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How to keep geraniums over winter?

Want to learn how to keep geraniums over winter? It is a highly useful skill for a gardener to have since it helps you to save money and extends the life of geranium kinds that you are especially fond of.

Geraniums, also known as pelargoniums, are plants that are essential for a summer garden. Geraniums are ideal for giving brightness and color that lasts a long time to hanging baskets, pots, and borders since they are available in a wide variety of hues, and they will continue to blossom as long as the spent flowers are removed from the plant.

However, as you are making your to-do list, you should keep them in mind as one of the winter garden ideas you might implement.

When it comes to plants that cannot tolerate frost, making preparations for a winter garden is of the utmost importance. Geraniums are perennial plants that put on a lengthy show; however, they are frost fragile, which means that they will not survive hard winters. If you want to grow geraniums, it is essential that you learn how to overwinter geraniums properly in order to ensure their survival.

Geranium over winter

Geraniums

Geraniums are a kind of plant that is native to South Africa. They thrive in warm temperatures and can survive in dry conditions with just a little amount of water.

Geraniums, also known as pelargoniums, are tough in USDA zones 9-12 in conditions from 20 degrees Fahrenheit to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and they are able to live in zone 7 to temperatures of -12 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius if they are covered.

They are able to withstand light frosts, which are temperatures slightly below freezing, but they will perish if they are exposed to temperatures below freezing for an extended period of time. For this reason, they need to be sheltered when the temperature drops below freezing.

“The Pelargonium group is quite diversified and has a wide variety of growth forms, all of which are categorized as delicate perennials.” This indicates that they are not frost-resistant due to the fact that the bulk of the founding species originates from the warmer regions of the Southern Hemisphere.

They may live for many years since they are perennial, but in the UK, they must be sheltered from both frost and the winter wet and damp.


How to keep geraniums over winter?

  • Bright the pot inside
  • Take cuttings
  • Cut plants back
  • Reduce watering
  • Store in cold
  • Store bare roots

Bright the pot inside

Bring your potted geraniums into your home for the winter if you have enough space for the pots and a sunny position outside.

Even though they need sunlight, they thrive at temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit (12 and 18 degrees Celsius). A window that faces west and has a little amount of draftiness works very well for me to keep the air surrounding those windows a little bit cooler than it is in the rest of the home.

Take cuttings

It is also possible to take cuttings from the plant rather than taking the whole thing inside for the winter. If you want more plants but have a limited amount of room inside, this is a nice idea to consider.

Reduce watering

While the geraniums are protected from the elements, it is preferable to maintain them in a semi-dormant condition. This means that they should not be fertilized and should get less water. Put them in a location where they will get some shade and water them once every two to three weeks while maintaining a relative humidity of around 50 percent. According to Emily Fernandes, a consultant at HouseGrail, “Like the majority of other plants, they fall dormant over the winter in order to save their energy for the growing season” (opens in new tab).

Store bare roots

This well-known approach has been used for many years by people all across the world. You will need access to a garage, cold cellar, shed, or unheated basement with temperatures that do not go below freezing or exceed 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

The process of removing the plant from the soil, doing any necessary pruning, and then putting it into storage is what gives rise to the term “bare root” storage. Because pelargoniums have deep, succulent roots, they are able to withstand this condition. However, it is important to ensure that the roots do not get sick or dry out.


Can I overwinter geraniums in unheated greenhouses?

Because geraniums require just to be protected from frost, it is a highly cost-effective strategy to overwinter them in a greenhouse. However, we do advise making use of a heater in order to keep the temperature from falling below freezing. If your heater has a thermostat, set it to 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit). In the event that the plant’s stems get frozen, the plant will expire and not recover! In addition to being ideal locations to store your sensitive geraniums over the winter, porches, sunrooms, and conservatories are all great options.

