Red geraniums (Pelargonium × hortorum, USDA zones 10 and 11 as perennials) are beautiful, lively flowers that are grown as annuals in most of the country. Geranium symbolism is a bit complex, as these popular blooms have a variety of meanings. Historically, the meaning of the geranium is a bit different than what it means today.
Geranium Flower Meaning
Geraniums are said to symbolize positive things, like happiness, friendship and good health. In many areas, they are a common housewarming gift for these reasons. This is particularly useful to those living in the warmer USDA plant hardiness zones, like zones 10 and 11, where geraniums can be planted outdoors and grown as perennials. Elsewhere, geraniums are not hardy enough to survive the winter.
Geraniums have an interesting symbolic history. In the Victorian era, a time when flower meanings and associated lore were quite popular, the geranium came to represent stupidity or folly. This is due to the flower's light, lyrical and simple blooms.
Red Geranium Meaning and Beyond
Red geranium meanings are particularly interesting in the culture of Wiccans. According to Wiccan belief, geraniums in this hue should be planted near the doorway to your home. Wiccans believe that doing so will ward off illness, as the flowers are a symbol of good health. In addition, it is believed that keeping red geraniums at the door will warn occupants of strangers by moving in the direction of the approaching person.
Other colored geraniums are also said to have certain symbolism. For instance, pink geraniums are often associated with love, and some cultures even use them in love spells. White geraniums were historically associated with the ability to repel snakes. In areas where snakes were a problem, people used to plant white geraniums as a deterrent. White geraniums were also once thought to promote fertility.
Basic Geranium Care
If you have a geranium plant, you'll want to take good care of it to ensure its continued beauty. If you are keeping your geraniums as houseplants, you can put them outside when temperatures reach 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. You should place them in a sunny location and move them inside whenever temperatures drop below the 55-degree threshold. The plants should get four to six hours of sunlight per day.
Only plant geraniums in pots with adequate drainage since they are prone to root rot. Choose a potting soil mixture that drains well and avoid any soil that is high in clay content. Geraniums will not thrive in this sort of soil. Allow soil to become dry between each watering session, and when you do hydrate your plants, water them thoroughly. During the wintertime, you should water the geraniums much less frequently but don't stop providing water entirely.
Be sure to deadhead your geraniums regularly to keep dried and brown blooms from obscuring the liveliness of the still-colorful flowers. In addition, you can pinch back the stems of the flowers to encourage a bushier appearance. Try to fertilize the plants about once every two months during their active growing season to help your geraniums thrive.