Geraniums not flowering: the 4 most common reasons and solutions!

In this article, we'll tell you what geraniums hate. You'll learn how to spot when your balcony plants aren't happy and how to ensure the best flowering ever with a few simple remedies.

In this post, we’ll tell you what geraniums hate. You’ll learn how to spot when your balcony plants aren’t happy and how to ensure the best flowering ever with a few simple remedies.

Geraniums, botanically known as Pelargonium, are considered very easy-care summer flowers. They deliver what they promise, but there are a few things they hate. If you avoid these, you’ll never have to ask yourself: “Why aren’t my geraniums flowering?” Instead, you’ll enjoy the summer in a sea of flowers. More precisely: a sea of ever-flowering geraniums.

Location: Geraniums don't like shade

The more light falls on geraniums, the more beautifully they’ll bloom.
This is because these popular summer flowers belong to the group known as light-loving plants.

They store up the hours of sunlight in order to return the favour with abundant flowering and vigorous growth.

You can tell when your geranium needs more light because it won’t grow at all or flower. The leaves look pale green and you hardly need to water them.

Tips for making geraniums bloom

  • Place your geraniums in as sunny a position as possible. They can also tolerate a spot on a hot and sunny south-facing balcony.
  • If you don’t have a south-facing balcony, a south-west-facing position is also a good choice.
  • Bright locations without direct sunlight (for example, under a light-coloured awning) are also fine for geraniums, although they may flower and grow a little less there.
  • If you can’t find a spot that suits your upright or trailing geraniums, try noble geraniums (English geraniums). They started out as houseplants so will grow in less light than the other types. Remember: the right location is crucial!

Water: geraniums don't like wet feet

As true South African native plants, geraniums are adapted to warm, dry weather. They absolutely hate a waterlogged root area.

Waterlogging occurs when too much water remains in the flower pot or plant tray for too long and doesn’t drain away. This may be due to persistent rain or because the plant is watered too much/too often. The excess moisture pushes the air out of the soil and the roots rot.

You will notice your geranium is suffering from waterlogging if water drips out of the soil when you lift the pot. The leaves will turn yellow and limp, the flower stems and roots will rot. You will also sometimes find cork spots on the underside of the leaves of your geraniums.

In severe cases of continuous waterlogging, the potting compost will start to smell like rotten eggs.

Various geraniums, planted in window boxes. A watering can stands on a table.

Tips on how to avoid wet feet

  • Ensure excess water can drain away by placing a layer of clay shards or expanded clay at the bottom of the planter.
  • Use high-quality geranium compost. This is structurally stable, gives the plants support and allows sufficient air to reach the roots.
  • Avoid using drip trays and planters where surplus water can stand.
  • Water your geraniums once you have checked with your finger whether they need fluid. The right time to water is when the soil feels warm and dry but doesn’t come away from the edge of the pot. As a rule of thumb, half a litre of water per plant, per watering has been proven sufficient.

Fertiliser: Geraniums don't like nutrient deficiencies

Geraniums are hungry eaters and need a good helping of nutrients to grow vigorously and bloom profusely. If there is a shortage, their metabolism will slow down and these appreciative summer flowers will not develop to their full potential.

Your geraniums are suffering from nutrient deficiency when their leaves turn pale yellow, pale green or reddish in colour and may even fall off. The plants won’t grow, even if they are in a sunny position and are watered well. And they will flower less than normal.

Plants suffering from nutrient deficiency are generally more susceptible to pests. This is why insects may crawl around on otherwise hardy geraniums.

Helle Terrakottatöpfe mit Geranien in verschiedenen Farben und Größen auf einer Holztreppe vor einer Holzwand

Tips to satisfy nutrient hunger

  • Plant your geraniums in fresh, high-quality geranium compost. This is pre-fertilised for the first few weeks. If you care about the environment, use peat-free soil.
  • Four weeks after planting, start feeding your geraniums regularly with liquid geranium or flowering plant feed. Check the packaging to find out how often and in what quantity.
  • Alternatively, mix slow-release fertiliser into the compost when you plant your geraniums. It releases nutrients over a longer period of time so you don’t have to reapply as often.
  • The nutrient store probably won’t last the whole season, so switch to liquid fertiliser if you notice your geraniums are no longer flowering so well or if their leaves are turning yellow.

Temperature: Geraniums don't like the cold

As soon as the birds start chirping in spring and the lilacs start budding, you want to make your balcony look pretty. But be patient with geraniums. Hardy though they are, they don’t like low temperatures.

At temperatures below 12°C, growth slows; below 5°C they stop growing altogether; and a night of severe frost can even be fatal for geraniums.

If growth is arrested, it takes time for geraniums to really get going again. You gain nothing by planting too early.

You can tell it’s too cold for geraniums when they stop growing. You will hardly need to water them and should take great care to avoid them becoming saturated. If the flowers have been exposed to frost, the leaves and blooms will droop.

Geraniums in classic, stone planters standing in front of a glass structure to protect them from the cold. The flowers are lush, displaying a palette of pink and purple tones surrounded by green foliage. They are carefully arranged and give the scene a calm, well-tended look.

Tips for keeping your geraniums through the summer

• If possible, don’t buy your geraniums too early, but wait until a cold snap is no longer expected (usually after mid-May).
• Place your geraniums close to the house wall or another sheltered spot at night for as long as necessary, preferably not directly on the ground.
• If necessary, cover the plants with garden fleece.

Deadhead: Geraniums don't like old flowers

Deadheading primarily means removing wilted flowers. This helps the plant focus its energy on new flowers.

You’ll know it’s time to deadhead when the flowers look wilted and lose their bright colour. Don’t worry, you’ll know when to take action with upright and double-flowered trailing geraniums with little experience. Self-cleaning geranium varieties are a practical option to save you time.

Tip: While you’re at it, remove any wilted leaves straight away. This will keep your geraniums healthy.

How to get rid of old flowers quickly:

• Start deadheading as soon as the first flowers look wilted and keep doing it regularly.
• The quickest way to get rid of old flowers is without a knife or scissors.
• Grab the faded flower stalk by the leaf node and bend it over with a sharp jerk.
• If you want to use a knife or scissors, cut off the faded geranium flowers close to the leaf node. Clean the blades beforehand.

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