Spring has officially sprung! Begin planning your garden now so you’re ready for when the frost is gone for good. If you’ve never thought of planting geraniums, consider adding them to your garden this year, as they’re beautiful with low maintenance. The classic geranium loves hot weather, holds up well in dry conditions and brightens the garden with a variety of colours. No wonder it’s been a favourite in gardens for years! With this guide, we can help you from the beginning of your planting season through to the winter.
Annuals vs. Perennials
Did you know there are both annual and perennial geraniums ?
If you enjoy a bright burst of colour all summer, then an annual geranium is for you. Annuals are considerably less expensive than perennials and don’t limit you to the same flowers every year. These plants require several hours of sun but are generally resistant to drought and grow in varying colours and heights.
The perennial geranium is often considered a true, or hardy, plant and is very different from an annual. They grow back every season for several years making them low maintenance once planted. Perennials thrive in sun or partial shade, come in a variety of colours and can grow up to 60 cm tall.
Choosing Your Geranium
When choosing your geranium, consider your yard and environment. If your garden doesn’t get a lot of sun, a perennial Cranesbill may be a better choice as they can grow in partial shade. Colour choices include white, pinks, blues and vivid purples.
The annual trailing ivy geranium and annual common geranium thrive in the sun and have a long growing season. Ivy geraniums grow well in hanging baskets and mixed planters while common geraniums are more suitable as a bedding plant.
When choosing your geranium, the leaves, colour and size can tell you the health of the plant. A healthy geranium will have sturdy stems and no leaf discolouration. Obvious signs of pests and plant damage are ones to avoid.
Planting – In Gardens and Containers
Geraniums are easy to take care of and adapt to the seasons and their surroundings. When planting in a garden, set the flower in porous soil to provide good drainage. Apply a rich, soluble fertilizer every two to three weeks and water the base of the plant when the soil is dry. The best time to plant your geranium is after the last frost of winter. And don’t forget to space them out at least 18 inches apart to avoid overcrowding.
If planting in a container , there will be restriction in root growth. We recommend a well-enriched soil. Containers can dry out quicker, so we encourage you to keep an eye on the soil and water your geraniums when the surface soil is dry.
Caring for Geraniums
Don’t overwater! Geraniums thrive when they are allowed time to dry between watering. Fertilize during active growing months with a water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks.
If planting in a pot, use a soil-less potting mixture instead of dirt. Ensure there are drainage holes in the pot to avoid root rot, and do not use a saucer beneath the pot unless filled with pebbles.
To promote bushiness, pinch your geranium stems in early spring. Once the geranium is a few inches tall, snip or pinch one-quarter to one-half an inch off the end of each stem. This will force the geranium to sprout two new stems off the original, leading to a fuller plant.
Prune your geraniums in the late fall or just before you bring them indoors. Remove all the dead, brown leaves and blooms. If the geranium stem still feels firm, it’s healthy.
Home Décor Ideas
Now that you have beautiful geraniums, consider cutting a few to bring indoors!
There are several different ways you can use geraniums to decorate your home:
- Geranium flowers in a glass make for a beautiful addition to your table. Put a bit of water in a glass and arrange your favourite colours.
- Perk up each place setting with napkin rings featuring a single bloom.
- Instead of choosing a variety of coloured geraniums, consider changing the water colour! Arrange white geraniums into several separate vases, and use food colouring to make the water in each of the vases a different colour.
- Broken or wilting geranium blooms can be brought back to life in a shallow glass, bowl or birdbath filled with water.
Keep your garden blooming and colourful with the geranium that is best for you! Happy planting!