When to plant geraniums?

If geraniums could talk and we asked them “How often should geraniums be watered” most likely, they would tell us not very much! “Geraniums don’t like to get their feet wet” this is something that you often hear from geranium fanciers across the globe. And this piece of advice ultimately makes sense if we consider that geraniums are native to southern Africa where rainfall is scarce and limited to the winter. So how often should geraniums be watered? Here is an easy guide on how to figure it all out.

Avoid These Common Mistakes

Over-watering is one of the most common mistakes people make when they start cultivating geraniums. When people tend to bathe a geranium too often, this predisposes the roots to asphyxiation, (yes, literally, the roots are suffering from lack of oxygen).

If you water your geraniums too much, you may notice that the lower leaves start turning yellow. On top of that, too much moisture attracts pesky parasites (gnats, anyone?) and fungal diseases.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, are those who are overly concerned about over-watering and end up not giving their geraniums enough water.

In fear of creating all the problems associated with over watering, these people leave their geranium plants without water to long. The end result is once again, yellowing of the lower leaves and early signs of wilting.

So How Often Should I Water My Geraniums?

Nobody can really tell you how often you should water your geraniums considering that there are too many variants. How often to water may vary from one place and another depending on several factors such as the local weather, how big the pot is, whether the plant is indoors or outdoors, the type of geranium, how big the plant is, the overall level of humidity, etc.

Perhaps the best piece of advice, is the universal method of relying on your sense of touch. This regular rule of thumb will keep into consideration all the individual factors that pertain to you. Simply touch the soil with your finger going down a couple of inches and your geranium should tell you if she is thirsty or not. If it feels dry, it’s time to water, if it’s still moist, then wait another day or two and re-test. Just make sure you always allow the soil to get dry before watering and you should be fine.

Geraniums do great in containers. Keep the blooms coming with these tips.

Few flowers look as good in a pot as these do. They blend handsome foliage with large clusters of showstopping blossoms in colors of red, pink, rose, salmon, orange, lavender, violet, or white. Although many people use geraniums as bedding plants, we think they perform even better in containers.
Two Main Plants
If you search enough garden centers, you can probably find four or five different types of geraniums. Two, however, account for almost all of the sales. The first and most popular is the common geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum). It’s also sometimes called a zonal geranium, because its rounded, velvety, green leaves often contain a burgundy ring.
Most gardeners treat common geraniums as annuals, but in the Coastal and Tropical South where it doesn’t freeze, they’re perennials. Succulent stems become woody with age, and plants grow into picturesque shrubs. Outside these areas, you must store the plants indoors near a window during winter if you wish to grow them this way.
The second most popular type is the ivy geranium (P. peltatum), named for its glossy green, ivy-shaped leaves. Rather than growing upright like common geraniums, this one cascades. Use it to plunge from hanging baskets, window boxes, or the edge of a big planter.
How To Grow
Geraniums like fertile, well-drained soil that contains plenty of organic matter. Let the soil go slightly dry between waterings. Don’t overfertilize: Feed them with slow-release, granular fertilizer once in spring or with a liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer three times during the growing season. Remove faded flowers regularly to keep the plants blooming. The best exposure is full sun in the morning with light afternoon shade.
Good To Know
High summer heat can take its toll on these plants. Many common geraniums stop blooming in sizzling weather, a condition known as “heat check.” (They’ll resume blooming when cooler weather arrives.) To avoid this, grow heat-tolerant types, such as the Americana, Eclipse, Fidelity, Maverick, and Orbit Series. Ivy geraniums like high heat even less; they do better in the Upper and Middle South. However, the heat-tolerant Blizzard, Cascade, and Summer Showers Series perform well in much of the Lower South. So does ‘Sofie Cascade.’ In the Coastal and Tropical South, use ivy geraniums as winter annuals.
What they like: Morning sun, afternoon shade; fertile, well-drained soil
“Plant Some Geraniums” is from Southern Living’s Container Gardening.


The quickest way to kill a geranium is to over water it.
(you will see this message repeatedly on other pages)


Moisture Meter RULE # 1, Water only when the plant needs it. How can you tell ? Well, there a number of ways and I will explain a few and whatever method you choose you will gain more knowledge through experience. You will ‘kill’ a few plants in the process.

Scratch the near surface of the soil in the pot to Visually check for moisture.

Moisture and PH Meter Is the plant already showing signs of wilting ?

Wood Mallet Use a moisture meter (probe), they sell for $4.95 and up.

Use a combination moisture and PH meter (twin probes) which sell from $ 9.95 and up.

Use a small wooden mallet if you have Terra Cotta pots. A ‘thud’ sound means they are still wet and a ‘cling’ sound means they are dry. This takes some time to develop the skill but once you have it is a very accurate gauge. Be careful not to hit the pot too hard. After you have broken a few pots you will become a master pot “thumper”.

Water PH

While we are discussing watering we should also address the PH (acidity and alkalinity) requirements for geraniums.

