Geraniums are gorgeous in the spring and summer, and if you live in a warm climate, these semi-tropical perennials can survive and thrive outdoors all year round.
If you live in an area where temperatures drop below freezing, you can keep geraniums as annuals or take steps to overwinter them indoors.
You can do this by taking cuttings, keeping them as houseplants, or keeping full plants in a dormant state.
In this article, we tell you how.
Taking Cuttings To Preserve Your Geranium Plants
If you don’t have room for multiple large plants indoors during the winter, you can still preserve, and even increase, your plants by taking cuttings and propagating them during the wintertime.
You can root your cuttings in individual pots or one large planter as space allows.
Follow these 10 steps to grow geraniums from cuttings so that you’ll have plenty of pretty new plants in the springtime.
1. Use a clean, sharp implement to take cuttings that are about three or four inches long.
Remove the lower leaves from each cutting, as well as any flowers.
Leave a couple of healthy leaves at the tip of the cutting.
2. Dip the ends of the cuttings into rooting hormone or honey.
3. Use containers that have good drainage.
Fill them with a light, airy, well-draining media (e.g. vermiculite, perlite, or coarse sand).
4. Moisten the planting media and poke holes in it to receive the cuttings.
5. Put the cuttings in the holes and firm the planting media around them.
6. Place your cuttings in an area that is consistently warm and receives ample bright, indirect sunlight.
7. You may wish to place a clear plastic bag lightly over the plants to help retain moisture and improve humidity levels.
8. Maintain the rooting media at a moderate moisture level.
It should never be soggy, and it should never dry out.
9. Within a couple of months, your cuttings should take root and begin to show new leaf growth.
At this point, you can plant them into 3” to 4” inches pots using a good quality, well-draining commercial potting mix.
10. Place the young plants in a sunny location and care for them as you would mature plants brought indoors for the winter.
Grow Geraniums As Houseplants In Winter
It’s easy to pot your garden geraniums and bring them indoors for the winter.
Follow these 8 simple steps:
1. In late autumn, give your geraniums a good pruning before the first frost.
Remove any diseased or damaged leaves and stems.
You should reduce the size of the plant by about half.
2. Check for, and deal with, insect pest infestation.
3. Give the plants a few days to rest, and then dig them up and put them into containers using a good quality, well-draining commercial container mix.
Don’t use garden soil because it is heavy and doesn’t drain well enough for container use.
4. Choose a brightly lit, cool location for your indoor geraniums.
They should receive lots of direct sunlight, but they shouldn’t stay so warm that they continue to grow actively through the winter. They need a rest.
5. Give your plants a thorough, initial watering, and then use the soak and dry method of watering through the winter.
6. Discourage active growth through the winter by pinching off tips and buds as they appear.
If you allow them to grow, the new growth will be weak, and the plant will become leggy.
7. Early in the springtime, when the weather begins to warm, provide a light feeding of a standard houseplant fertilizer to give your plants a jump start on warm-weather growth.
8. After all the danger of frost has passed, begin transitioning your plants to their outdoor setting.
10 Tips For Keeping Geraniums In Dormant Storage
If you just don’t have room to keep your geraniums as houseplants during the winter, you can store them in a dormant state in a cool, dry place like a basement.
Because they have succulent stems, they can survive long periods without water during cool weather.
Follow these steps to store your geraniums in a dormant state:
1. Dig up your geraniums and/or remove them from outdoor containers.
2. Shake excess soil off the roots.
3. Put the plants inside paper bags or cardboard boxes upside-down.
Alternately, you can hang them upside down in a dark, cool, dry place.
Either way, the ideal winter temperature is 45° to 50° degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Check on your plants a few times throughout the winter months.
They may need a bit of water.
Some gardeners provide this by soaking the roots for an hour or two a couple of times.
Others provide it by misting the roots lightly every week.
5. If you see that your plants’ stems are shriveled, it’s a sign the plant has died.
Go ahead and discard these plants.
Don’t worry that the leaves die. That’s to be expected.
As long as the stems are plumpish and green, the plant will be alright.
6. Early in the springtime, remove them from storage and trim away any dead or shriveled stems.
7. Pot them up in containers with good drainage, using a light, airy potting mix.
8. Water well, and place the plants in a warm, sunny window.
9. Use soak and dry watering, and otherwise care for them just as you would geraniums kept as houseplants.
10. You should see new growth within two or three weeks.