural sunlight.
    6. During the winter months, bend back the tips of new growth to encourage them to branch out.
    7. Once spring has arrived and you are sure there is no longer a chance of frost, place your geraniums back outside where you originally grew them.
    8. You can repeat this process every year to prevent losing all your hard work and beautiful plants.

How to Grow Geraniums in Hothouses

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Geraniums are a genus of spring flowering perennial plants of which there are many species, hybrids and cultivars. Geraniums are widely cultivated in hothouse and greenhouse conditions for sale in the florist and nursery trade. They are also grown indoors by the home gardener in cool climates where many species cannot successfully overwinter.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • Light sterile potting mix
  • Complete balanced water soluble fertilizer
  • Water
    1. Plant hothouse grown geraniums in a loose and light quality sterile potting soil with perlite and vermiculite or in a soilless mix. Refrain from compacting the soil and maintain a slightly acidic soil pH in the range of 5.8 to 6.2.
    2. Water geraniums to maintain evenly moist potting medium. Do not allow the soil to dry out but do not keep the soil soaking wet at all times as this will lead to rot. Water deeply until at least some water flows out through the medium.
    3. Feed hothouse grown geraniums regularly with a complete, balanced formula water soluble fertilizer. Apply diluted with water according to product label directions once per week or once per month is using a slow release formulation.
    4. Provide relatively warm ambient temperatures consistently in your hothouse. Maintain overnight temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees F and daytime temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees F to optimize growth and flower production.
    5. Provide bright sunlight or the equivalent in broad spectrum artificial light for at least 8 hours and up to 15 hours per day, each day.

How to Cut Spent Blooms on Geraniums

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A colorful geranium is one of the more popular and dependable annual flowers a gardener can plant in a garden or container. With proper amounts of water and fertilizer, a geranium will bloom profusely and steadily throughout the growing season. Make sure you keep your geranium plants looking their best and in tiptop condition by cutting the spent blooms as they begin to fade.

Difficulty:
Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • Geranium
  • Pruning shears
    1. Watch the geranium plant daily to keep on top of the blooms as they begin to fade.
    2. Use the pruning shears to clip off each bloom and entire stem from the geranium plant. Cut the stem just above the main stalk for best results.
    3. Dispose of the stems and faded blossoms in a compost bin, if possible.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remove the entire stem from the geranium plant for several reasons. One reason is because the stems are unsightly and a geranium plant will appear overgrown and unattractive when it has stems sticking out at various angles. Another reason for removing the stems is that leaving a stem on the geranium requires the plant to continue to use energy to support it. The stem will never produce another bloom, so removing it is the best course of action. Removing entire stems will also encourage the geranium plant to grow additional lateral stems and the plant will become fuller and have more blossoms in the future.