How to care for your geraniums

A good sized pot, suitable location and sufficient water are all a geranium needs to flourish. This versatile South African plant is remarkably hardy and easy-care, making it an ideal choice for those who love surrounding themselves with an abundance of flowers and particularly if they don’t have much time for plant care. To enjoy geraniums at their blooming best all summer long, these are the care tips recommended by the plant experts at Pelargonium for Europe.

The right location

The geranium is originally from South Africa, which means it feels right at home in warm locations with full sun or partial shade.

Proper watering

Even though brief dry spells are usually no problem for geraniums, they prefer to be watered regularly and generously, even twice a day in very hot weather – in the morning as well as in the evening. Those who feel that this is too much trouble can use self-watering solutions, a large selection of which can be purchased at garden centres, or can make a cost-efficient one themselves, for example with plastic bottles.

Bear in mind though that extreme humidity and waterlogging will harm the plant. Excess water must always be able to drain off, in order to prevent root rot. During long periods of persistent rain, it is advisable to temporarily move the plants to a more sheltered spot.

Proper fertilizing

For the best nutrient supply and constant flowering, a standard fertilizer should be added once a week when watering. Alternatively slow-release fertilizer or pre-fertilized soil will eliminate the need for weekly feeding.

Proper deadheading

Regular removal of spent flowers and leaves as well as dried shoots makes a geranium look nicer, keeps it healthy and stimulates flower formation. To make life easier there are “self-cleaning” varieties, particularly among trailing geraniums – the spent flowers drop from the stems on their own before producing new ones, usually in no time at all. Only dried leaves still need to be removed by hand.

Proper overwintering

Perennial geraniums will flower again if cut back to heights of approx. 15 centimetres and moved to a bright, frost-free location to overwinter before the first nights of frost set in. During this resting period, the ideal surrounding temperature is 5 to 10°C. The plant requires only very little water during the winter months, making it appear as if it has died off. But this is not the case and as soon as a geranium receives warmth and water at the beginning of spring, it will form new shoots. For the start of the new season it should be supplied with fresh soil and if necessary a larger pot.

Follow these simple care tips to enjoy geraniums at their best all summer long.