How To Grow & Care For Beautiful Geraniums

Geraniums are a delightful addition to any garden, offering vibrant colors and a lovely fragrance. In this post, I’ll cover everything about how to grow and care for geraniums. With tips about choosing the right type of geranium, as well as essential growing tips and mistakes to avoid, your garden will flourish with beautiful geraniums in no time!

How to grow and care for geraniums.YayImages

Popular Types of Geraniums

Let’s explore some of the most popular varieties of geranium plants you might want to consider for adding some color to your garden:

Zonal Geraniums

Red zonal geranium flowers.YayImages

Zonal geraniums (Pelargonium zonale) are perhaps the most common type you’ll find in home gardens. Known for their distinct band of color on the leaves, these geraniums come in a wide array of hues, from deep reds to soft pinks. 

They thrive in sunny spots and well-draining soil, making them ideal for garden beds and containers.

Ivy Geraniums

Ivy geranium with red flowers.YayImages

Ivy geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum) are perfect for hanging baskets and window boxes. Their trailing habit and delicate, ivy-like leaves create a cascading effect, adorned with clusters of vibrant flowers. 

These geraniums prefer a bit more shade than their zonal counterparts, making them versatile for various garden settings.

Scented-leaf Geraniums

Closeup image of sweet scented leaf geranium plant with pink flowers.YayImages

Scented-leaf geraniums are prized not just for their flowers but for their aromatic foliage. The leaves can emit fragrances ranging from minty and fruity to spicy and rose-like. 

These geraniums are excellent for adding sensory interest to your garden and can even be used in culinary and craft projects.

Regal Geraniums

Beautiful and Scented Regal Geranium plant in the garden in SpringYayImages

Regal geraniums, also known as Martha Washington geraniums, are known for their large, showy blooms and crinkled leaves. 

They prefer cooler temperatures and a bit more attention to watering and feeding, but the reward is a spectacular display of flowers in rich, royal colors.

How To Grow & Care For Geraniums

Now that you have an idea of what types of geraniums you may want to plant, here are some essential tips to grow and care for geraniums to make sure that they thrive:

1. Plant in a Sunny Spot

Geraniums growing in a flower garden container outside in the sun.YayImages

Selecting the right location is crucial for the success of your geraniums. Choose a spot that receives at least six hours of sunlight daily, ensuring optimal growth and abundant blooms. 

Geraniums thrive in bright, sunny locations, so be sure to provide them with ample sunlight to fuel their growth and flower production.

Check out our list of 27 Best Full Sun Perennials For Your Sunny Garden to find other sun-loving plants to plant with them!

2. Use Well-Draining Soil

Gardening activity, replanting geraniums on the balcony; the hands of a woman with gloves who has just replanted a potted geranium.YayImages

Geraniums are susceptible to root rot if planted in soil that retains too much moisture. To prevent this, use a well-draining soil mix that allows excess water to escape freely.

Incorporating perlite or sand into your soil mixture can improve drainage, ensuring your geraniums’ roots stay healthy and disease-free.

3. Water When the Soil Is Dry

Man watering geranium plants to care for themYayImages

Consistent watering is essential for geraniums, but it’s equally important not to overwater them. Wait until the top inch of soil feels dry before watering, then water thoroughly until the soil is evenly moist. 

Avoid letting your geraniums sit in waterlogged soil, as this can lead to root rot and other moisture-related issues.

4. Use a Balanced Fertilizer

Geranium bushes with bright flowers.YayImages

Feeding your geraniums with a balanced fertilizer provides them with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and abundant flowering. 

Choose a fertilizer specifically formulated for flowering plants and apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Regular fertilization throughout the growing season will ensure your geraniums remain vigorous and vibrant.

5. Remove Spent Blooms

Woman caring for geranium by picking off the dead flowers.YayImages

Deadheading, or removing spent blooms, is essential for prolonging the flowering period of your geraniums. 

Regularly inspect your plants for faded flowers and pinch them off at the base to encourage the development of new blooms. This not only keeps your geraniums looking neat and tidy but also stimulates continuous flowering throughout the season.

6. Trim Leggy Stems

Woman pruning geranium plants.YayImages

Pruning leggy stems helps maintain the compact shape of your geraniums and encourages bushier growth. 

Use sharp pruning shears to trim back any long, spindly stems, making cuts just above a leaf node. This will redirect the plant’s energy into producing new growth, resulting in a fuller, more robust plant.

