How to care for geraniums

How to care for Geraniums

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How to care for Geraniums.  Geraniums love the full sun during the spring and fall seasons but not the full hot southwest sun during mid-summer so it’s best to place them where there is afternoon shade.

They can tolerate drought conditions and don’t mind if you plant them in pots, as a matter of fact, they thrive in containers.

It’s always best to use good well-composted soil that is loamy and drains well if you are planting them in the ground.   If you live in places where it does not freeze they will last all year long (perennial) providing you care for them accordingly.

Use good potting mix if you are planting them in containers. The main thing to remember is to make sure your pots drain well.  They can easily develop root rot if the root system stays in water too long.

Geraniums are considered succulents this means they do not like to be watered consistently.

Feeding Geraniums

Geraniums should be fertilized about twice per month.  A good all-purpose 20-20-20 fertilize will work well, however, if your plant is not blooming you might want to purchase a fertilizer with a higher concentration of phosphorus, something like BR-61’s 9-58-8 analysis will help with making new flowers.  Remember to water your plants first before applying fertilizer.  The best seasonal time to feed Geraniums is in early spring.  Hold off feeding during the winter season.

Where to place Geraniums

You can place them in full sun but if you live in hot arid climate zone they will do better with morning sun and afternoon shade. In the patio or courtyard with afternoon, shade works well. Or placed underneath a large shade tree that provides filtered light is good.

Put them in hanging baskets and place in the patio or hang them around the courtyard.

How to care for geraniums
Geraniums and Petunias hanging from a home. The orange and red flowers are geraniums.

What type of colors do they come in?

They come in numerous colors and varieties.  From deep dark purple to bright pine to stone cold white. The blooming season starts in early summer and ends late fall.  The secret to having them bloom all season long is “dead-heading” the more your clip off older blooms the more often they will bloom again, and again.

Background or texture of colorful royal flowers of geranium


How to make Geraniums bloom again and again.

There are two things needed for making geraniums bloom often.  The first one is called dead-heading.  It’s really simple just remove the old blooms often and you will be rewarded with new ones.  The second thing is fertilizer.

You should always fertilize geraniums with a high concentration of phosphorus…as this element is what makes all plants bloom or make more flowers.  How often? Good question but once a month during the growing season March, April, May, and June.

Types of Geraniums

Ivy Geraniums

Ivy Geraniums
Andrew Massyn [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ivy Geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum) is somewhat different the blooms are narrow but long and the leaves are almost heart-shaped than the zonal Geraniums.

Zonal or Garden Geraniums

Zonal Geraniums are hybrid Geranium plants that are produced to have better-looking leaves and long-lasting flowers. This is what most local nurseries will have. The care of zonal Geraniums is the same for most Geraniums.

Scented Geraniums

As the name suggests it is a Geranium that is more fragrant than others.

The Scented geranium is not really in the geranium family but they are in the Pelargonium genus family.  They look identical to most common geraniums and are tender perennials this means they come back every year and sometimes they don’t.  It depends on the harshness of your winter season.

You can, of course, use them as an indoor plant.  Make sure to place near a window or skylight as they do like the sunshine.

The Martha Washington Geraniums – Also called Regal Geraniums.  A much showier ruffled like flower and the foliage have a spiky serrated edge to them.  These type of geraniums are a little more expensive too.  See image below.

A huge selection of Geraniums at Color Your World or Guzman’s Greenhouse.


What type of problems do Geraniums have?

The biggest problems are mealy bugs these insects love Geraniums.  Mealybugs produce a white substance that resembles a white waxy powder and is a sap sucking insect that will kill or make plants look bad.  Spray with a good insecticide to kill them.  It will take at least 2-3 application before it works.

How to care for Geraniums
Mealy Bug and Cottony Scale on Rose Leaf

You can also use a systemic insecticide as this works by adding the insecticide into the soil, the root system takes it in and spreads throughout the plant.  Any insects sucking or chewing on the foliage will die.

Go organic and use insecticidal soap or neem oil to kill mealy bugs or any type of insect.  If the plant is completely infested your best option is to trash the plant.  Make sure to put your plant in a plastic bag before you throw it in the trash bin.

How to care for Geraniums




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