Caring for and planting geraniums

Geraniums originally come from South Africa, which explains their need for sun, water and soil. The first specimens were brought to Europe as early as 1600, planted in royal gardens and carefully tended. Botanically, the classics are called pelargonium, which goes back to the Greek word pélargo («stork»). If you look closely at the seeds, the connection is clear and the cranesbill-like character is recognizable. With their colorful flowers, they are among themost popular flowers. As permanent bloomers, they transform a sunny balcony in particular into a wonderful sea of ​​flowers. A large number of attractive types have enriched the market for several years thanks to new breeds. The plant species includes hanging and standing species. There are also intermediate forms that combine both properties as so-called semi-trailers. A special feature is the group of noble geraniums, which come up with numerous impressive flowers, but must be protected from rain. All types of geraniums can grow from May to October stand outdoors and must be overwintered frost-free. Depending on the weather conditions in April and May, decide when to plant geraniums. Plantings after the ice saints are ideal.

With their colorful flowers, geraniums are one of the most popular species in beds, on balconies, terraces or as cemetery plants. We will tell you where the flowers come from, what is important when it comes to proper care and give you valuable advice so that you can enjoy them for a long time. Basically, little effort is required after planting geraniums and the classic will delight with lush flowers for months.

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Interesting facts about geraniums

Botanical name: Pelargonium peltatum, Pelargonium zonale, Pelargonium x grandiflorum, Pelargonium Zonale X Peltatum and other species
Other names: hanging geranium, noble geranium, scented geranium, pelargonium
Use: balcony plant, container plant, bed planting, cemetery planting, noble geranium as a houseplant and for the conservatory
Origin: South Africa
Flower colors: red, pink, salmon, white, purple, two-tone and double varieties
Flowering period: March to October
Special features:Geraniums require little care and surprise with a rich abundance of flowers. The variety of varieties leaves nothing to be desired, so that a collector’s passion can quickly develop. In particular, varieties with beautifully marked leaves or aromatically scented foliage are establishing themselves alongside the well-known flowering stars. The so-called English geraniums should be protected from rain. Only start planting geraniums after the last night frosts.

In which location do geraniums feel most comfortable? When to plant geraniums

The genus Pelargonium tolerates a warm, sunny location with direct midday sun throughout the summer. From mid-May, the popular summer flowers can be outdoors. Please only plant geraniums after the last night frost! Planting too early often leads to growth delays and the classics do not develop optimally. It is therefore worth waiting until the night temperatures are above 10 °C and during the day at least 18 to 20 °C before planting geraniums. Before the first frost, you have to put the geraniums into winter quarters in autumnplace. The general rule is that the more hours of sunshine, the greater the pile. In shady locations only a few stems are formed and the flower weakens. A place in the partial shade is possible, but full shade is not suitable. In general, geranium plants are very heat tolerant. Pelargonium species with large flowers in particular should get little moisture from above. This also explains the rain roofs over planted balcony boxes in the foothills of the Alps. Single-flowering specimens cope better with the rain.

Geraniums on the balcony

Geraniums are often used for the balcony. Hanging geraniums or standing geraniums are suitable for this. Both types can be combined well in balcony boxes, or you can only plant hanging geraniums with other balcony plants. Irradiation is important for geraniums on the balcony. North-facing locations are unsuitable. Geraniums can be on the balcony from May to October.

Geraniums in a pot

Geraniums do best in pots. It is important that the soil volume per plant is at least 2 to 3 liters. So you should plant the geranium in a larger pot after purchase.

In southern countries, geraniums in pots are often found in driveways and on walls. Here they are protected and bring a special flair with intensive flower colors.

The popular summer flowers tolerate heat and with regular watering, the classics are a feast for the eyes for months.

Geraniums in the garden

Standing geraniums are particularly suitable for border planting. The popular bed and balcony plants can be planted out in the garden from mid-May. Standing geraniums bring color to the bed and can be easily combined with other summer flowers. With geraniums in the garden, it is important to regularly clean out the faded flowers. This prevents seed formation and the geranium continues to flower well. Hanging geraniums grow overhanging and are not suitable for planting in beds in the garden. Hanging geraniums are also sensitive to moisture and would suffer if planted out.