The PH range from 6.0 to 6.5 is optimum for geraniums in our climate zone.
It is wise to check the PH of your water supply and ‘City’ water is usually between 6.7 and 7.0. Check the PH of your soil mix too.

You may have a situation where your PH is above or below the desired level and you should add the proper chemicals to resolve the problem. I am not going to teach you all of this on our web site only to say that there is plenty of information elsewhere on the internet to help you. The obvious way of detecting problems is with your plant, if it is happy and blooming well there is probably no issue to be resolved. In this case let your plant be the canary, when it starts to shows some level of stress start checking for the reason.

Does your soil become dry and when you water does the water run through the pot but does not saturate the potting mix?

Over time salts build up in the soil and prevent water from wetting the mix. Terra Cotta pots are more prone to this and the salts will form a white film on the surface as a visual indicator. This is all remedied with the application of a surfactant which will remove the salts and allow the wetting properties to function once more.

A simple way of doing this is to make your own surfactant by adding 1/3 teaspoon of Ivory liquid dishwasher detergent to one gallon of room temperature water and thoroughly watering the plant. Magic!

Feeding geraniums with the right geranium fertilizers requires some knowledge about this plant’s specific requirements. Despite what you may have heard, geraniums are heavy feeders, that crave the right nutrients in order to thrive. Sure, many geraniums grow well even without feeding them much, but unless you live in the perfect climate with the perfect soil, chances are, your geraniums will just survive rather than thrive. Not all fertilizers are created equal, you therefore may want to learn more about feeding geraniums the right fertilizers.

Importance of Feeding Geraniums

Just like many other plants, geranium require several nutrients in order to thrive. When a geranium plant is placed in a pot with soil or in a flower bed, there are high chances that the soil will lack essential nutrients in the right amounts. This is where good geranium fertilizers comes into place.

Most geranium plants need primary nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Each of these nutrients play fundamental roles in growth.

The nitrogen helps the plant grow and develop nice green foliage. The phosphorous aids in root growth and helps the plant reproduce which translates into flowers and seeds. Finally, potassium helps with strong stem development and helping the plant become more resistant at times of drought and disease.

On top of these primary nutrients, secondary nutrients are also needed. These include macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are needed in large amounts and include substances that are often already present in the soil such as oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Micronutrients on the other hand are needed in small amounts and include boron, chlorine, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel and zinc.

The Right Geranium Fertilizers

Choosing the right geranium fertilizers can be tricky because the ideal type may vary based on what nutrients you already have in the soil and several other factors. It may help having your soil tested.

You can buy a home soil test kit or ask your local cooperative extension office to test it for you. The folks working there should be able to suggest to you the ideal fertilizer based on your soil’s results, whether you are growing in pots indoors or outdoors and the type of plant you are planning to plant (most likely geraniums, if you are on this page!).

Generally, most commercial fertilizers used for geraniums consist of a water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer. What do these numbers mean? Each number represents the percentage of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) the fertilizer contains. With a 20-20-20 fertilizer you are therefore getting 20 percent nitrogen, 20 percent phosphorus and 20 percent potassium.

The fertilizer must be diluted in water in correct proportions. Never pour it straight out from the bottle! Failure to dilute may lead to the fertilizer burning the plant which may end up in killing the plant! Liquid fertilizers are fast acting and geranium plants absorb the nutrients quickly through the roots.

For those looking for products specifically crafted for geraniums, Algoplus offers a liquid fertilizer that delivers 12 essential nutrients plus trace elements. Although this fertilizer has lower numbers compared to commercial types, the company claims that this is just the needed amount that can be used from March to October. See the video below on Algoplus ad how it benefits geraniums.

The Power of Magnesium

Geraniums may benefit from the addition of a little bit of magnesium every now and then especially if the soil the plant is in happens to be slightly deficient in magnesium.

You don’t have to go to the garden center in order to add a touch of magnesium. Instead, you can provide some magnesium to your geranium plants by giving some Epsom salts, which is often found in households. Epsom salts are simply a source of magnesium sulfate. To be precise, Epsom salts are composed of about 10 percent magnesium and 13 percent sulfur.

Every third or fourth watering, add 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts to one gallon of water. Mix thoroughly, and water your geraniums with this solution.

How does magnesium sulfate help geraniums? This mineral is helpful in keeping the foliage nice and green. Indeed, a lack of magnesium or sulfur is often the cause for yellow, dull looking leaves. On top of that, magnesium helps improves a geranium plants’ uptake of nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur.

Liquid Seaweed

Liquid seaweed has been used for a long time, but now it seems more and more gardeners are re-discovering its beneficial effects. And this is not at all surprising, this product contains more than 70 minerals, vitamins, and enzymes and a little of this product goes a long way.

Benefits of liquid seaweed for geraniums include better resistance to frost, better resistance to stress, deterrence of pests and diseases. Many gardeners use liquid seaweed for soaking seeds, as a rooting solution, as spray to encourage vigorous growth of leaves and buds and added to the watering can for the general purpose of growing healthier, stronger, and more disease-resistant geranium plants.