Also Read: Can lavender Survive winter


Overwintering geraniums as cuttings

Geranium

It is a good idea to give this strategy a go if you have a little amount of space available on a sunny windowsill or if you are concerned that bringing your whole potted plant inside may potentially bring in unwanted insects. It is also an effective method for producing more geranium than the ones that you already own.

In order to take cuttings, you will need to have:

  • A knife with a good edge.
  • Rooting hormone may be purchased online, at most garden centers and hardware shops, and even in some grocery stores.
  • Use little pots made of plastic or terra cotta, or reuse a takeaway container for roasted chicken that has a transparent dome top.
  • In the event that you do not consume chicken, clear plastic bags may be used to create a tent over the pots.
  • Media for rooted plants that drain well, such as perlite, vermiculite, or coarse sand.

Here are the steps:

  • Use Knife to make a cutting and remove 3 to 4 inches of stem material from the very tip of the plant. Remove the majority of the leaves, keeping just a few that are close to the stem. After dipping the end of the stem into the rooting hormone, place it in the container that contains the rooting medium that has been moistened. Put it far enough so that it can sustain itself on its own.
  • After you have planted all of your cuttings, make a little greenhouse by draping transparent plastic bags over the pots and attaching them with rubber bands, or by placing the lid back on the takeout container. Put them somewhere that gets strong light but not direct sunlight, such as next to a window that gets plenty of daylight. Be careful to check on your cuttings on a regular basis to ensure that the soil maintains a uniform level of moisture.
  • Approximately six to eight weeks after they were taken, the cuttings should have begun to grow roots. Once the cuttings have reached a length of at least one inch, they should be transplanted into pots of three to four inches in diameter that are filled with regular potting soil and then placed in full sunlight.
  • When they have reached the size of geraniums that can be purchased at the shop and all danger of frost has gone, it is okay to plant them outside in the ground.
  • If you follow these guidelines, you will be able to enjoy a beautiful supply of geraniums year after year.

How to overwinter geraniums in bare-root form? 

how to overwinter geraniums in bare-root form

To successfully overwinter geraniums using this approach, you will need a dark, dry location that maintains a temperature of around 50 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the winter.

Step 1: You need to pull up your geranium before it frosts and shake the dirt off of the roots. Before you put the plant away, let it stay out in the open and dry for a few days to kill any mold that may be present. Before moving on to the following stage, make sure the roots are completely dry.

Step 2: Put the roots in a cool, dry place that never falls below 45 degrees Fahrenheit all during the winter. Geranium roots may be stored successfully at a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

You are able to keep them by:

  • Hanging the plants in an inverted position from the ceiling rafters has been used.
  • Placing them on a shelf after wrapping them in a newspaper or placing them in a paper bag.
  • Put them inside a box made of cardboard.

Step 3: Check if the roots are not getting Mold, black leaves, or fragile stems roughly once a month. Take care to cut away any roots or plant parts that seem to be diseased. The majority of the stems should remain sturdy throughout the winter. If they are showing signs of becoming too wilted, soak them in water for a while, then let them dry out completely before putting them away.

Step 4: Revive your geraniums about six weeks before the latest frost date by giving them a good washing, chopping the stems back to healthy green growth, and replanting them in new potting soil. Plant the stems two nodes deep; here is where the new roots will develop. Once you see new growth on the plants, which should happen within one to two weeks, return the soil to a wet state and continue to water the plants until they are mature enough to be replanted outdoors.

Also Read: How to overwinter Mexican petunias


FAQ

Can I keep geraniums in pots over winter?

Yes, you can keep geraniums in pots over winter. A window that faces west and has an airflow would be a great location to overwinter your potted geranium.

Should you cut back geraniums for winter?

Cutting back geraniums in winter will cause the plant to enter a state of dormancy which helps them to store energy for the next spring.

How long do potted geraniums last?

Geraniums have a life expectancy of around two years on average, and while they may live much longer than that, they have a tendency to become woody and their flowers become less abundant as they mature.