Geraniums, Saving Over the Winter
Before a killing frost, many gardeners save their geraniums by bringing them indoors. Some people grow them as houseplants. Others let them go dormant, storing them in a basement or cellar. Zonal, scented, and ivy geraniums can be overwintered indoors. Here is the procedure for saving them year after year.
To store them dormant, dig them before a killing frost. Remove excess soil from the roots and cut about half of the top growth off. Store them separately in paper bags or potato sacks in a cool basement or cellar. Humidity level is the key to storage. Warm dry conditions will dry them out, so check them monthly. Soaking them periodically in water for several hours will ensure that they donít dry out. Repot them in the spring.
If you have bright light in your home, you can continue to grow your geraniums throughout the winter. They need a relatively cool location (60-75 degrees) with bright light. Tip cuttings (about three inches long) can also be taken before a freeze. Using pruning shears or scissors, cut individual stems from the geranium. Remove the lower leaves from each cutting and dip them in a rooting hormone powder. Let the cuttings dry out for at least a day. Tip cuttings may be rooted in coarse sand, perlite, or vermiculite. You may also plant them directly into a well drained potting soil. Water them thoroughly, and place them near a bright window or under artificial lights. Once roots have formed, they can be transplanted into individual pots and cared for as regular houseplants. Fertilize them on a monthly basis as new growth appears.
The easiest method to save geraniums is to bring your best potted plants indoors. Before they are brought inside, cut about half of the top growth off. Check them for insects, looking at the underside of the leaves for signs of insect damage. Put them in a cool, bright location for the winter months. Water them regularly as needed.
When danger of frost is gone, you may take your geraniums outdoors. Begin biweekly fertilizer applications with a water soluble fertilizer. Repot your saved geraniums as needed.