The ratio of liquid seaweed to water varies depending on the brand and its concentration. As mentioned, a little goes a long way.

Did you know? Some gardeners prefer to skip sea weed and feed this cheaper solution: water from a can of tuna. Simply mix equal parts of water and tuna water and feed your plants.

Lush growing geraniums look good in a bed all by themselves, or mixed in with other annuals. They also make attractive edging plants for the flower garden.

In fact, these versatile plants are perfect for any spot that calls for a splash of vibrant color through-out the season.

And, of course, they’re always popular mainstays in containers, hanging baskets and window boxes, as they thrive in pots and mix beautifully with annuals such as lobelia, vinca vine, petunias and verbena.

Growing geraniums: popular types

Coral zonal geranium

The popular geraniums you find at most garden centers in spring actually belong to the genus Pelargonium.

They are from the same plant family as the hardy perennial Geranium, however, Pelargoniums are tender perennials and not frost hardy in cold regions.

The most common types fit into one of the following groups:

Zonal: This group is loved for its big, attractive flower heads that bloom white, pink, orange, red or purple. The leaves have a dark zonal pattern on the leaves.

‘Vancouver Centennial’ has attractive foliage

Fancy leaved: Some zonal geraniums have fancier leaves, edged or banded by colors such as yellow, white, burgundy or coral.

Ivy: This type has ivy-like leaves and a trailing habit, which makes them perfect for window boxes and hanging basket planters. The trailing types also tolerate a fair amount of shade.

Flower colors range from white through pastel shades of pink to red and purple.

Martha Washington or Regal: Large frilly flowers make these geraniums very special. They bloom in white and vivid colors such as orange, purple, red and burgundy. Regals thrive in part shade and can grow up to 4 feet tall.

Scented geraniums: These types that are gown primarily for their aromatic leaves with scents such as citrus, apple, rose or mint. These plants have smaller, less showy flowers than the other types. Citrus-scented cultivars, such as ‘Citronella’ are sold as mosquito repellent plants, although they are not very effective this purpose.

Other types of geraniums: There are dwarf types and a group known as stellars, which have star-shaped flowers and notched leaves. The award-winning ‘Vancouver Centennial’ (above) is one of the best known stellars.

Tips for growing geraniums:

Although they can weather a light frost, geraniums love to bask in warm-weather. Growing geraniums need:

Light: Most types flower best in full sun, which means at least six hours of direct sun a day. If you live in a hot region with regular summer temperature over 90 degrees F (32 degrees C), plant your geraniums in a partly shaded spot. Many geraniums do quite well in part shade, but they won’t flower as prolifically.

Soil: Geraniums like rich soil that is well drained. Compost added to your soil will give them an added boost. Plant container geraniums into pots filled with container potting mix.

Fertilizer: When growing geraniums, remember that they are heavy feeders. Give them fertilizer every two weeks or once a month at the very least. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer such as 20-20-20, or feed them at planting time with a time-release fertilizer that lasts all season. Regular fertilizing is especially important for container-grown plants.

Water: The key thing about watering geraniums is to water them thoroughly, but let the soil dry between waterings. Be sure to water the plants regularly when it doesn’t rain. Check containers daily during hot summer weather. The best way to do this is to use a water meter or poke a finger into the soil. If it’s dry two inches down or more, it’s time to water.

Grooming: Leaves can die and turn brown for a number of reasons, mostly because geraniums are quite sensitive to fungal disease from excess moisture and humidity. Keep your plants looking their best by deadheading them and removing dried or discolored leaves. Your geraniums will reward you by looking great all season.

Over-wintering: You can grow geraniums indoors over winter, or take cuttings, or keep them dormant in a cool, dark basement. All the how-to Information is here.

Grow geraniums from seed

In the past, most commercially grown plants were propagated from cuttings.

But advances in plant breeding have changed that. There are now many excellent seed-grown varieties that outperform many older cutting-grown varieties. Get the how-to on growing geraniums from seed.

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Annual geraniums are popular for their wide range of brilliant flower color and attractive leaves. They can be grown as bedding plants and in containers on decks and patios, in hanging baskets, or in window boxes. They will grow in every part of South Carolina.

Zonal geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) are popular for their wide range of brilliant flower color and attractive leaves.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension


There is great variation in leaf, flower and growth habit of geraniums. They vary in height from 6 inches to several feet, depending on the cultivar and the care given the plants.

Landscape Use

Geraniums need at least four hours a day of direct sunlight in order to flourish and flower well. In very hot areas it may be best to give the plants a few hours of shade midday.

Plant geraniums outdoors after all danger of frost is past and the soil has warmed.

Water abundantly after planting, and continue to water regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering. Never allow the plants to wilt or the leaves will turn yellow and drop off. Keep water off the foliage because moist foliage favors the development of disease. Mulch the bed to maintain moisture levels and keep the soil cooler in summer.

