Read on for detailed information to help get your plants looking as colorful and vigorous as the photos on this website!
Sun, sun, sun! Planting your geraniums in a sunny location with a minimum night temperature of 60°F is the ideal condition for all of your geraniums. However, your geraniums will still survive in night temperatures above freezing when they are once well established. All varieties will tolerate some shade or filtered light. The Alpine geraniums do very well in intense heat and sun.Water, water, water! You must water your plants regularly, particularly in hot weather. Soil should always be moist down to the bottom of the roots. Make sure not to over-water, indicated by mucky or soggy soil. All geraniums can take some dryness, but for a limited time only. For best growth, keep geraniums moist at all times.
Fertilize, fertilize, fertilize! Fertilize your geraniums weekly since geraniums, especially Alpines, are heavy feeders. Use 15-15-15 or 20-20-20 water soluble fertilizer (1 T. fertilizer/one gallon water), or use any all purpose fertilizer (like Miracle-Gro) per instructions on label. Slow-release fertilizers (like Osmocote) are good supplements to liquid feed. Slow-release feed is used by mixing double the designated amount on instructions into soil.
How To Properly Plant Your Cuttings:
- Open your box(es) of geraniums as soon as you get them. Even if you don't plant them immediately, it's good to let them breathe.
- When working with geraniums, use the best sanitation methods possible. Wash hands with soap before handling plants. Use clean pots and clean potting mix before planting in containers. (More details in our FAQs.)
- Plant geraniums as soon after receiving them as you can in a clean, light, well-draining mix. We recommend two parts peat, one part perlite, and one part soil OR one part sterilized soil to five parts commercial potting mix. It is extremely important to add 10% to 15% of soil or clay to the mix, even if from your own garden. Take garden earth from well below “weed seed” level.
- Water your geraniums three times on the day of potting and continue frequent watering during the first week, never allowing the soil to get soggy.
Feel free to call us (888-GERANIUM) with your questions if, after checking our FAQ’s below, you can't find the information you're looking for.
- Why geraniums? Geraniums provide long-lasting, intensely vibrant color and very vigorous, healthy, growing habits. Without requiring excessive care, they'll give your garden consistent color all season long. Our cuttings are from tissue-cultured, virus and bacteria-free stock plants. Give them enough sun, fertilizer, and water and watch them grow!
- What does tissue-cultured, virus and bacteria-free mean? This refers to the process by which our providers create sterile, disease-free stock plants, a two-year process. We start with new, clean stock each year. We make every effort to maintain a sanitary environment in our own greenhouses, so when cuttings are taken from the stock plants, the geraniums we sell you are the cleanest and healthiest they can be.
- How do I create my own clean environment at home when planting my geraniums? Use new containers to plant in or make sure to scrub used containers with strong detergent and hot water or a 10% Clorox bleach solution to sterilize. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling the plants. Commercial, bagged potting soil is generally already sanitized.
- How often do I have to pinch my geraniums? What's the proper way to do it? Pinching (or breaking off) the tips of plant stems (not blossoms) is done to encourage additional growth and produce fuller plants. As a general rule, it's best to pinch "leggy," too-long stems after the plants are well-established. When pinching, take approximately 1/2" - 1" off the tip of the stem (more for extra-long stems, if needed.) This applies to all geranium varieties, except the Alpine Balcons. Because the Balcon series tend to grow very long, each stem should be pinched 1"-2" at least two times, when the stems are 10”-12" long. Don't be afraid to pinch the Balcons again later if some stems seem to be too leggy.
- What does it mean if the leaves turn yellow? Yellow leaves can be the result of either over-watering OR under-watering. The only way to determine the reason is to check your soil. If' your soil is consistently soggy, cut back on the amount of water you use each day. Conversely, if your soil is powdery and dry, make sure you water every day, thoroughly dampening the soil all the way to the roots. On very hot, sunny days, soaking the plants with lots of water is a good thing, as long as the water drains through the soil and plants don't ever sit in a puddle of water.
- What can I do if my geraniums don't flower right away? Sometimes it takes a little while for the plant to be established before it starts to form buds. Once it's been planted for a week, it's safe to fertilize. Geraniums are heavy feeders, and it's essential to fertilize often (once every one or two weeks) in order to promote flowering. While geraniums need sun and can often tolerate some shade, they must have plenty of light in order to produce flowers. Make sure they grow in open, airy spaces rather than under shaded trees. Consistent watering is also necessary for continuous, all-around growth.
- Can I "winter-over" my geraniums? While some have success with this method, we do not generally recommend it because fresh plants each spring grow much better than wintered-over plants. If you do attempt to keep your geraniums alive during the winter, rather than use the old-fashioned technique of hanging them upside down or keeping them dormant in a dark, cool space, place geraniums inside in front of a sunny window; a southern exposure works best. Keep your geraniums moist but not wet, and do not let them dry out which often happens in a heated home. Alpine geraniums can do well with this indoor, wintering method.