What are the different types of geraniums?

The variety of geranium species is very large and there are always new varieties with beautiful flowers, foliage, fragrance or growth habit. In principle, all different pelargoniums can be planted in the balcony box. Standing geraniums are particularly suitable for beds in the garden. Basically, geraniums are divided into the following groups:

Hanging Geraniums — Hanging Geraniums

The group referred to as Pelargonium-Peltatum hybrids has a horizontal habit. With shoots up to one meter long, this perennial favorite is a delight in balcony boxes, hanging baskets or in vertical gardens on the balcony. The hanging geranium is available in countless varieties and colors. The strongly growing hanging geraniums are usually protected with a plastic grid. This protection can be removed. You should proceed carefully here and cut open the grid with scissors. The grid can also be left as a windbreak, because after just a few weeks it will be overgrown by the plant. It is important when planting that you plant the hanging geraniums «at an angle» in the box. This makes it easier for balcony plants with horizontal growth to establish themselves. Avoid leaving the geranium in the pot in which it was cultivated. Repotting the summer flowers is essential for growth and abundance of flowers. When planting geraniums, make sure you use good quality potting soil. This should be structurally stable and have good water storage capacity. If you are wondering how your hanging geraniums will grow lush, then in addition to the right location, there is sufficient soil volume, needs-based watering and regular fertilizationimportant. It is beneficial if you regularly remove the faded flowers of hanging geraniums.

Our gardening tip: Use a maximum of 4 to 5 plants for a 100 cm long balcony box. You can only plant geraniums or mix them with other balcony plants. Otherwise, if planted too densely, the individual plants will hinder their growth and will not develop as well. With geraniums in pots or hanging baskets, it is important that the volume of soil is not too small. Hanging geraniums are also suitable for large bowls that stand on pedestals or walls, the shoots of the hanging geraniums entwine picturesquely over the stone.

Geraniums standing — standing geraniums

The group known as Pelargonium zonale hybrids includes many varieties that impress with their upright growth and a height of up to 35 cm. The stems are slightly hairy and there is a very wide variety of flower and foliage colors. There are also varieties of upright geraniums with single, double or semi-double flowers. This group is the ideal plant for balcony boxes and tubs, as well as planted out in beds or on graves. Standing geraniums can be planted in pots on the balcony or terracestand and, with appropriate care, delight with a rich abundance of flowers from May to September. Regardless of whether you place the upright geraniums in the garden or on the balcony, a sunny location, even soil moisture and sufficient nutrients are essential. Special geranium fertilizer that is tailored to the needs of all species and varieties is ideal. Regular fertilization is the be- all and end-all of geranium care. Top-up fertilizing from July is particularly important for geraniums in pots. Only with regular fertilization will the upright geraniums bloom well into the autumn.

Semi-hanging varieties

In the case of geraniums, the group of semi-hanging varieties is the result of years of breeding work. The varieties, also known as interspecific pelargoniums, were created as a cross between hanging (P. peltatum) and upright (P. zonale) geraniums. The characteristics of the new geranium breeds are overwhelming, combining the best traits of both groups. The new types (semi-hanging geranium varieties) are weather-resistant, very heat -tolerant and compact in growth. The interspecific geraniums, also known as semi- trailers, are available in many colours: as a classic in red, rose, pink or two-tone with an eye. are most suitablePelargonium zonale x peltatum for planting in pots, in beds as ground cover or in balcony boxes. The ideal spacing for semi-hanging varieties is 15 to 20 cm.

scented geraniums

As the name suggests, the group of scented geraniums is characterized by a pronounced scent from the mostly small leaves. Depending on the variety, essential oils that smell like lemons, roses, oranges, apples or cola are included.

The pile is usually smaller and less conspicuous than that of other geranium species, but the attraction comes from the scent of the foliage. Some of these scented plants keep mosquitoes and wasps away. Scented geraniums are best suited for planting in pots and boxes as well as near seating areas and on the balcony.