Soil for geraniums should be well-drained. Geraniums respond well to fertilizer and are stunted and yellowed if not provided enough nitrogen. Fertilize new flowerbeds with one pound of a 10-20-10 fertilizer or the equivalent per 100 square feet. Mix the fertilizer into the soil well. Geraniums usually require additional fertilizer during the growing season every four to six weeks. A water-soluble formula works well for follow-up fertilizations.

Take dead flowers off the plant to prolong flowering. Pinch to encourage well-branched, full plants.

When growing geraniums in containers, choose large pots to hold enough soil for a good root system, and to contain enough water to prevent wilting. Repot into larger containers if they grow so large that they wilt frequently. Select containers with adequate drainage holes, plant in a well-drained soil mix and do not allow pots to sit in water.


Bacterial leaf spot/blight causes spotting of the leaves, leaf drop and black rot of the stems. Botrytis blight is common during cool, moist weather. Oedema causes corky spots on the leaves and occurs when plants are over-watered. Reduce watering frequency, keep water off leaves, increase air circulation and make sure plants are in enough sun to reduce these problems. Keep plants cleaned of any dead, damaged, or yellowed leaves or flowers.

Aphids, caterpillars, mites and whiteflies may infest geraniums.

Species, Types & Cultivars

Common geraniums are actually members of the genus Pelargonium, while “true” geraniums include native wildflowers and herbaceous perennials. Major types of geraniums grown by home gardeners include the following:

Common Garden Geraniums or Zonal Geraniums: These geraniums often have distinct leaf markings. There are fancy-leafed selections with tri-colored leaves, silver leaves and leaves with white markings. Flower colors are usually pink, red, salmon or white.

A zonal geranium with white edged leaves.
Karen Russ, ©2008 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Common and zonal geraniums are either seed-grown or cutting-grown. Geraniums from seed are mainly available in single-flowered form only. Their flowers tend to shatter, an advantage because you don’t need to pick off dead blooms.

Flower colors for zonal geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) are usually pink, red, salmon, or white.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Seed-grown Cultivars Include the Following Varieties:

  • ‘Multibloom’ series is very early-flowering, with deeply zoned leaves on small plants. They produce up to 15 flower heads per plant at one time, virtually hiding the foliage, in vibrant colors of pinks, reds, lavender and white.
  • ‘Cameo’ has round heads of deep coral salmon florets held well above the lightly zoned foliage.
  • ‘Maverick’ series has full flower heads in a mixture of colors including pink, red, salmon, coral and ‘ Star,’ a vibrant pink and white bicolor. They have zoned foliage on multiple stemmed plants reaching up to 18 inches tall.

Cutting-grown Cultivars: Most geraniums root easily from stem cuttings, and many cultivars must be propagated this way to maintain flower and/or leaf color, shape, and scent.

  • ‘Lollipop’is orange.
  • ‘Gypsy’ and ‘Melody’are pink.
  • ‘Melody Red’ and ‘Sincerely Yours’ are red.
  • ‘Lucille’is coral.
  • ‘Lotus’is white.
  • ‘Mrs. Henry Cox’ is a striking zonal geranium with pink flowers that are upstaged by the dramatic yellow, deep red and green variegation of its leaves.

Ivy-leafed Geraniums: These geraniums are trailing in habit with ivy-like leaves. They are used mainly in hanging baskets and window boxes.

Ivyleaf geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum) have trailing growth habits with ivy-like leaves.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Ivy geraniums are should not be treated the same as common zonal geraniums. Ivy geraniums prefer moderate temperatures. When the temperatures are above 85 °F, hang the plant in a location that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. Ivy geraniums require moderate soil moisture levels – not too much and not too little. One of the major problems seen on ivy geraniums is edema caused by fluctuating soil moisture.

  • ‘Summer Showers’ has a base branching habit that makes pinching-out unnecessary. It can be grown from seed.
  • ‘Balcon’ geraniums bloom a bit later and have smaller flowers than common ivy geraniums, but they are much heavier-blooming and will trail two feet from a window box, even on the north side of a house. The flowers are ” self-cleaning:” and do not require deadheading.

Scented-leafed Geraniums: These geraniums are prized for their aromatic leaves. Most do not have showy flowers. Scents include lemon, rose, peppermint, nutmeg and others. The leaves are used for potpourris, preserves, desserts, punches, vinegars, teas and sachets. Some common scented species are:

  • Rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) has hairy deep green leaves that are divided and toothed, with a delicate spicy rose scent.
  • Lemon geranium (P. crispum) grows to a height of 2 feet, with small, stiff, curly leaves and lilac pink flowers. Its fresh leaves give a pleasant lemon fragrance.
  • Apple geranium (P. odoratissima) has trailing stems with small, soft, gray green leaves with a sweet apple scent and delicate white flowers.

The “mosquito geranium” (Pelargonium citrosum) smells like citronella and is advertised as a natural mosquito repellant. This has not been proven.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

  • Peppermint geranium (P. tomentosum) has large heart-shaped wooly leaves with a strong mint scent.
  • The “mosquito geranium” smells like citronella and is advertised as a natural mosquito repellant. This has not been proven.

