Geraniums – May Plant of the Month

Geraniums

A Timeless Classic for Your Garden

Geraniums bloom in a burst of deep reds, scarlet, pinks, white, purple or salmon with flowers lasting throughout the gardening season.  Geraniums are used in beautiful flowerbeds or in containers, planter boxes, or hanging baskets on porches, patios or balconies.  Plant in a location with 5 to 6 hours of full sun each day after the last spring frost.  During the hottest summer months, a location providing afternoon shade will keep your geraniums blooming all season.  Geraniums are known to be a drought tolerant/water wise container and bedding plant.

geraniumsRemember as plants receive sunlight for growing, the demand for water and fertilizer is established.  The more sunlight received, the more water and fertilizer needed.  The demand for water and fertilizer will decrease with less sunlight and overcast weather.  (Fertilizing should start when the plant begins its active growth in the spring).  Fertilize lightly or not at all in cold weather months.  Stutzmans All Purpose Fertilizer is a great choice to keep them nice all season long.  Many plants, if left to their own devices tend to become ill-shaped and unattractive.  This can be avoided by pinching back new growth where indicated or pruning if heavier trimming is necessary.  Potted plants should be rotated one quarter turn clock-wise every few days to insure a more symmetrical plant.

      Many container-grown geraniums are killed because of improper watering.  Establish a wet-saturated to moist-dry watering cycle.  Make sure not to water blindly.  It is not sufficient to just give the plant a squirt with the hose or to pour in 2-3 cups of water.  Fill the pot until water runs out the bottom of the container.  The plant needs to be thoroughly watered so the soil is wet all the way to the center of the root ball.

Check the plant’s need for watering by looking at the soil; better yet, scratch the soil surface with your finger or use a moisture meter.  If the soil is barely moist or dry below the surface layer, the plant needs watering.  Anything wetter than barely moist should probably wait.  I say probably because so much depends on the weather.  If we are in the midst of a heat wave, or if the plant will be exposed to dry winds, it may need watering more often to maintain it through the day.  Container plants should be watered in the morning hours if possible.

If your plants are long stemmed or with leaves only at the tips, and the shape of your plant is off then they should be pruned.  Leave a good amount of foliage to provide energy for re-growth.  Dead-heading is a very important chore for successful geraniums.  The spent flower and its stem should be removed from where it joins the body of the plant.  While Stutzmans only grows zonal or vegetative geranium, seed varieties are still available.  Seed geraniums must be dead-headed to keep them blooming, otherwise the plant produces seeds on the stems and has no need to keep flowering.  If they are removed the plant keeps trying to make seed (it keeps blooming).  Zonal or vegetative geraniums will keep blooming without deadheading but the old bloom stalks quickly become unsightly an should be removed.more geraniums

The type of soil is important, it is critical because geraniums will grow best where there is good drainage.  They will not tolerate wet feet.  A too soggy soil will become sour, resulting in a sick plant.  A good mix should have excellent drainage, good aeration and good water retention capability.  A good mix must be light enough to permit watering frequently on hot weather without danger of oxygen deficiency and heavy enough to retain enough moisture for the plant, and should be light enough to allow for drying out during cloudy days without danger of salt build-up.  Our Stutzmans soil is designed to do just this.  P.H. Balance:  7.0 neutral below 7.0 is acid and above 7.0 is alkaline.  Geraniums need a P.H. of 6.0 to 7.5.  A high P.H. can damage your plants.

Iron+ or Soil Sulpher can keep a P.H. correct.

Geraniums are a great flower that has been a staple for generations.  By following these tips you can be successful with them.  If you have more geranium questions or any other questions e-mail me at retail@stutzmans.com.

Thank you,

Jason

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