The geranium plant has exploded in popularity ever since the 'Rozanne' won the title of Perennial Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association. Commonly grown as an annual, the geranium plant is actually a tender perennial. With proper care, geraniums can be a wonderful addition to any flower garden.
Things You'll Need
- Geranium plants
- Trowel or tool for planting
- Organic matter or fertilizer
- Mulch for weed control
Caring for Geraniums
Choose a sunny location to plant the geraniums. Geraniums will thrive in shaded areas, but for best flower production, a sunny location is recommended. It is best to plant in late May, when there is no danger of frost.
Prepare the bed by weeding and aerating the soil. Remove any weeds around the planting area so the plants will not have to compete for water and food. Turn the soil until it becomes loose and less compact. This aeration process gives the roots room to grow and also improves drainage.
Add approximately an inch of organic matter to the soil. Organic matter helps to condition the soil, especially if the soil is heavy and clay-like. It can be in the form of compost, manure or peat moss. This step should be repeated each year.
Remove the plants by gently tapping the container and gently tease the roots. Dig a hole approximately 1 1/2 times the size of the root ball and place the plant in the soil at the same level as they were grown in the container. Plants can be spaced anywhere from 6 inches to 2 feet apart; refer to the growing label for specific instructions. Carefully firm the soil around the roots being careful not to damage the plant as this can make the plant susceptible to disease.
Spread mulch over the soil to aid in preventing weeds and to help retain water. Water plants thoroughly and fertilize once per month with liquid fertilizer until the first frost.
During the fall, plants may be dug up and brought indoors. Simply cut the plants back approximately half the size and repot and place it in a sunny window during the winter months. In warmer climates, where there is no danger of frost, the plants will go dormant during winter and new growth will begin in the spring.
Divide the plants every 3 or 4 years by digging them up and breaking up the roots into clumps. Replant the divided plants for beautiful blooms for many years to come.
Tips & Warnings
- Keep fading flowers removed to encourage new blooms.
- Geraniums do not tolerate extremely cold temperatures, especially frost. When caring for geraniums as perennials, they will need to be dug up and kept as houseplants during winter and replanted outside in the spring.
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