7. Inspect for Pests

Closeup image of many small black aphid bugs on a plant leaf in nature. Aphids on plants.YayImages

Regular pest monitoring is essential for keeping your geraniums healthy and pest-free. Look out for common pests such as aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies, especially during warm, dry weather when pest populations are most active.

If you spot any pests, treat them promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil to prevent infestations from spreading.

8. Protect from Frost

Geranium flowering plant in a pot on a windowsill indoors.YayImages

Geraniums are sensitive to frost and can be damaged or killed by freezing temperatures. If you live in a region prone to frost, take precautions to protect your geraniums by covering them with frost cloth or bringing them indoors during cold spells. This will help ensure they survive the winter months unscathed.

9. Prevent Diseases

Closeup image of pink geranium flowers.YayImages

Good garden hygiene and proper care practices can help prevent common diseases on geraniums such as powdery mildew and botrytis blight.

Avoid overhead watering, which can promote fungal growth, and ensure adequate air circulation around your plants by spacing them appropriately. If disease does occur, treat it promptly with fungicides or other appropriate remedies to prevent it from spreading.

10. Repot When Needed

Woman repotting a geranium plant. Geranium care.YayImages

Geraniums appreciate being repotted every couple of years to refresh their soil and provide them with additional space to grow.

Choose a slightly larger pot than their current one and use fresh potting mix with good drainage. Repotting your geraniums regularly will help keep them healthy and vigorous, ensuring they continue to thrive year after year.

11. Apply a Light Layer of Mulch

Gardening activity, replanting geraniums on the balcony; the hands of a woman with gloves who has just replanted a potted geranium.YayImages

Mulching around your geraniums helps conserve soil moisture, suppress weed growth, and regulate soil temperature, creating optimal growing conditions for your plants.

Apply a light layer of organic mulch such as shredded bark or straw around the base of your geraniums, taking care not to mound it against the stems. This will help maintain soil moisture levels and keep your plants happy and healthy.

12. Keep at a Moderate Temperature

Beautiful Pelargonium zonale plant, common geranium, in the garden.YayImages

Geraniums thrive in moderate temperatures and can suffer if exposed to extreme heat or cold. Aim to keep your plants in a temperature range of 65°F to 75°F during the day and slightly cooler at night.

If temperatures are expected to drop below freezing, take precautions to protect your geraniums by bringing them indoors or covering them with frost cloth.

Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Geraniums

Now that we’ve determined the best ways to grow and care for healthy geraniums, let’s take a look at what not to do:

1. Overwatering

A hose watering a geranium plant with red flowers in the garden.YayImages

One of the most common mistakes when growing geraniums is overwatering. While geraniums appreciate regular watering, they don’t like to sit in soggy soil. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings to prevent root rot and other moisture-related problems.

To save an overwatered plant, read our guide: How To Dry Out Overwatered Soil.

2. Poor Drainage

Geranium plant growing in a bright green metal tin.YayImages

Geraniums require well-draining soil to thrive, so it’s crucial to ensure your pots or garden beds have adequate drainage. If water tends to pool around your geraniums’ roots, consider repotting them into containers with drainage holes or amending your garden soil with organic matter to improve drainage.

3. Insufficient Sunlight

Geraniums flowering in a basket on a patio.YayImages

Geraniums are sun-loving plants and require ample sunlight to thrive. If your geraniums aren’t blooming as profusely as expected, it could be due to insufficient light.

Make sure they’re placed in a spot that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight per day to promote healthy growth and abundant flowering.

Instead of planting geraniums in shaded areas, consider using one of the plants in our list here instead: 37 Beautiful Shade Perennials To Plant In Your Shaded Garden

4. Using Heavy Soil

Gardening activity, replanting geraniums on the balcony; the hands of a woman with gloves who has just replanted a potted geranium.YayImages

Heavy, compacted soil can suffocate geranium roots and lead to waterlogging, which can cause root rot. To ensure optimal growth, use a well-draining soil mix that’s light and airy.

Incorporating perlite or sand into your soil mixture can improve drainage and prevent water from pooling around the roots.

5. Over-Fertilizing

Farmer in a nitrile glove is holding a can and a spoon with chemical fertilizer for a young plant on the black background. Plant fertilizing at the beginning of their growth. Top view.YayImages

While geraniums benefit from regular feeding during the growing season, it’s essential not to overdo it. Excessive fertilization can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of flowers.

Follow the recommended dosage on your fertilizer package and avoid applying fertilizer more frequently than necessary to prevent nutrient imbalances.