The Martha Washington or regal geraniums (Pelargonium x domesticum ‘Regal’) are not heat tolerant and are best grown as house plants during cooler months.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Martha Washington Geranium & regal Geraniums: These are sold during the winter as flowering pot plants. They are not heat-tolerant and will not perform as well outdoors as common geraniums.

If you want to overwinter your geraniums you can try these methods:

  • Take cuttings in the fall and keep the plants on a bright, sunny windowsill during the winter.
  • Dig large geraniums from the garden before the first frost and plant in large pots. Cut back and place in a sunny area such as a heated porch.
  • Dig the plants before the first frost and hang the plants upside down in a cool, moist basement where they will not freeze. In spring, take the plants down, cut off two-thirds of the top growth and replant outdoors.

Geranium Flower Bed Stock Photos and Images

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  • Tulip and Geranium flower bed in St James s Park CIty of Westminster SW1 London England
  • Mixed flower bed in English garden
  • Hardy Geranium flower bed.
  • Papaver, Poppy, Orange coloured flowers and others of mixed colours in a garden border.
  • geranium rozanne,coreopsis,blue,yellow,flower,flowers,mix,mixed,combination,bed,border,RM Floral
  • Beautiful cottage garden.
  • Viola PENNY YELLOW and Viola PENNY VIOLET and Geranium DIXIELAND DEEP RED flower bed at Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in Spring, TX.
  • geranium rozanne,dahlia,blue,yellow,flower,flowers,mix,mixed,combination,bed,border,RM Floral
  • Lavender and potted Geranium in a raised bed.
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  • Geranium Patricia ‘Brempat’
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  • Lavender and potted Geranium in a raised bed.
  • geranium eryngium blue flower flowers flowering mix mixed bed border combination RM Floral
  • Pink geranium flowers without of focus flowers in the background. They are also known as cranesbills.
  • Beautiful flower of a geranium
  • geranium eryngium blue flower flowers flowering mix mixed bed border combination RM Floral
  • Pink geranium flowers with out of focus flowers in the background. They are also known as cranesbills.
  • Astrantia Bo Ann, Geranium Rozanne,blue,flower,flowers,flowering,perennial,pink,white, mix, mixed, combination, perennial,bed,border,RM Floral
  • Purple geraniums growing together with purple lavender and various plants in a herbaceous border flower bed Bute Park Cardiff Wales UK KATHY DEWITT
  • Cranesbill, Geranium cinereum ‘ Sateen ‘
  • Astrantia Bo Ann, pink,white, flowers, flower, flowering,mix, mixed, combination, perennial,bed,border,Geranium Anne Thomson,magenta,pink,flower,flowe
  • Blue Geranium in bloom flowering in garden
  • Single buttercup growing from a bed of geranium leaves Killin Perthshire Scotland UK
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  • Geranium pratense or Meadow Crane’s Bill flowers in a garden
  • Geranium x oxonianum ‘Thurstonianum’
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  • Lavender and potted Geraniums in a raised bed.
  • geranium flowers in white pot on the balcony
  • Geranium Anne Thomson,Sanguisorba officinalis Red Thunder,magenta,pink,purple,flower,flowers,flowering,perennial,mix,mixed,combination,bed,border,RM F
  • Lavender and potted Geraniums in a raised bed.
  • Blue Geranium flower in nature
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  • A beautiful pale pink Pelargonium (Geranium) flower against a background of clear blue sky. Sunlit on a summers day, with copy space.
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  • Geranium flower head blossom close up green background
  • close up of a red geranium flower and new bud
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  • Perennial garden flower border plant Cranesbill blue geranium
  • Lincolnshire, England UK – A Geranium (Geranium pratense) growing and in full flower in a cottage garden
  • Astrantia Bo Ann,Geranium Anne Thomson,magenta,pink,white, flowers,flower,flowering,mix,mixed,combination,perennial,bed,border,white wrought iron benc
  • Pink garden geranium in the home garden.
  • Lincolnshire, England UK – A Geranium (Geranium pratense) growing and in full flower in a cottage garden
  • Astrantia Bo Ann,Geranium Anne Thomson,magenta,pink,white, flowers,flower,flowering,mix,mixed,combination,perennial,bed,border,white wrought iron benc
  • Macro view of cranesbill or hardy perennial geranium.
  • Lincolnshire, England UK – A bee on a Geranium (Geranium pratense) growing and in full flower in a cottage garden
  • Astrantia Bo Ann,Geranium Anne Thomson,magenta,pink,white, flowers,flower,flowering,mix,mixed,combination,perennial,bed,border,white wrought iron benc
  • Colorful Pelargonium flower beds stone walkway house backyard
  • Lincolnshire, England UK – A bee on a Geranium (Geranium pratense) growing and in full flower in a cottage garden
  • Astrantia Bo Ann,Geranium Anne Thomson,magenta,pink,white, flowers,flower,flowering,mix,mixed,combination,perennial,bed,border,white wrought iron benc
  • Geranium ‘Walter’s gift’ flower and leaves in bed of bark chips, with shallow depth of field
  • geranium psilostemon border edge front pink flower flowers flowering planting scheme define bed perennial perennials RM Floral
  • Lincolnshire, England UK – A bee on a Geranium (Geranium pratense) growing and in full flower in a cottage garden
  • Old wooden vintage trolley with flower pots and boxes with colorful Petunia flowers and geranium in the garden on a Sunny summer day, vertical shot.
  • geranium psilostemon border edge front pink flower flowers flowering planting scheme define bed perennial perennials RM Floral
  • Old wooden vintage trolley with flower pots and boxes with colorful Petunia flowers and geranium in the garden on a Sunny summer day, vertical shot.
  • Geranium Anne Thomson, Geranium procurrens x Geranium psilostemon, magenta, flower, flowers, flowering, perennial, perennials,path,edge,edged,egding,b
  • Geranium (Cranesbill)
  • fleabane white flowers blue geranium flowers flower flowering mix mixed bed border RM Floral
  • A flower bed of purple geranium’s and other blue flowers.
  • Lilium eyeliner,Geranium Anne Thomson,magenta,pink,mix,mixed,bed,border,flower,flowers,flowering,white lily eyeliner,RM Floral
  • dusky cranesbill (Geranium phaeum), blooming in a flowerbed together with Allium aflatunense, Germany
  • Flowering geraniums on window and flowerbed, Czech countryside
  • Lilium eyeliner,Geranium Anne Thomson,magenta,pink,mix,mixed,bed,border,flower,flowers,flowering,white lily eyeliner,RM Floral
  • dusky cranesbill (Geranium phaeum), blooming in a flowerbed together with Allium aflatunense, Germany
  • Decorative bicycle with geranium near the wall of the house outdoors in summer
  • Lilium eyeliner,Geranium Anne Thomson,magenta,pink,mix,mixed,bed,border,flower,flowers,flowering,white lily eyeliner,RM Floral
  • A beautiful flower bed with petunias and geraniums in an English country garden in Cornwall, UK.
  • Israel, Ein Hod Artists village, pots of Geranium flowers
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Growing Geraniums: Tips For The Care Of Geraniums

Geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) make popular bedding plants in the garden, but they’re also commonly grown indoors or outside in hanging baskets. Growing geranium plants is easy as long as you can give them what they need.

How to Grow Geraniums

Depending on where or how you grow geranium plants, their needs will be somewhat different. Indoors, geraniums need lots of light for blooming but will tolerate moderate light conditions. They also need indoor temps of around 65-70 degrees F. (18-21 C.) during the day and 55 degrees F. (13 C.) at night.

These plants need to be grown in well-draining potting soil as well. When growing geraniums outdoors, they require moist, well-draining soil similar to that of indoor potting soil with equal amounts of soil, peat, and perlite.

Locate your geraniums in an area with at least six to eight hours of sunlight. Since these plants must be protected from cold, wait until the threat of frost has passed before planting.

Space plants about 8 to 12 inches (20-30 cm.) apart and around the same depth as their original planting pots. Mulching the plants is also recommended to help retain moisture.

Care of Geraniums

Whether indoors or out, geranium care is pretty basic. In addition to watering, which should be done deeply and once the soil begins to feel dry indoors or at least weekly outdoors (though potted plants may need daily watering in hot weather), fertilizing is usually necessary. Use a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer or a 5-10-5 fertilizer with additional organic matter every four to six weeks throughout their active growing season.

Indoor or potted plants may require repotting once they become overgrown, usually noted by wilting between waterings. Regular deadheading of spent blooms will also help encourage additional blooming. When watering outdoor plants, it’s best to avoid overhead irrigation, as this can lead to pests or disease issues.

Geranium plants root easily from cuttings and can be propagated in fall for overwintering of outdoor plants. They can also be dug up and brought inside.

A Shopper’s Guide to Buying Geraniums

By Doug Jimerson
The backbone of the summer garden, geraniums provide nonstop color in beds or containers from late spring until fall. Actually members of the Pelargonium family (true geraniums are an unrelated group of perennial plants), these easy-care sun-lovers come in an almost unlimited range of colors, shapes and sizes. Here’s what to look for when you visit your local garden center.

Zonal Geraniums
Chances are you’re already familiar with zonal geraniums. The most common form of geranium, zonals get their name from the dark zone-like patterns of bronze, purple, or dark green found on the surface of the leaves that darken as the foliage matures. Zonal geraniums have an upright stance and come in a variety of colors including: white, red, crimson, burgundy, peach, salmon, and bi-color. Zonal geraniums are tough, resilient plants that prefer slightly dry conditions. Hot, humid weather can cause your plants to fail. To keep them in top form you’ll need to clip away the flower heads as they fade.
Shopping tips: When shopping for zonal geraniums avoid those with yellow foliage or any that have lost their lower leaves.

