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Monday, 02 October 2017 15:07

Oct 3, Overwintering Geraniums - tips and methods

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Wintering Geraniums upside down in brownpaper bags


This method must be donebefore frost.

(I do it sometime mid October)


Whenusing this method it sometimes takes quite a while for the pla

nt to begin togrow, once you have planted it in the spring; so you will need to decide when you have waited long enough. 

For example……I have had plants that havetaken 5 weeks before they have shown any signs of new growth and sometimes whenI have gone to take the plants out of the bags they have already started to grow…..andsometimes when I have planted a plant it has never grown. 

Sothis method is not my preferred methodbut it does work. Probably 25% success rate.


Inthe fall before the frost remove plant as carefully as you can from the pot.

Shakeoff as much dirt as possible making sure that the roots are exposed to the air.

Removeall flowers from the plant.

Ifyou want to keep certain colours together then indicate the colour on theoutside of the brown paper bag.

Hangno more than three plants in one large bag.

Tiea string around the plant right where the roots start.

Turnthe plant (s) upside down - placing green part (flower end) inside the bag withthe roots outside the bag.

Thenclose the bag somehow around the plant (s). Sometimes I have stapled the bag a few times to ensure that the plantstays in the bag.

Hangthe bag in such a way that the roots of the geranium are out of the bag.  In other words the roots must not be insidethe bag – they must be exposed to the air.

Thenfind a cool, dry, dark place to hang the bag or bags.

**They must not freeze (mine are between 4  – 12 degrees over the winter)

**They must be hung away from light. My Mum used to hang them in a dark basementso light is not important with this method.

**About once a month go to each bag and spray the roots with water.  Give them a good spray touching all sides ofthe roots.

**The plants will begin to look like dried up sticks…this is normal.

In The Spring:

Prepareyour pots as you normally would but include fertilizer granules.  The product I use is Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed. 12-4-8.  I have used it foryears and my flowers are lovely.

Placeas many geraniums as you wish in each pot (just as you would if you wereplanting new plants)

Placethem in direct sunlight and give them a good soak of water.  Then water them about every three weeks afterthat. Do not over water them or the roots will rot.  If there is a threat of frost move the potsinto a protected area.

**I have a long cement wall between my cabin and the lake I live on.  When I am ready to plant my geraniums,  I prepare everything as I mentioned above andthen I leave my pots outside on the wall and let them get as much directsun as they can. 

I leave them on thewall until I see they are well on their way with the first bloom showing.  Onlyafter that do I start placing them in different areas around theproperty. 

Reason – I want them to getthe best start they can – and thedirect sunlight in the spring is what they need.



Wintering Geraniums in a Pot

This method must be donebefore frost.

(I do it sometime mid October) 

This is my preferred methodof winterizing. 

From my experience plantsthat are in bigger pots do better than the ones that are in smaller pots.  The reason being is because smaller pots needto be watered more often. 

So if you havepots that have only one geranium in them - water them once a month. 

Largepots with two or three geraniums in them can be watered approximately 3 timesfrom October to April.

Don’t over water!! Or the plants will rot. 

I winter about 45-50 plants(smile) so the larger quantity is reflected in my instructions. 

Preparing my plants for thewinter is always a very sad day for me. It just doesn’t seem right that I am putting them away in the basementwhen they are absolutelygorgeous!!  But in order tosave them I have to prepare them well before any hint of frost.


Carry all pots close to whereyou are going to store them. 

This isbest done outside as there is quite a bit of plant debris to be removed.  I also stop watering my pots a week or twobefore I plan to winterize them…..that way they are not so heavy to carrywhen the time comes to prepare them for the winter.

Have a garbage bag readyfor all the flowers etc. you are going to remove.

If there are any visibleaphids you will want to remove them.  (readinstructions below)

Label the pots so that youknow what colour geranium is in the pot. 

Note: I have leftgeraniums in their original pots and sometimes I have taken them out of one pot and put them inanother one. (Reason - I have large barrels so I need to take the geraniumsout of them and put them into something smaller.) 

If you are taking  geraniums out of one pot and putting it intoanother – just prepare the new pot and then when you take the geranium out ofthe old pot try to keep as much of the original dirt around the roots aspossible.   

Remove all flowers and any budsthat might not yet have opened.

Now – carry your pots towhere you are going to store them over the winter.  I have a basement with minimal heat and theylove it there.  I also kept one plant inmy entrance way that has no heat register but there is light, and I have kept afew in my kitchen.  So depending on howmany plants you have will determine where you plan to store them over thewinter.

Place your pots in a lightedarea.  Plants do not need direct sunlightbut they do need light.

The plants should be placedin an area where the temperature is between 4 – 12 degrees. (they do best whenthey are in a cool place but you can keep them in your house – they just getvery spindly )

Give each plant a good drinkof water so that it runs right through the pot.

From November to April I giveeach large pot water 3 times and smaller pots with only one geranium I wateronce a month.  ** Remember don’toverwater or the roots will rot.

You will be surprised at howgreen the plants remain and also that they may even continue to bloom.  The ones that I keep in my basement bloom allwinter. 

In the spring when it is frostfree carry each pot outside and placeit in direct sunlight.

Give the plants water so itruns right through.

Take each plant and cut itback so that only 4” of plant remains.  Everythingelse gets cut away and all you have is the base of the plant remaining.

Each pot needs the top of thesoil turned or worked so that you can add  Miracle-GroShake ‘n Feed  12-4-8.  

You may also need to add additionalpotting soil so that the plants do not dry out as quickly over the summer. Also,over the winter the soil tends to settle in the pot so make sure you loosen thesoil as deeply as you can without disturbing the roots. 

Because the temperature isstill cool they don’t need a lot of watering so monitor watering yourself.  I probably water every 3 weeks – just dependson the weather.

AsI mentioned in the brown bag method *above* I have a long cement wall between mycabin, and the lake I live on. 

When I amready to plant my geraniums I prepare everything as I mentioned above and thenI leave my pots outside on the wall and let them get as much sun as theycan.  I leave them on the wall until Isee they are well on their way with the first bloom showing. 

Only after that do I start placing them indifferent areas around the property. Reason – I want them to get the best start they can – and the direct sunlight in the spring is whatthey need.

Note:  These plants will not bloom as quickly as theones you buy so be patient – when they do grow they are very strong and healthyand it is so rewarding to see them come back to life.

Hurrayyou did it – now you will feel a real sense of accomplishment when they startblooming. 

Aphid treatment – I have used soap and water on my plants but it is notfool proof. 

Aphids are asexual whichmeans that you only need one aphid to reproduce more aphids so using the soapand water method is really a shot in the dark because all you need to do ismiss one aphid and you have the same problem. So a method I use is a follows:

Take your plant outside. 

Get your garden hose and turn it on. 

Hold your hand at the back of the plant sowhen you are spraying the stock you do not bend it. 

Spray the water on the plant with as muchforce as you can from all angles. So in fact you are spraying with full forcewater through the plant blastingeach stock where the aphids might be. 

Overthe winter some of my plants got aphids on them – so this past spring I didthis when I first put the plants outside, after I cut them back to 4”high. 

Then a week later I did itagain.  I never saw another aphid afterthat.  However keep your eyes open –remember all it takes is one aphid.

If you have aphids on yourplants in the fall,  I would do the samething. 

Blast them with water fullforce.  Reason - the last thing you wantis aphids on your other indoor plants. 

So if you are going to be bringing your geranium near other plantsperhaps have a little “incubation” area where you can watch them for a fewweeks.  If they have aphids on them, youeither spray them or throw them away. The last thing you want is aphids on anyof your other plants.

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