6. Neglecting Pruning

Crates of red blooming geraniums adorn the windowsill of an outdoor cafe.YayImages

Pruning is essential for maintaining the shape and vigor of your geraniums. Failure to prune regularly can result in leggy, unattractive plants with reduced flowering.

Be sure to trim back spent blooms and prune leggy stems throughout the growing season to encourage bushy growth and continuous flowering.

7. Ignoring Pest Problems

Spider mites on a tomato plant leavesiStock

Pest infestations can quickly damage your geraniums if left untreated. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests such as aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies, and take appropriate action if you detect any.

Using insecticidal soap or neem oil can help control pest populations without harming beneficial insects or pollinators.

8. Exposing to Frost

Geranium plant covered with snow in a frost.YayImages

Geraniums are not cold-hardy plants and can be damaged or killed by frost. If you live in a region with freezing temperatures, take steps to protect your geraniums from frost damage.

Cover them with frost cloths or bring them indoors during cold spells to ensure they survive the winter unscathed.

9. Ignoring Diseases

Woman hand holding cutting yellow leaf of blooming geranium damaged because of hotness and drought on white background.YayImages

Diseases such as powdery mildew and botrytis blight can affect geraniums, especially in humid or wet conditions. Keep an eye out for signs of disease, such as yellowing leaves, moldy patches, or wilting, and take prompt action if you notice any symptoms.

Using fungicides or other appropriate remedies can help control the spread of disease and protect your plants’ health.

10. Skipping Repotting

Woman replants purchased houseplant flower pelargonium in larger pot, closeup of earthen lump with roots. Cultivation and caring for indoor potted plants. Hobbies and leisure, home gardening.YayImages

As geraniums grow, they’ll eventually outgrow their pots and become root-bound. Neglecting to repot them into larger containers can restrict root growth and lead to nutrient deficiencies.

Keep an eye on your geraniums’ root systems and repot them into slightly larger pots as needed to ensure they have enough room to grow and thrive.

11. Neglecting Winter Care

Geranium covered in water droplets.YayImages

Geraniums require special care during the winter months, especially if you live in a cold climate. Bring potted geraniums indoors before the first frost, or dig up outdoor plants and overwinter them indoors.

Make sure to provide them with adequate light, water, and temperature conditions to ensure they survive until spring.

12. Overcrowding

Colorful red and pink geranium pots background.YayImages

Planting your geraniums too close together can lead to overcrowding, which can inhibit airflow and promote disease.

Make sure to space your plants appropriately to allow for good air circulation and prevent overcrowding. This will help keep your geraniums healthy and thriving throughout the growing season.

How to propagate geraniums in small containers.YayImages

How to Propagate Geraniums

Once your geraniums are healthy and thriving, you can propagate them to create more plants.

To propagate geraniums, follow these steps:

1. Gather your Tools: Get your tools ready and disinfect them to avoid spreading diseases. You’ll need sharp scissors or pruning shears.

2. Select a Parent Plant: Choose a healthy geranium with strong stems and vibrant foliage.

3. Take Cuttings: Cut 4-6 inch sections from the tips of healthy, non-flowering stems, making each cut just below a leaf node.

4. Remove the Lower Leaves: Strip off the lower leaves, leaving only the top few sets of leaves.

5. Plant the Cuttings: Insert the cuttings into a pot filled with moist, well-draining potting mix, burying them about halfway.

6. Water Thoroughly: Water the cuttings well to settle the soil and remove air pockets.

7. Place in a Warm, Bright Location: Place the pot in a warm area with indirect sunlight.

8. Maintain Moisture: Keep the soil consistently moist and mist the foliage occasionally.

9. Monitor Growth: Watch for signs of new growth, which means the cuttings have rooted. This can take a few weeks.

10. Transplant the Cuttings: Once roots are established and new growth appears, transplant the cuttings into individual pots or your garden.

11. Acclimate the Plants: Gradually expose the new plants to more sunlight and reduce watering frequency to help them adjust to their new environment.

Red geraniums hanging in the pots at a flower shop.YayImages

Conclusion

Growing geraniums can be an amazing way to add color and fragrance to your garden. By following these tips to grow and care for geraniums, you’ll ensure your plants thrive and provide you with beautiful blooms throughout the growing season. Whether you’re planting, propagating, or simply enjoying their beauty, geraniums are a versatile and rewarding choice for any gardener.

24 most important geranium care tips you need to know.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top