Geranium (Properly Pelargonium)

Geraniums, more properly known as pelargoniums are common and easy to grow flowers that are a favourite in gardens and as house pot-plants due to their colourful and cheerful blooms. They are very easy to grow and take very little effort.

Growing geraniums:

Geraniums grow best in fertile soil that is neutral to alkaline. Most varieties prefer full sun though they will tolerate some shade. Some cultivars do better in a little bit of shade. Whether you are growing in pots or in a garden bed, be sure to avoid over-watering. The plants require a moderate amount of water over the summer and in the winter watering should be kept to a minimum. Always make sure your geraniums have good ventilation and avoid the soil or compost becoming too wet. Water geraniums in the morning so they have a chance to dry out before the night falls, or use a soaker hose to avoid wetting the foliage in the first place.

If your geraniums are in pots and kept indoors they may continue to flower all year round. If used as bedding plants they are usually treated as an annual though it is possible to buy geraniums only once and then continue to enjoy them for years as geraniums are very easily propagated from softwood cuttings taken in late summer, or simply brought under glass or inside during the winter.

If you pinch out the growing tips from rooted cuttings in the late winter this will encourage the plant to put on bushier growth before the geraniums are potted up individually in mid-spring. These young plants can then be hardened off and placed outside in the garden once all risk of frost has passed in your area.

Geraniums will appreciate a general purpose fertiliser in spring and then a high potassium fertiliser such as comfrey tea when the flowers appear, though this is not strictly necessary and many geraniums do fine in moderately fertile soil on a diet of neglect. These really are forgiving and easy to look after plants – it is difficult to go wrong. Deadhead flowers to promote continued flowering and you will get a long-lasting display.

Why grow geraniums in the garden?

Geraniums create colourful displays in the garden but they can also be of great usefulness as companion plants. Geraniums are a trap crop that will draw pests away from prised roses, peppers, corn or grape vines.

These plants can really brighten up a house or garden and are a great project for kids because they are so easy to grow and to care for. They are good value for money and one plant can be kept going for years.

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