Scented geraniums can be easily propagated by cuttings and are therefore popular objects of exchange among collectors.

variegated geraniums

The decorative geraniums fascinate with an interesting design of the leaves. With colorful or variegated, sometimes two- or three-colored leaves, the ornamental foliage plants are a rarity.

They are available in many different shades of color and striking drawings of the leaves. As fancier varieties, these special features are often only available for a short time.

Some hobby gardeners break out the buds of the variegated geraniums to intensify the effect of the leaf markings. The ornamental foliage plants can easily be propagated by cuttings.

Geraniums root quickly in late summer and can thus be overwintered as small plants to save space.

noble geraniums

Noble geraniums are botanically referred to as Pelargonium grandiflorum. The beauties, also known as English geraniums, are particularly attractive due to the large number of varieties and the size of the flowers. Noble geraniums are often offered as flowering houseplants and can be kept in the room or in the garden.

In an outdoor location, it is important that the beauties are protected from the rain, because only then can they develop their full splendor. Only place the English geraniums outdoors when warm days are guaranteed. Here you pay attention to a bright location, if possible without full sun. Noble geraniums are available as stems or bushes. The so-called English geraniums can easily be propagated by cuttings.

What is the best way to plant geraniums?

Repotting is necessary for lush growth and rich blooms. Place the balcony plants either in a larger container or in balcony boxes immediately after purchase. Important for the development are a high-quality soil and a larger volume of soil. The plants are well rooted in the culture pots when they are purchased and therefore urgently need to be transplanted. For a magnificent development, it is important that you open the root collar at the ball when planting. This makes it easier for the flowers to get into the fresh potting soilto take root Vertically growing specimens should be planted in taller containers or boxes in order to be able to develop according to their growth character. Structurally stable potting soil and expanded clay for drainage are important for repotting. Standing specimens can also be planted in the ground in the garden or in the cemetery; here, too, the use of the right soil is beneficial.

How to plant geraniums — tips for balcony planting or containers

Geraniums are classic balcony plants for the summer. Hanging geraniums can be planted in hanging baskets or amphorae. Standing geraniums are suitable for mixed plantings in bowls, pots, flower troughs and other containers. It is important that you repot your geraniums immediately after purchase, put them in the window box or in the ground. Without repotting, the classic is difficult to maintain, flowering is reduced and the plants do not develop as well.

5 tips for planting geraniums:

  • Choose a vessel that is initially twice the volume of the culture pot.
  • Make sure the jar has a drainage hole.
  • Put a layer of expanded clay in the bucket or in the balcony box as drainage.
  • Only use high-quality potting soil for planting, also peat-reduced or peat-free.

Make sure the soil is evenly moist, but avoid waterlogging. Especially immediately after planting geraniums, the water requirement is even lower. Our gardening tip: At least 2 to 3 liters of soil are required for each balcony plant. With less volume, the maintenance effort increases significantly and the development is not optimal. Potted plants need to be repotted into a pot that can hold at least 5 to 10 liters more volume. If the vessel is too small, it has to be watered more often and development is inhibited.

How is the geranium care…

… after hibernation?

After you have successfully overwintered geraniums, it is important that you give these treasures a little pampering at the start of the gardening season. Repotting in a large pot or in a box in special geranium soil is recommended. Gradually acclimate the overwintered geraniums to outdoor conditions. Specimens that hibernate in the dark are placed in a bright and cool place from February, and from mid-April the perennial bloomers can be outdoors on frost-free days. It is important that you protect the plants from night frost and Avoid intense sun exposure. The best time to clear is an overcast day with no wind or direct sunlight.

Our gardening tip: Did longer, thin shoots form in winter? These so-called Geiltriebe can be removed, because no flowers form on them. Shorten any existing shoots after wintering. A bushy new shoot and a large number of new shoots are the result.

… in the summer right?

