Growing Geraniums

How to Grow and Care for Pelargoniums

Growing geraniums of every variety. How to grow and care for geraniums in the garden. Planting them in containers. About the care of all types of Pelargoniums as well as true Geraniums.

Red and pink zonal geraniums bedded with canna. Dusty Miller serves as an edging.

The colorful garden geranium will fill your annual beds with white, pink, red or salmon flower heads. Some are double-flowered, others are bi-colored and many have contrasting throats.

The fuzzy foliage ranges from soft green to dark red and there are variegated geraniums with leaves edged in white or yellow or zoned with red bands.

The scented geranium can be used in cooking and there are varieties which have medicinal uses.

Geranium leaves.

Planting Geraniums

This is super easy. Set geranium plants (or you could even just stick fresh cuttings into the soil--most will root) into perfectly draining soil in full sun. Light shade is better in places where summer temperatures soar.

The spacing will depend upon the types of geraniums you are planting.

Growing Geraniums Outdoors

Designing a container garden is easy when geraniums are involved.

Here, orange geraniums team up with yellow violas and variegated ivy to create an eye-pleasing arrangement.

Most types of geraniums are tender perennials. They will survive a light frost but a hard freeze will usually kill them.

Don't let the soil dry out or become soggy. Plants of the Pelargonium genus will not endure wet feet.

Feed the plants every 2-4 weeks during warm weather.

When growing geraniums indoors or outdoors it will be necessary to pinch the tips out regularly to make the plants bushy.

The Problem with Growing White Geraniums

Growing Geraniums in Containers Indoors

Pink geraniums, purple daisies and blue Lobelia fill this annual container garden with color.

The dainty white blossoms of sweet alyssum add fragrance to the mix.

Because cold, wet soil is lethal to the plant Pelargonium, pot culture is ideal. Plants can spend the summer outdoors and be overwintered indoors or you can grow them indoors year round.

Variegated geraniums make especially attractive container gardening subjects.

Growing Tip:

Give all types of geraniums growing indoors as much light as possible to promote blooming.

Climbing geraniums will trail over the edges of large pots and will bring the outdoors in when planted in a wall-hung container. This is a good way to cover a damaged area on a wall or to dress up a plain one.

Make sure the potting mix is loose enough to drain quickly. Water the plants regularly. Keep them a bit drier during the winter.

Grow potted geraniums in a sun room or out on your porch for best health and bloom.

When promoting blooming in geraniums growing in containers, feed them every 2 weeks with a water soluble fertilizer.

Keep the room the plants live in well ventilated to deter insect pests.

Pruning Geraniums

Geraniums for Sale

Geranium, Stardom Orange-White Bicolor 3 Plants

Geranium, Peppermint Twist 3 Plants

Fragrant Geranium, Galleria Snowfire, 3 Plants

There are several different methods of saving geraniums from year-to-year.

The easiest way to prune geraniums is to pinch them. Use your fingernails to pinch off the tender tips of the shoots regularly as the plants grow.

This will cause them to branch. More branching equals more blooms.

Stop pinching when the plants are nice and full like you want them and let them set buds.

While the plants are blooming, just pinch off the dead flowers.

This will keep your geraniums neat and floriferous.

In late fall, you will want to cut the plants back hard if you intend to keep them over the winter.

If you have the space, try growing geraniums in a bright room after the weather turns frosty. They will delight you with flowers right through the winter.

If this is not possible, you can store them dry, in their pots or in paper bags, in a cool, dry environment.

Types of Geraniums

Perennial Geraniums

Geranium, Rozanne 1 Plant

Geranium - Biokovo

Crystal Rose Hardy Geranium

The Pelargoniums (common garden geraniums) are tender perennials. They will often live through a zone 9a winter if planted in a protected spot. In zones 9b-11 they will return year after year and grow into 5 foot tall bushes.

The true Geranium is hardy into zone 5.  Its flowers are not quite as showy as the Pelargonoum's and they don't come in as wide a range of colors.  There are small varieties like 'Biokovo' as well as very large types.

Perennial Geraniums flower mainly in blue, pink, and purple.  Some are drought tolerant and well suited to planting in rock gardens.

Geranium - Dragon Heart

Geranium - Double Jewel

Geranium - Tiny Monster

  • The Cranesbills are a group of truly perennial geraniums (into zone 5). The Cranesbill Geranium is not a Pelargonium like the other plants described on this page but a true Geranium.
  • Ivy Geraniums are trailing, sometimes climbing, geraniums whose leaves are reminiscent of those of the ivy vine. Though any well-grown geranium will look splendid in a hanging basket, the ivy-leaved geranium beats them all when displayed in this fashion.
  • Zonal Geraniums are the common garden geraniums that you see all the time. There are hundreds of different varieties--at least. Do not underestimate Pelargonium x hortorum because it is common. I have seen the effect that several plants of a single color displayed in identical pots can have on a room. Stunning.
  • A less common variety is the Martha Washington Geranium. Pelargonium domesticum is a specialty geranium which cannot be raised from seed. If you want to grow this type of geranium, you will have to buy plants or obtain cuttings from a friend.

    Regal geraniums are well worth the extra effort and expense. Their flowers are larger and showier than those of the more common types.

Our Other Plant Guides:

Caring for Petunias

Caring for Roses

Growing Orchids for Beginners

Growing Coleus

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