Geraniums originate from sunny South Africa. They love warm weather and the more light they get, the better they bloom. Nevertheless, geraniums grow surprisingly well in partial shade, because it has some advantages that full sun locations do not have.
In this article we will discuss:
- The advantages that partial shade offers
- Which geraniums are particularly suitable for partial shade
How to care for geraniums in partial shade
Partial shade: A soothing break on hot summer days
Due to their genetics, geraniums cope very well with full sun locations. Their fleshy leaves and thick stems equip them perfectly for the summer. Anyone who has a south-facing balcony knows that a lot has to happen before geraniums give up because of the heat. But for geraniums to bloom in abundance and grow well, they also need plenty of water and fertiliser in these locations.
Protection from extreme summer heat
In partial shade, plants get a break from the heat for a few hours every day. The sun’s rays no longer directly heat the plant tissue and the soil in the flower pot during these shady moments. As a result, the geraniums evaporate less water and the soil stays moist for longer. Various standing geraniums in a basket on a semi-shaded patio.
Less watering required
Since less moisture evaporates in partial shade, you have less watering to do and more time to enjoy the summer. Easy-care geraniums do not die immediately if the soil in the pot or window box dries out. However, their growth and flowering potential will suffer with an uneven water supply.
There is no reason to do without geraniums
You’ll probably enjoy your geraniums more in the shade, since it’s where you’re likely to be too. Honestly, who still plops down on a deck chair in the blazing sun at the height of summer these days? Even south-facing balconies can be semi-shaded if other buildings cast their shadows on them during the day. East or west-facing balconies also don’t have sun all day long and are still wonderful in the summer.
Sweet geraniums: Summer in a frenzy of colour
Regal geraniums are particularly suitable for partial shade. The frenzy flowers of these geraniums are large and colourful. They often have a dark eye in the centre, and the foliage is fragrant.
Regal geraniums started off life as houseplants, which explains their lower light requirements compared to other varieties that have always been at home in the garden and on the balcony.
In the past, geranium flowers were quite sensitive. Modern breeding has changed that, so they can now do very well outdoors.
Less sun is still plenty
In addition, any form of standing, hanging or scented geranium can be planted in locations that are still bright, but not blessed with sun all day long. They probably won’t grow quite as vigorously or flower quite as profusely as perfectly tended plants in the sun. Nevertheless, they still provide plenty of summer flair.
Caring for geraniums in partial shade
Tip 1: Plant sustainably for a smaller carbon footprint
More and more manufacturers are offering peat-reduced or peat-free soils. They have a better CO2 balance and are better for the climate than conventional peat-based soils. Special geranium soil best covers the needs of the beautiful geranium no matter where it is planted. And even in partial shade, geraniums are happy to have sufficient root space. You can find detailed planting instructions along with everything you need to know here.
Tip 2: Water geraniums in partial shade as needed
In partial shade, geraniums need less water than in full sun. If the soil is cool and moist when you put your finger in, you do not need to water. The ideal time to water is when the soil feels warm and dry. Water your plants directly onto the soil in the morning or evening. Water each plant with about half a litre of water. Let the excess water run off.
If the soil is already coming away from the edges, it is better to place the pots and tubs in a tub filled with water and give the soil at least half an hour to swell and saturate with water. Here, too, let excess water drain off and simply water more frequently in the future.
Sustainable watering with peat-free soils.
The finger test is always important, particularly if you are gardening in peat-free soil. Its surface will quickly look very dry, even though it may still be moist underneath. Without feeling it for yourself, you won’t know if you should water or not.
Tip 3: Fertilise geraniums correctly in partial shade
If you mix slow-release fertiliser into the soil when planting your geraniums, this ensures a basic supply for the first few months. Alternatively, mix liquid geranium fertiliser into the water every week. Everything you need to know about fertilising geraniums can be found here.
Sustainable fertilisation with peat-free soils:
Peat-free soil is more biologically active than soil with peat. It binds a certain amount of nitrogen so that the plants cannot use it. You can compensate for this nitrogen deficit with an extra portion of wood shavings or a similar slow-flowing nitrogen source. Mixing more slow-release fertiliser into the soil does not help, as this adds too much potassium and phosphorus
Tip 4: Prune for new flower life
Just like in the sun, pruning in partial shade encourages the geranium to form new flowers and leaves. Simply grab the faded flower at the leaf node or the wilted leaf at the leaf base and fold it over quickly to pinch it off.