Geraniums are perennials that grow from seed and produce new leaves every year. They are native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. Their flowers appear in spring or summer, but they will not bloom until late fall or early winter.
Geraniums have been cultivated since ancient times for their beautiful blooms and fragrant petals which were used medicinally in China, India, Persia, Egypt and Greece. Geraniums are also known for their medicinal properties such as anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent and antibacterial properties.
The genus name geranina means “flower of the gerbil” because it produces small pinkish flowers with white spots. The species name geranium comes from the Greek word geranos meaning “spring”. There are many varieties of geraniums ranging in color from light green to deep red.
Geraniums are hardy plants that tolerate cold temperatures down to -10°F (-22°C). Geraniums prefer full sun but do well in partial shade. Geraniums like moist soil, so make sure your garden is regularly watered during the growing season. If you live in a hot climate, geraniums may need extra water during the winter months.
You can store your potted dormant winter geranium in the basement, garage or a shed. You can also store it in a protected area outside. Before storing outside, make sure the area is rodent-proof and keep the pots slightly above the ground to prevent moisture from collecting underneath. It is best to cover the pots with a tarp to protect them from the elements.
Before storing your potted dormant winter geraniums outside, bring the pots indoors and thoroughly drench the soil with a liquid water-soluble fertilizer. The fertilizer will feed the plant while in storage.
If you do not have room to store potted plants in the house, dig a hole in your garden and place each pot in the hole with the top of the soil level with the ground. Cover the pot with soil and mulch to prevent loss of moisture.
When you are ready to bring your pots back inside, dig each one up and look for any signs of life such as fresh green shoots or buds. Plant the pots in your garden if they are alive or place them in an area with plenty of sun to help them revive.
If there is no sign of life, throw the pot away because it is dead and buy new seeds to start again.
Are you growing geraniums outdoors? What type of care do you provide?
How do you prepare them for winter?
Sources & references used in this article:
Influence of an organic mulching on fertilizer nitrogen use efficiency and herb and essential oil yields in geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) by M Ram, D Ram, SK Roy – Bioresource technology, 2003 – Elsevier
The treatment effect of Cycogan on the growing and flowering on some species of Pelargonium genus by B Maria, BD Nicola – Journal of Horticulture, Forestry and Biotechnology, 2009 – Citeseer
Cultivation and sales of Pelargonium plants for ornamental use in the UK and worldwide by J James, M Lis-Balchin – The Genera Geranium and Pelargonium …, 2002 – books.google.com
The influence of plant growth regulators and storage on root induction and growth in Pelargonium zonale cuttings by TM Mutui, H Mibus, M Serek – Plant Growth Regulation, 2010 – Springer
The role of phenolic compounds in disease resistance in geranium by D Prasad, A Singh, KP Singh, S Bist… – … and Plant Protection, 2010 – Taylor & Francis
First report of Cucumber mosaic virus infecting geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) in Iran. by A Saidi, M Safaeizadeh – Asian Journal of Plant Pathology, 2011 – cabdirect.org
Essential oil composition of Pelargonium graveolens L’Her ex Ait. cultivars harvested in different seasons by RS Verma, L Rahman, RK Verma… – Journal of Essential …, 2013 – Taylor & Francis