Native to South Africa, geraniums (pelargoniums) are a sub-tropical species that will thrive in hot summer weather, but still put on a good show in cooler fall temperatures. While they are often grown as annual bedding plants, potted geraniums are easy to overwinter indoors for year-long blooms.
When protected from freezing temperatures, potted geraniums usually last several years before they decline in quality. Whether you grow them from seed or cuttings, they take about 3 to 4 months to flower, and can continue blooming almost non-stop with proper care.
How to Care for Potted Geraniums?
1. Plant your potted geraniums in good quality potting soil. Add a handful of well-rotted compost to boost the fertility levels.
2. Keep the soil moist at all times; water when the top inch of the soil has dried out, and let all excess water drain away before setting the pot back in its saucer. Geraniums will rot if they are kept in sopping wet soil.
3. Dilute a water-soluble fertilizer to half strength, and apply it to the soil right after watering every few weeks, as long as the plants are blooming.
4. Keep the plants in a bright location, but out of the direct sun, which can bleach the leaves. In extremely hot summer weather, reduce their heat stress by moving the pots to a shady spot.
5. When temperatures approach freezing, move the potted geraniums indoors to a sunny windowsill or under grow lights.
6. If you don’t have room for potted plants indoors, you can pull them out of their pots, clean off the soil from the roots, and store them in paper bags or cardboard boxes in a cool, dark space until late winter when you will pot them up again.
Can Geraniums Survive the Winter in Pots?
Potted geraniums can only be overwintered outdoors in zones 8 to 11. If your winters are cold, you will have to move the plants to a frost-free location until the next spring.
In sub-tropical and tropical climates, geraniums will actually do better in the milder winter weather than in hot, humid summers.
Potted Geraniums Temperature Tolerance?
The lowest temperature that geraniums can tolerate is 20°F (-7°C), and they will suffer heat stress in prolonged periods above 85°F (30°C). At both extremes you should consider bringing them inside the house where temperatures will be more moderate.
Do Potted Geraniums Come Back Each Year?
If they are given protection from freezing temperatures, potted geraniums can easily last several years.
In addition, you can create an endless supply of fresh young plants by taking cuttings from established plants and rooting them in damp soil or water. Then when the older plants have become too woody, you can simply discard them and continue on with your new plants.
When Should You Plant Geraniums in a Pot?
Whether you have overwintered your geraniums in pots under lights or in a sunny windowsill, or stored them bare-root in a cool cellar or frost-free garage, you should gather up some fresh pots in late winter to get them ready for a new growing season.
While geraniums don’t mind being a bit crowded in their containers, you should give them more room to grow every year. Only move up one pot size, or about 2 in (5cm) in diameter each time. Use fresh potting soil that will hold moisture but drain freely.
Feel free to use plastic pots for convenience, but it’s always nice to disguise them with an attractive ceramic or clay outer pot.
How Long Do Potted Geraniums Take to Grow?
New geranium plants can be easily grown from either seeds or cuttings, starting in late winter. They will start to bloom in 3 or 4 months from planting.
How Long Will Potted Geraniums Last Inside?
One of the reasons that geraniums are such a popular houseplant is because they will bloom year-round under the proper conditions.
As long as you keep the soil moist, and set your potted geranium in bright, indirect light, out of the direct line of heat or air conditioning vents, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to enjoy its lovely flowers and delicate scent all year!
Geraniums have long been a classic houseplant, and are equally well-suited to being grown in outdoor containers in spring, summer, and fall. While many people treat them as annual bedding plants, with a few simple tricks you can overwinter them for many years of blooms!
Read my related plant articles:
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- How Long Do Potted Daffodils Last?
- How Often Do You Water Begonias?
- How Long Do Potted Azaleas Last?
- What to Do with Potted Plants at End of Season?
Janice is a retired High School teacher who is spending her leisure years keeping busy with all sorts of projects. Aside from freelance writing, she’s an enthusiastic amateur chef, home wine maker, and tends a large raised-bed vegetable garden, while at the same time running a Bed & Breakfast.