Monday, September 29, 2014

Keeping Geraniums over the Winter Months



Every fall, right around the first light frost of the season, I’ll gather several Geraniums into pots and bring them inside. They’ll keep on blooming for a while then go dormant. Then come spring, they bless me with another season of blooms. Although this is one way of overwintering Geraniums, there are several others:

Bare Root Method:
This is the easiest and most traditional way of keeping Geraniums.
**  Dig them up and shake the soil from the roots.
**  Hang the plants upside down in a cool place—a cellar usually, but a paper bag will suffice.
**  About once a month, water the roots by placing them in a bucket of water for about an hour or so.
**  In the spring, prune the stems and pot them.
**  Water thoroughly

Move plants inside:
I like this way best because it brings the color inside and I get to enjoy them for a little while longer.
**  Prune the geraniums to about 1/3 of their original height and put them in pot.
**  They will need a very bright room or sunny window in a cool room.
**  Water only when the soil is dry.
**  Keep them pinched back to avoid leggy limbs.
**  In the spring water and set outside.

Take Cuttings:
I’ve not tried this method with Geraniums, but I’ve done it with other plants.
**  With a sharp knife cut the top 3 to 4 inches from the ends of the plant
**  Pinch off the lower leaves and stick the cuttings in rooting soil in a pot with good drainage.
**  Place a plastic bag over the cuttings and container to act like a miniature greenhouse.
**  When they have rooted, move into their own pot and on outside when the weather is warm.

A few things to consider:
**  The older the plant, the woodier the stems become and in the end will bloom less often. This may happen with either of the first two methods.
**  You need to watch for diseases and insects such as aphids, gnats, or spider mites. Especially if you have other indoor plants.
**  Use only the healthiest plants.

Your turn:  Have you ever brought Geraniums in for the winter?  If so, which method did you use?

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