Variegated Geraniums
Prized as much for their brightly colored leaves as they are for their colorful flowers, variegated geraniums look great in containers by themselves or mixed with other annual bloomers. A form of zonal geranium, variegated types have an upright form and can grow 2 to 3 feet tall. These plants look great even when they are not in bloom. Most have bi-colored or tri-colored leaves. Some classic variegated selections to watch for include:
> ‘Ice Queen’ (green with white edges)
> ‘Happy Thought’ (cream with green edges)
> ‘Mrs. Henry Cox’ (green and bronze with cream edges)
> ‘Mrs. Pollock’ (green, bronze, and cream)
> ‘Vancouver Centennial’ (bronze and gold)
> ‘Wilhelm Langguth’ (green and white)
Shopping tips: When shopping for variegated geraniums look for short, stocky plants. Avoid tall, leggy specimens or those with lots of dried up, crinkly leaves at the base of the plant. Most variegated-leaf geraniums don’t bloom as profusely as their cousins, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t see as many blooms on the plants in the store — or in your garden.

Seed Geraniums
For a new gardener it’s often hard to tell a seed geranium from a zonal geranium. In fact, they actually look quite a bit alike, but seed geraniums can generally be identified by how they are sold. Zonal geraniums are most often sold in individual pots, but seed geraniums are generally offered in larger groups or flats and they cost less than zonals. Seed geraniums are heavy bloomers and are ideal if you want to fill an entire bed or landscape with plants. These easy-care annuals are generally shorter and more compact than zonals and produce single flowers in a wide range of colors.
Shopping tips: When shopping for seed geraniums look for stocky plants with bright green foliage. Avoid any that have dried out with shriveled leaves and stems.

Ivy Geraniums
You can’t beat ivy geraniums for hanging baskets, window boxes, or tall, vertical containers where the plants’ handsome foliage can trail over the edge like a waterfall of blooms. Ivy geraniums get their name from their trailing habit and ivy-shaped leaves. Once established, ivy geraniums grow quickly and can spread several feet in any direction. Ivy geraniums are available in different sizes; smaller, denser, varieties are occasionally called balcony geraniums. Colors include red, pink, white, salmon, burgundy, lavender, and bi-color. To keep your plants blooming continuously, remove the flowers as they fade and feed them every few weeks with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer.
Shopping tips: When shopping for ivy geraniums look for tight, dense plants with plenty of flower buds.

Interspecific Hybrid Geraniums
Don’t let the name of this group of geraniums intimidate you. Interspecific Hybrid geraniums are simply the offspring of upright zonal geraniums crossbred with common ivy varieties. The result is a plant that combines the best traits of both parents: nonstop flower production, a dense mounded or slightly trailing habit, and heat and drought tolerance. Popular interspecific geraniums include varieties such as Calliope and Caliente.
Shopping tips: When shopping for these beauties look for rich, dark foliage topped with flashy flowers in colors that include red, coral, pink, lavender, and orange.

Scented Geraniums
All you have to do is gently brush or rub a scented geranium leaf to enjoy its rich fragrance. Scented geraniums come in an extensive selection of scents and leaf shapes. Popular scented geraniums include lemon, lime, rose, orange, mint, and cedar. One variety, ‘Cintronella’ is thought to repel mosquitoes, but sadly the claims are not true. Scented geraniums produce small pink or white flowers throughout the summer.
Shopping tips: When shopping for scented geraniums read the plant label before you buy. Some varieties remain tight and compact while others can grow 3 feet tall and wide so select plants that will fit your space. Also, rub the leaves before purchasing to be sure the scent is pleasing to you.

Martha Washington Geraniums
The jewel-like flowers of Martha Washington geraniums are so showy that the plants are often found in florist shops as well as your local garden center. These glamorous plants, occasionally called regal geraniums, produce a canopy of bi-colored pink, lavender, white, and burgundy, blooms. Unlike other geraniums, Martha Washington varieties do not like hot, sunny weather and do best in cooler, wetter climates. Once the initial set of blooms fade, it can be difficult to bring them back into flower. They make excellent gift plants, but in the garden their performance can be short lived.
Shopping tips: When purchasing Martha Washington geraniums look for bright green foliage and choose plants just starting to bloom. Avoid plants with flowers that are already starting to fade.


Geraniums are one of the most beloved and popular plants in the world thanks to their colorful-rich flowers, due to the fact that they are plants relatively easy to maintain, and because they can bloom all year round.

Even though these are commonly known as “geraniums”, the glaring large-flowered that most people grow around the house are actually pelargoniums.

For the sake of the simplicity, I’m just going to refer to these plants as “geraniums.”

The most popular and which I will talk about in this article is Pelargonium x hortorum. Pelargonium x hortorum can be found in a variety of colors and is usually found on the balconies of many houses.

Pelargonium x hortorum

Geraniums can grow very well in pots but can also be planted directly in the garden during the summer time.

There are a few species that can survive an easy frost, but if you want to enjoy these plants during the winter, you have to plant them in a flower pot, keep them indoors, and place them close to a window to receive enough light from the sun.

Since they don’t have a highly developed root system, these plants can grow in relatively small pots.