In addition to an even water supply and regular fertilization, it is important that you remove the faded inflorescences. It is best to break off the faded by hand. So no seeds are formed, the geraniums sprout new flowers and soon shine with a rich blaze of colour. It is optimal if you carry out this care measure weekly. This work is not necessary with the so-called cascade types, since as they are hanging types, withered flowers fall out on their own. This makes care easier and with sufficient fertilization the plants bloom well into autumn.

Pro tip: When cleaning the geraniums, remove the blossoms together with the stalk. This care measure significantly improves the willingness to bloom of the popular balcony plants. It is best to only clean by hand, scissors or knives are not necessary.

How do I water my popular balcony plants correctly?

Pelargonium are low -maintenance seasonal plants. Nevertheless, it is important that regular watering takes place. In the winter quarters, a weekly watering is sufficient and the water requirement is still reduced immediately after planting out. The watering interval is only increased with rising temperatures and increasing growth. It is important that the blooming splendor never dries out, but on the other hand there is no waterlogging. Check regularly how moist the substrate is. With the so -called demand- oriented watering means the even moisture in the soil. This serves as the basis for a successful culture. It is not possible to give an exact indication of the amount of water, because it depends to a large extent on the temperature, the leaf mass, the volume of the soil and the light intensity.
Our gardening tip: It is best to water in the morning so that the water is available in good time. If necessary, it may also be necessary to water twice a day. Water storage boxes help minimize labor. With the built-instorage, the flowers can be optimally cared for even on hot days. It is important that the soil dries out a little before watering again. Brief periods of drought are tolerated but should not occur too often.

How do I properly fertilize the flowering geranium?

Flowers are only healthy, grow well and bloom profusely if they are optimally nourished. Use a long-term balcony flower fertilizer directly when planting. This gives you a good start and ensures the supply of the first few weeks with slow-acting depot fertilizer. 4 to 6 weeks after planting, it is advisable to start with a special geranium fertilizer or flower fertilizer with guano. Both fertilizers are liquid fertilizers that provide your plants on the balcony with all the important nutrients. Dose the fertilizer according to the instructions on the package and take care of the popular balcony flowerscontinuously until late summer with special fertilizer. From September you can minimize the nutrient supply and completely stop it in the winter quarters. If there is not enough fertilizer available in summer, the leaves will turn light green and the willingness to flower decreases. As a representative of the group of heavy consumers, it is important that the popular geranium plants always have sufficient nutrients available. Depending on your preferences, you can feed geraniums with liquid fertilizers or solid fertilizers. It is important with every fertilization that the soil is not completely dry before fertilization and that it is evenly moist after fertilization.
Our gardening tip: If you only have a few specimens, long-term fertilizer sticks are a practical way of ensuring optimal supply.

How do I overwinter my pelargonium properly?

Geraniums are herbaceous plants that freeze at temperatures below 0 °C. If you would like to enjoy your seasonal flowers next year, you can overwinter your geraniums. Place the herbaceous plants in a bright spot with temperatures around 5 °C from the end of September. It is advisable to cut back the plants before overwintering. To do this, shorten the shoots by two-thirds. The leaves can also be removed to reduce evaporation. Thus, less space is required for hibernation, the infestationby pests and diseases is minimized and the plants get through the winter in the best possible way. Make sure that there is never excess water in the coaster.

What different types are there?

The variety of geraniums is very large and new varieties with beautiful flowers, foliage, fragrance or growth habit always inspire. A distinction can be made between the following groups:

Hanging Geraniums

The group referred to as Pelargonium-Peltatum hybrids has a horizontal habit. With shoots up to one meter long , this perennial favorite is a delight in balcony boxes, hanging baskets or in vertical gardens on the balcony. The hanging geranium is available in countless varieties and colors. The strongly growing hanging geraniums are usually protected with a plastic grid. This protection can be removed. You should proceed carefully here and cut open the grid with scissors. The grid can also be used as a windbreakbe left as it is, because after just a few weeks it will be overgrown by the plant. It is important when planting that you plant the hanging geraniums » at an angle » in the box. This makes it easier for balcony plants with horizontal growth to establish themselves.

