Now in spring, nursery greenhouses are full of colourful summer flowers. An endless array is waiting to be discovered. But how do you start to make your dream of floral summer happiness come true?
There is one versatile summer beauty that can solve almost any balcony problem:
The geranium. Proven a million times over and yet always in tune with the times, it transforms balconies and terraces into floral oases in no time.
There is little that makes life as simply beautiful as geraniums. They are incredibly robust and easy to care for. They bloom abundantly and continuously without you having to take special care of them. They create a holiday vibe and at the same time give you that homely feeling. Geraniums are as much a part of summer as an alfresco breakfast and strawberry ice cream. The experts at Pelargonium for Europe reveal how to transform every balcony and terrace into a flowering oasis with sun-loving geraniums
No half measures
We recommend planting summer flowers individually in large pots and placing several next to each other. It depends on the style of container and the colour of the flowers whether you want to create a Mediterranean, urban or rustic feel. It’ s worth being brave and thinking by the dozen! The more uniform the pots look, the more variety they can be filled with, and vice versa. In full sun to partial shade locations, standing, semi-trailing and trailing geraniums are ideal as a planting theme. In a sheltered location, you can also plant the large-flowered noble geraniums and angel geranium varieties.
Tips for maximum floral impact
You can arrange individual pots in groups to suit your needs. With a flower staircase or ladder, you can create additional space for even more pots. Also, you don’t have to take as much care of the individual players when each one “lives” by itself. This gives you a new kind of flexibility. To ensure the plants develop well, the containers should have a diameter of about 20cm or hold about two litres of soil.
Combining geraniums colourfully
If your idea of floral summer happiness is a colourful balcony, then you can mix geraniums with other summer flowers. With the one-pot trick, there are no limits to your imagination. Even perennials are suitable as temporary geranium companions. Those of you who prefer a natural look can even combine geraniums with ornamental grasses, herbs or wild strawberries. Geraniums and herbs – they go hand in hand in terms of location preferences. Summer arrangements with sage, lavender or thyme look fantastic and provide plenty of food for bees and other insects.
Tips for choosing a (planting) partner
In colourful boxes, pots or containers, the geranium is more compatible than any other, if all partners share the same passion for a sunny to semi-shady location and no one tries to suppress the other.
Plant gorgeous, upright geraniums together with verbenas and Million Bells (calibrachoa) or with water hyssop (Sutera Cordata) and diascia. Lush trailing geraniums make an irresistible combination with lobelia. Petunias, Euphorbia hypericifolia ‘Diamond Frost’ and yellow sage (Lantana Camera) – all these are beautiful companions.
Tip: Flower boxes hanging on the inside of the balcony railing won’t please the neighbours first and foremost, but the balcony owner themself!
Planting balcony boxes and containers
Here’s how: First cover the bottom of the planter with a drainage layer of terracota shards, expanded clay or similar materials, then fill the planter three-quarters full with geranium compost. Press the soil down lightly. Water the root balls of the plants thoroughly and place them in the soil with at least 20cm between them. The root balls should be flush with the surface of the compost. Add more if necessary. Press the plants down. This should create a watering rim of about 2cm. Move the container to its final position and water it.
Important: Even balcony boxes with a water reservoir should be watered from above for the first few weeks until the plants have formed new roots.