Many different geraniums in shades of red and pink in the garden. In the background you can see a wheelbarrow, a watering can and a shed.

Four things that geraniums do not like at all

Geraniums are considered to be extremely low-maintenance summer flowers, and for good reason! However, there are four things that geraniums do not like. If you avoid these things, they will thank you with beautiful blooms.

In this article we tell you what geraniums can’t stand. We’ll explain how you can tell that your geraniums aren’t at their best, and give you tips on how to look after them.

Geraniums don’t like wet feet

As South African plants, geraniums are well-adapted to warm and dry weather. However, they absolutely cannot stand having wet roots. Waterlogging occurs when too much water ends up in the flower pot over a

long period of time and does not drain off. This can be due to prolonged rain or too much watering. The excess water forces the air out of the soil and the roots rot. You can tell that your geranium is suffering from waterlogging because the water drips out of the soil when you lift the pot.

The leaves turn yellow and limp, and the flower stems and roots rot. In severe cases of waterlogging, the potting soil will start to stink. In addition, you will sometimes find blisters on the underside of the leaves.

Tips on how to avoid wet feet

Make sure that excess water can drain away by adding a layer of clay pebbles or expanded clay to the bottom of the pot. Use high-quality geranium soil. It is structurally stable, gives the plants support, and allows enough air to reach the roots. Do not use saucers in which excess water remains. Water your geraniums after checking with your finger whether they need water. The right time to water is when the soil feels warm and dry but does not separate from the rim of the pot.

Geraniums don’t like shade

The more sunlight that falls on geraniums, the more beautiful they bloom. This is because these popular summer flowers belong in the ‘full sun’ category.  They collect up hours of sunlight in order to return the favour with abundant flowers and vigorous growth. If there is a lack of light in the shade, they will not bloom as well.

You can tell that your geranium needs more light if it is not growing much or forming new flowers. The leaves will be a pale green colour and you hardly need to water them.

Tips on how to satisfy nutrient needs

Plant your geraniums in fresh, high-quality geranium soil. This is pre-fertilised for the first few weeks. Four weeks after planting, start feeding your geraniums with liquid geranium fertiliser. How often to feed them and in what quantity will be stated on the package.

Or mix a slow-release fertiliser into the soil when you plant your geraniums. This nutrient deposit will probably not be enough for the whole season. Therefore, you should switch to liquid fertiliser when you notice that your geraniums are no longer flowering so beautifully, or when they get yellow leaves.

Geraniums do not like a lack of nutrients

Geraniums are highly productive and need lots of nutrients to grow vigorously and flower abundantly. If there is a lack of nutrients, their metabolism shuts down and they do not develop to their full potential.

Geraniums are suffering from nutrient deficiency when their leaves turn pale yellow or reddish, and they may even fall off. If they are not growing even though they are in a sunny spot or if they are flowering less than usual, this also suggests nutrient deficiency.

Plants that suffer from a lack of nutrients are also generally more susceptible to pests. Therefore, you may notice pests on the usually robust geraniums.

Geraniums do not like the cold

As soon as the birds start chirping in spring and the lilacs show buds, you’ll want to make the balcony pretty. However, you should be patient with geraniums. As robust as they are, they do not like low temperatures.

At less than 12 degrees Celsius their growth stops. Below 5 degrees they don’t grow at all, and frost can cost them their lives. Once growth is paralysed, it takes time for the geraniums to start growing again. Nothing is gained by planting too early.

You can tell that your geraniums are too cold when they stop growing. You’ll, hardly need to water them and must take great care to avoid waterlogging. If the plants have been frost-bitten, the foliage and flowers will hang limp.

Tips on how to save your geraniums for summer

– Don’t buy your geraniums too early. Instead, wait until the last cold snap has passed.

– To start with, position your geraniums close to the house wall or another sheltered place at night, and preferably not directly on the ground.

– Put a garden fleece over the plants.

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