Good planning is everything. How geraniums (almost) manage without care

Geraniums are grateful plants. They grow quickly, flower profusely, last a long time and are hardy and undemanding. A sunny location, water and plenty of nutrients are the most important requirements for these popular summer flowers to thrive from spring through to autumn. If you also remove dead leaves and flowers from time to time, your geraniums will be happy. For those who find regular watering, fertilising and pruning too much work, the experts at Pelargonium for Europe (PfE) have three helpful tips. Using these, you can ensure your geraniums will need very little care later on.

Tip 1: Use water reservoir containers or automatic watering systems

Geraniums love it sunny and hot. Even though they can easily withstand short dry periods thanks to their thick stems and stalks, they still need regular watering to grow profusely and produce plenty of flowers. On very hot days and in full sun locations, it may even be necessary to water in the morning and evening. Water reservoir containers or automatic watering systems significantly reduce the need for irrigation. Too expensive? You can also build watering systems yourself, for example using plastic bottles. You can find instructions for how to do this online.

Tip 2: Use slow-release fertiliser

Geraniums are ‘greedy’ plants. This means they have particularly high nutrient requirements. To provide your plants with the best possible care, you will need to add liquid fertiliser to the water after a few weeks, even if the compost has been pre-fertilised. If you don’t want to bother with this, mix a slow-release fertiliser into the compost when planting your geraniums.

Important: To ensure that the supply of nutrients lasts until the end of the growing season in autumn, choose a nine-month fertiliser. If the temperature rises above 20°C, the plant will usually use up the nutrients several weeks before the expected end of the fertilisation period and will need to be re-fertilised.

Tip 3: Choose self-cleaning varieties

Geraniums will bloom even more abundantly if you regularly remove faded flowers. Many plant lovers enjoy deadheading and find it meditative. If you don’t, there are self-cleaning geranium varieties available. These are prolifically flowering, trailing geraniums that shed their spent flower heads on their own. These self-cleaning varieties are ideal for balcony boxes and hanging baskets because of their trailing growth.

Detailed advice on all aspects of geranium care is available from specialist retailers.