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How to Grow Geraniums

Annual

Geraniums are easy to grow, and versatile. One of the most popular flowers, they are grown outdoors in flowerbeds, indoors as houseplants, and are commonly found in containers on patios and decks. When grown in containers, they look handsome by themselves, or arranged with a group of flowers. The easy to grow, easy to care for characteristics of Geraniums spells "gardening success" for first time home gardeners and kids.

The plants commonly grow 12-24 inches tall. However, there are some varieties that will reach 5-6 feet!

Durable and hardy Geraniums have scalloped leaves. The plant produces five petaled flowers from mid-summer to frost. Colors include red, white, pink, salmon, orange, purple, and bicolors.

Plant Propagation:

Geraniums can be grown from seed. Geranium seeds can be directly seeded into your garden after all danger of frost. We recommend an early indoor start, 8-10 weeks before the last frost. Use of a heated germination mat will also be helpful to give your Geraniums a strong, healthy start.

Geraniums can also be propagated by cuttings. Cut off a young, shoot about 3"-4" long. Place cuttings in moist soil. Keep the soil moist for a couple weeks to promote root growth.

How to Grow Geraniums:

Outdoors:

Geranium plants prefer full sun. It will also do well in partial shade. If you live in a warm, southerly climate, opt for partial shade. They will grow in average to poor soil. If planted in poor soil, add compost and a general purpose fertilizer, to maximize growth and plant health.

Geranium plants prefer slightly dry soil. Water during dry periods. Then, allow the soil to dry out between watering. Add fertilizer once a month.

Space plants 12" apart.

Geraniums will begin to bloom by mid summer, and will continue to frost. Deadhead spent flowers to promote new blooms, and to maintain an attractive appearance. Also, remove any damaged or dead leaves and stems.

Hardy plants can survive a light frost. If you are planning to bring them indoors, do so right around the first frost.  

Try geraniums in containers either singly, or mixed with other annuals.

Indoors:

Geraniums live approximately 18 months. They are good candidate to move indoors when cold weather arrives. Cut them back by about 1/3. Or, start new plants in late summer for use as houseplants. Place them in, or near, a sunny window. They prefer temperatures below 70 degrees.

Don't overwater. Allow the soil to dry slightly between watering. They prefer soil on the dry side. Fertilize once a month with a liquid fertilizer.

Insects and Disease:

Geranium have few problems with insects. However, plant disease can occur, most notably leaf spot and blights. To minimize plant disease problems, provide good air circulation and avoid getting water on the leaves. If disease problems occur, remove affected leaves and stems. Apply fungicides as needed.

More Information:

Geranium Plants at The Gardener's Network

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