Care of Martha Washington Geraniums

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The Martha Washington Geranium is also known as the Regal Geranium. It is a tropical annual that produces blooms that range from pink to lavender. It can grow to a height of 12 to 24 inches and thrives in USDA Zones 9b to 11. This type of geranium will bloom repeatedly during the growing season.

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General Care

A Martha Washington Geranium should be planted in a soil mix that is mildly acidic as well as loose and well drained. You can add a layer of pebbles or gravel to the pot before adding the soil to help facilitate drainage. Add a mild fertilizer to the soil before planting. Use a container that is large enough to allow for growth, as the plant will wilt if it is crowded. Put the plant in an area where it will receive full sun. A south-facing window is ideal, but partial shade can be tolerated as well.

Water your geranium regularly and allow the soil to dry out slightly before watering again. Add enough water to the pot to cause water to drain from the bottom of the pot. Use a mild fertilizer monthly during the spring and summer. During the colder months, fertilizing can be stopped until new growth appears on the plant when temperatures warm.

To enjoy the most blooms from your Martha Washington Geranium, keep it in temperatures of 50 to 60 degrees at night. Prune the plant to encourage bushiness by pinching off new growth periodically. Be careful not to pinch off too much, as this can prevent blooming. You can also prune the top and sides if they become unshapely.

Propagation

Martha Washington Geraniums can be propagated in two different ways. Remove a cutting from the plant that is 4 to 6 inches long. Cut the stem slightly under a leaf node and remove all lower leaves. Put the cutting in peat moss or coarse sand, deep enough to keep it upright. Keep the cutting moist but not wet. The pot can be covered with plastic wrap or other clear plastic to create a greenhouse effect and keep the soil moist.

Dividing an existing plant is another option. Loosen the soil around the roots of the plant enough that you can reach the roots without removing the plant from the pot. Using a sharp knife or scissors, separate a small section of the roots from the rest of the plant. Do not pull or rip the roots. Recover the original plant's roots and pot the new section of plant. Keep the soil damp and well fertilized. The new plant may wilt slightly at first but will soon perk up.

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