Besides their pleasing look, geraniums are known to repel mosquitoes and other insects with their distinctive smell.

Even though geraniums usually don’t require too much care, there are several things you need to know in order to grow healthy plants that produce beautiful flowers.

Here are several tips for growing healthy Geraniums.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that the owner of this website might be compensated for any qualifying purchases made via these links.

1. Give geraniums enough light and sun

Red geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum)

Geraniums are sun-loving flowers, but also plants that love open and well-ventilated spaces.

Can geraniums take full sun?

Geraniums should have between 4-6 hours per day of full sun, therefore, you shouldn’t leave the plants in full sun on a sunny day.

The optimal conditions for the common geraniums would be to give them full sun during the morning and light shade after noontime.

2. Do not water geraniums in excess

How Often Should Geraniums Be Watered?

Geraniums can survive long periods of dry soil much better than long periods of growth in a soil that’s too wet.

In fact, one of the most frequent causes of death for geraniums is over-watering.

The yellow leaves of geraniums, usually mean that the plants suffer either from the lack of water or over-watering.

This type of plants prefer growing in humid, but well-draining soil. Hence, make sure that the containers of your plants allow the excess water to leak off the vessel.

You need to adapt your watering schedule based on how well the soil retains water, the period of the year, and other factors.

Remember that you only need to water your geraniums when the soil it’s dry.

If you find it hard to estimate the proper moisture level, it’s advisable to use a moisture meter (get one from Amazon).

Buy it on Amazon

Geraniums should be watered in the morning or in the evening, not during the noontime, or when it is very hot outside.

3. Feed geraniums with fertilizer

Fertilizer for geraniums

Geraniums, especially the potted plants which were planted in a nutrient-rich soil mix, have usually low fertilization requirements. Still, if you want your geranium plants to bloom all year round you should feed them with a good fertilizer.

Potted geraniums need fertilization once every 4-6 weeks during the spring and summer, and no more than every 8 weeks in the autumn and winter. Make sure you do not exaggerate with fertilizer. Otherwise, your plants will suffer as well.

The most popular and best fertilizers for geraniums are considered to be the water-soluble fertilizers (more about best fertilizer for geraniums here).

If you want to save some money and don’t want to buy fertilizer, you can make your own fertilizer for geraniums at home using the following ingredients.


  • 1 gallon of water
  • 100 g of fresh yeast
  • 1/2 cup of sugar

In a bowl, add the yeast in warm water and mix until the yeast is completely dissolved, then add the sugar.

Place a kitchen towel over the container and let it ferment.

When the fermentation process has ended, the solution obtained is ready for use.

Water the flowers with this fertilizer once every 10 days during the spring or summer time.

This yeast fertilizer stimulates the microorganisms in the soil, increases the carbon level in the soil, and incites the plant growth.

4. Deadhead geraniums & remove yellow leaves

Deadhead Geraniums

After the blooms of the plant start to turn brown, you need to perform what it’s called a “deadhead”.

This basically means removing the past blooms, but instead of just removing the top flowers, you need to cut off from the bottom of the stem that sustains the flowers.

After the withered blooms are removed, the plant can use the nutrients in the soil more efficiently to produce new flowers.

Another thing to do in order to keep your geraniums in a good shape is to remove the yellow leaves from the plant.

Geraniums remove yellow leaves

Some leaves (especially the ones at the bottom of the plant) usually turn yellow due to the lack of light, too little water, over-watering, or a plant disease.

Besides the bad look, if you don’t remove the affected leaves, in some cases, the condition might spread to other leaves as well.

5. Protect geraniums from pests

By OliBac from FRANCE ,via Wikimedia CommonsIn general, geraniums are remarkably pest resistant and there are many pests that attack these plants. The most common pests for geraniums are caterpillars, Aphids (sometimes referred to as plant lice or greenflies), and whiteflies.

Caterpillars control

Caterpillars are one of the pests that can do the most damage to the geraniums.

Probably, the most efficient way to get rid of caterpillars is to hand pick them (I know, no one likes that, but it’s very efficient).

However, if you want to use a pesticide, you can buy a pesticide that contains Bacillus Thuricide, a naturally occurring bacteria that attacks the digestive system of caterpillars and worms after the bacteria is ingested by the host.

The pesticides based on Bacillus Thuricide it’s safe for pets and humans.

Aphids & Whiteflies control

A simple solution that you can make at home for controlling aphids is made from water and soap.


  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 tablespoon of organic soap

Spray the geraniums with the soap solution whenever you notice the presence of aphids on your plants.

6. Pinch your geraniums

Geraniums Pinching

If you want your geraniums to have a bushy look and not only a main stem, you need to pinch them.

Peaching consists in cutting off the tops of the plants when the plant is still young.

This will allow the plant to grow more ramifications from the side buds and your Geraniums will get that nice bushy look.


Even though geraniums do not require so much care and attention as other flowers, you need to know what these plants need for a healthy and vigorous growth.

I hope the tips presented in this article will help you to grow vibrant and healthy geraniums that will bloom all year long.

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