Geraniums are fragile and delicate perennial plants. If you live in USDA zones 7 or lower, it is very important that you take care of the flowers during winters. Many gardeners are not aware that geraniums can survive for three seasons. This may be because plants exposed to the chilling and frosty winters tend to die. There are a few simple and easy methods related to winter care for geraniums. This will help you save your plants in winter and reduce the cost of buying new plants the following year.
How to Save Geraniums Over the Winter Season
Pelargonium or geraniums are one of the favorite flowering plants for many gardeners. These plants continue to bloom beautiful flowers at all times and survive three seasons (perennial). Geranium care is pretty simple and easy. However, if they are grown in cold winter regions, they require winter care or they will perish. They can survive a light frost, but will die if you leave them out on a hard frost day. Geranium care in winter is very easy and there are three different ways that you can try to keep your plants alive over winter. Let us have a look at the three different methods of winter care for geranium.
Of the three methods to care for these flowers, you can try the cutting method. This is an easy way that will help you save your favorite plant over winter. All you need to do is cut 4 to 6 inches long cuttings of the geraniums in fall before the frost. These cuttings are known as 'slips'. You should cut the healthiest stem and remove the leaves from 2 inches above the cutting. Dip the stem in a root hormone powder to initiate quick rooting. This slip needs to be planted in a well-drained potting soil. Place the slip about 2 inches deep and water it properly. Then place your pot in an area within your house that receives maximum, indirect sunlight. Within 2 to 6 weeks the cuttings will have roots. You can replant these rooted cuttings in individual pots. Once the weather is warm outdoors, you can place the pots outside.
If you have grown geraniums in pots, you need to move these pots indoors. You need to prune the geraniums about ½ or ⅓ of their size. They won't mind it and will grow back vigorously next season. Place these plants in a warm area of the house, preferably near a sunny window or under an artificial light. Whenever you find the soil dry, water the indoor plants. Pinch them once in a while to initiate branching.
The bare root method is one of the most widely used winter care for geranium. You need to dig out your geraniums and very gently shake off the soil over the roots. Then, you need to hang your plants upside down in a cool, dry place. Do hang them in a basement that is too warm and has high humidity. Water your geranium roots regularly. You need to place the roots in water for 1 to 2 hours occasionally to keep them moist and cool. If they dry out, your plant is dead. Do not worry if most of the roots fall off. In spring, you need to prune the plant and plant the geraniums in soil outdoors or pots. Water them thoroughly and within a few days you will observe healthy green stems and leaves emerging.
If you do not want the mess of the leaves around the house, you can try the paper bag method. You need to dig out your geraniums and shake off the soil from the roots. Then, place these plants in a paper bag and store them in a cool, dry place (45 to 50° F). You need to remove your plants once a month from the paper bag and place them in a tub full of water for about 1 to 2 hours. Most of the leaves must have fallen off in the bag. This is why this is kind of non-messy method. Then, place the plant back into the bag. Once spring arrives, you can remove the plant around mid-March. Remove all the dead and shriveled parts. The hard, green and healthy stems should not be cut. Place the plants in a container or pot or place them in outdoor soil. Soon, the green stems will start growing new shoots and by May you will see your plants flourish.
This was all about how to save geraniums over the winter. You can try the above methods for ivy geranium flowers. A bit of geranium care will help you save your beautiful plants. Hope the above methods on winter care for geraniums helps you take good gardening care for your favorite flowering plants.