First aid for potted plants: Too much rain? Top tips to save geraniums

What weather! It’s been pouring down for days, puddles everywhere you look. Where has the sun been hiding? You won’t immediately notice it in geraniums because they’re robust and easy to care for, but they don’t really like cold and rainy weather in the long run. Nevertheless, they can survive full-blown periods of bad weather with a little help. The experts at Pelargonium for Europe (PfE) know what to do when the rain just won’t stop.

Tip 1: Check water drainage

When it rains continuously, it’s important containers have free drainage holes. It is essential to check and, if necessary, remedy the situation. Are the geranium containers standing on saucers? This is not good if there is always water in them. They should be emptied regularly. A drainage layer at the bottom of the container helps to prevent waterlogging. With water reservoir balcony boxes, you can empty the reservoir a little by tilting the box to one side, so the soil also dries out a little from underneath


Tip 2: Get out of the rain

If possible, geraniums are happy to have a protective roof over their heads during persistent rain. The ideal place is not only dry, but also as warm and as bright as possible.

Remember: If you have the moisture in the soil under control again, you have to think about watering!

Tip 3: Remove dead blossoms

Stark flowers that have been heavily rained on should be removed, because they could become a good breeding ground for fungal diseases. Fungi love mushy plant tissue, and we don’t want to feed them.

Tip 4: Repot to dry out

Hopelessly waterlogged potting soil oozes out of every pore for days. This disturbs the metabolic processes at the roots and promotes rotting. If nothing else helps, repotting in fresh soil can save the day. Do not water immediately, but rather let the forces of physics prevail first. The new, drier compost draws water out of the wet soil like a sponge.


What happens to leaves and flowers during continuous rain?

During continuous rain, the above-ground parts of the plant are constantly wet. Because many fungal diseases need a film of moisture on the plant to be able to multiply, the chance that they will spread increases. If you want to avoid this, make sure that leaves, stems and flowers can dry off sometimes. The best way to do this is to provide shelter from the rain.

One thing is certain: all rain comes to an end. When warmth and sunshine replace the bad weather, geraniums will be back to their former glory after a surprisingly short time. A real summer beauty is not easily overcome. The joy of flowering is simply in the genes of geraniums.


What happens in the container when it rains all the time?

Too much water completely clogs the pores of the potting compost. The roots get no air. As a result, the metabolism in the plants’ cells no longer functions so they start to die, the cells at the sensitive root tips first. There are plants, such as reeds, that have adapted very well to moist soil. Geraniums, however, come from the dry, steppe-like climate of South Africa. Plants like them need more air in the root zone.

Continuous rain has a secondary effect:

The large amount of water washes out the nutrients, so fertilise regularly.

What is a good potting compost?

Good potting compost soaks up water like a sponge and at the same time is airy enough not to damage the roots. This is the case with a balanced ratio of coarse and fine pores. In addition, good potting compost smells pleasantly like a garden centre or forest floor.