Our gardening tip: Use a maximum of 4 to 5 pieces for a 100 cm long balcony box. Otherwise, if planted too densely, the individual plants will hinder their growth and will not develop as well. Even in small pots, caring for geraniums is tedious and it is difficult to water properly if the volume of soil is too small.

Standing geraniums

The group known as Pelargonium zonale hybrids includes many varieties that impress with their upright growth and a height of up to 35 cm. The stems are slightly hairy and there is a very wide variety of beautiful flowers and foliage colors. There are also upright varieties with single, double or semi-double flowers. This group is the ideal plant for balcony boxes and tubs, as well as planted out in beds or on graves.

Semi-hanging varieties

This group is the result of years of breeding work. The varieties, also known as interspecific pelargoniums, were created as a cross between hanging (P. peltatum) and standing (P. zonale) geraniums. The characteristics of the new geranium cultivars are overwhelming, combining the best traits of the two groups. The new types are weatherproof, very heat tolerant and compact in growth. The interspecific geraniums, also known as semi-trailers, are available in many colours: as a classic in red, rose, pink or two-tone with an eye. Pelargonium zonale x peltatum is best suited for planting in pots, in beds as ground cover or in balcony boxes. The ideal distance is 15 to 20 cm.

scented geraniums

As the name suggests, the group of scented geraniums is characterized by a pronounced scent from the mostly small leaves. Depending on the variety, essential oils that smell like lemons, roses, oranges, apples or cola are included. The pile is usually smaller and less conspicuous than that of other geranium species, but the attraction comes from the scent of the foliage. Some of these scented plants keep mosquitoes and wasps away. The scented geraniums are best suited for planting in pots and boxes as well as near seating areas and on the balcony.

variegated geranium

The decorative geraniums fascinate with an interesting design of the leaves. They come in many different shades of color, salmon pink or red. As fancier varieties, these special features are often only available for a short time.

noble geraniums

Noble geraniums are botanically referred to as Pelargonium grandiflorum. The beauties, also known as English geraniums, are particularly attractive because of the large number of varieties and the size of the flowers. Noble geraniums are often offered as flowering houseplants and can be kept in the room or in the garden. In an outdoor location, it is important that the beauties are protected from the rain, because only then can they develop their full splendor. Only place the English geraniums outdoors when warm days are guaranteed. Look for a bright location, if possible without full sun.

Our gardening tip: A bright location is recommended for overwintering noble geraniums, which should be warmer than the overwintering location of the other species. Noble geraniums should not be below 10 °C in winter. Needs-based watering during the winter is important.

Which pests and diseases can occur?

With good care and the right location, pelargoniums are floriferous plants. The following pests or diseases can still occur:

geranium rust

The leaves turn yellow to brownish, sometimes pustules can be seen on the underside of the leaves. Stains or rings are visible on the upper side, these spread quickly. Geranium rust is contagious and occurs mainly on wet foliage. Remove the affected leaves at the initial infestation and dispose of them with the household waste. Then strengthen the plant with a plant strengthener and avoid rain and watering with the watering can from above.

Cork Stains/Cork Growths

As the name suggests, the color and shape of the patches are reminiscent of small corks. The deposits are on the underside of the geranium leaves and usually occur in large numbers.

cause of cork stains

The causes of cork stains are varied. In most cases, they are caused by improper water supply to geraniums. In cool weather or when the humidity is too high, too much water means that the plants absorb more water than they need. The consequence of this is that the stomata on the underside of the leaf open too wide, causing small tears to form. The typical damage of cork stains develops. Another cause of cork stains on geraniums is thrips. These approximately one millimeter long, elongated yellow or black-brown colored insects mostly have horizontal stripes. The sucking activity of the pests results in corking on the underside of the leaves. The cork spots are mainly found on hanging geraniums. It’s mainly a visual issue. Ensure an even water supply and need-based fertilization of the geraniums. If possible, only water in the morning. As a result, the water is optimally absorbed and the geraniums are optimally supplied. Make sure you water less when it’s cold. Regular applications of Kölle Bio Power Fertilizer and Kölle Bio Plant Treatment also help the geraniums to grow lushly and healthily. Vigorous and vigorous geraniums are less susceptible to cork stains. Regular applications of Kölle Bio Power Fertilizer and Kölle Bio Plant Treatment also help the geraniums to grow lushly and healthily. Vigorous and vigorous geraniums are less susceptible to cork stains. Regular applications of Kölle Bio Power Fertilizer and Kölle Bio Plant Treatment also help the geraniums to grow lushly and healthily. Vigorous and vigorous geraniums are less susceptible to cork stains.

botrytis

The fungal disease occurs on the leaves and the pile and is usually a result of cold, wet weather. A gray spore coating forms at the rotten spot. Remove affected parts of the plant, usually the lower leaves, and keep the soil drier. The seasonal flowers are strengthened and renewed infestation with fungal diseases is minimized by multiple sprayings with organic active agents with field stalk and oats.

aphids

Especially in phases with less light and less growth, the popular balcony plants are more susceptible to aphid infestation. Check plants in winter quarters regularly. Rinse the plants thoroughly with water at the first infestation. This first measure usually helps.

spider mites

The affected leaves have silvery dots on the upper side and webs are visible on the underside of the leaves. Spider mites appear especially in warm, dry weather. It is usually sufficient to spray the plants with water and treat them with plant strengtheners. These organic active agents contain natural plant extracts that contribute to the vitalization of the plant.

white bow tie

The small white pests are a problem, especially in wind-protected, warm locations and in winter quarters. The small insects settle on the underside of the leaves and yellow spots form on the leaves due to their sucking activity. The affected leaves dry up and fall off. Remove them at the first infestation and dispose of them with the household waste. With a biological plant protection such as yellow panels, you can fight the whitefly on the balcony plants with low infestation. Also the use of parasitic wasps, a natural enemy of whitefly, can help minimize the unwanted pests.

root damage

The popular flowers are limp and wither despite sufficient moisture. This can be root damage that occurs due to standing water. Improve drainage and keep flowering plants a little drier at first.

FAQ — Frequently asked questions about geraniums

Why aren’t my geraniums blooming?

Possible reasons why a pile is missing can be:

        • a shady location
        • fertilizer shortage
        • too low temperatures

waterlogging

What can cause geraniums to turn yellow leaves?

Geraniums prefer warm summers. If the weather is constantly rainy and cool, geraniums do not feel well and often get yellow leaves. If possible, you can protect the boxes from rain during rainy periods. In cool summers you should only water carefully. Yellow leaves can also be a result of a lack of fertilizer.

Which plants are suitable for the combination?

All balcony plants that prefer the sun are ideal. The plants should have similar water requirements. Examples of combinations are: petunia, magic bells, bidens, verbena, magic snow, vanilla flower, lantane, sweet potato, hussar’s head, blue daisy, loyal to men, purslane and many more

Are there geranium seeds?

Geraniums can be cultivated by seed. Sowing takes place in January in special potting soil. It is important that the fine seeds are not covered, as they germinate in the light. Temperatures of 20 to 22 °C are optimal for cultivation. After 10 to 20 days, the geraniums germinate and can be isolated by pricking out.

Can propagation take place by cuttings?

Pelargonium can be easily propagated by cuttings. The right time for this is late summer. When propagating cuttings, it is important that the shoots are not too fresh and soft, because such shoots rot quickly. It is best to cut off the slightly woody cuttings with sharp pruning shears. Geranium cuttings root optimally in propagation trays or in a propagation set with a transparent cover. After 3 to 4 weeks the first roots have formed and the young plants can be repotted in pots in fresh soil. It is important that only healthy specimens are used for propagationare used and good soil is used. With a green thumb it is easy to cultivate new plants in your own cultivation.

Can geraniums be divided?

Division is only advisable for solitary plants that are at least 5 years old. The division takes place in spring and serves to rejuvenate the plants. The individual sections are placed in fresh potting soil.

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