Geranium, less commonly known as Pelargonium, is a genus of flowering plants that belong to the family Geraniaceae. This group of plants is known for their attractive flowers and fragrant leaves, making them popular plants in gardens, hanging baskets, and containers. Geranium plants are native to southern Africa.
How To Grow And Care For Geraniums
- Geraniums thrive in well-draining soil. They prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil, with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5. If your soil is heavy or clayey, consider amending it with organic matter or perlite to improve drainage.
- These plants appreciate part sun, so choose a location that receives morning sun or less that four hours of afternoon sun.
- Geraniums prefer to be moderately watered. Water deeply, ensuring the water reaches the root zone and allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings to prevent overwatering. You may need to water more frequently during the hot summer months to prevent dehydration.
- Fertilization is essential for promoting healthy growth and abundant blooms. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer, and apply it every four to six weeks during the growing season. Be cautious not to over-fertilize, which can lead to excessive foliage growth with fewer blooms.
- Deadheading spent flowers regularly is crucial to encourage continuous blooming. Pinch or trim off faded flowers just above a leaf node to promote new bud formation. This process keeps your geraniums looking tidy and diverts energy into producing more blooms.
- Geraniums are relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, watch for common issues like aphids, spider mites, and fungal diseases like powdery mildew. If necessary, treat affected plants with appropriate insecticides or fungicides. Organic pesticides such as insecticidal soap treats aphids, Neem oil treats spider mites, and copper fungicide prevents powdery mildew.
Leaves and Flowers
The leaves of geraniums are typically palmate or lobed in shape, showcasing a rich green hue. They are often velvety to the touch, giving the foliage a soft and luxurious texture. When crushed, the leaves emit a pleasant fragrance, adding an extra sensory delight to their appeal. The most distinctive feature of geranium plants is their flowers, which typically have five petals and are arranged in clusters. The abundant blooms come in shades of pink, red, white, and purple.
Uses in the Garden
Geraniums are frequently employed to add a burst of color to garden beds. These plants are ideal for creating visually appealing borders and mass plantings, forming a carpet of blooms that transforms ordinary garden spaces into vibrant, eye-catching displays. Their ability to bloom from spring to fall ensures a long-lasting and ever-changing palette that enhances the overall aesthetics of the garden.
Geraniums are also well-suited for container gardening and hanging baskets, allowing gardeners to elevate their outdoor spaces with elevated displays. Whether placed on patios, balconies, or suspended from hooks, Geraniums thrive in containers, providing a dynamic and mobile burst of color. Their cascading or upright growth habits make them excellent choices for mixed container arrangements, where they can complement other plants and foliage, creating captivating visual contrasts.
Our Selection of Geraniums
We sell thousands of geraniums each spring and they are all purchased from our vendors. In our Greenhouse, we maintain 6 full tables of 4″ & 6″ pots containing 500+ plants, as well as 50-100 10″ Hanging Baskets and 10″ Pots. We attempt to be fully stocked beginning as early as mid-March but at least by April 1st. And, we maintain our full stock until tapering around early June. Still, geraniums tend to be available almost until September, as fill-ins, through the selection will not be extensive.
Several popular varieties of Geraniums that can be found at Martin Garden Center include:
- Americana Series
- Calliope Series
- Moxie Series
- Rocky Mountain Series
- Savanna Series
- Survivor Series
- Tango Series.
Do Geraniums Need Full Sun?
In the Upstate, Geraniums generally prefer part sun, which means morning sun or less than 4 hours of hot afternoon sun. When planted in Full Sun here in the Upstate, Geraniums tend to suffer excessive heat stress.
How to Deadhead Geraniums?
First, look for flowers that have faded, wilted, or finished blooming. These are the spent flowers that need to be removed. Use sharp scissors, pruning shears, or your fingers to cut or pinch the stem above the node. Cut at a 45-degree angle, about 1/4 inch above the node. If the entire flower cluster has finished blooming, you can cut the whole cluster back to the main stem or a healthy set of leaves. Collect the removed flowers and dispose of them.
Are Geraniums Poisonous to Cats and Dogs?
Geraniums are considered to be toxic to cats and dogs. These plants contain substances that, if ingested by pets, can lead to mild to moderate gastrointestinal upset, including symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. The toxic components in geraniums are irritating to the digestive system.
Do Deer Eat Geraniums?
Geraniums may be more susceptible to deer browsing. Although they wouldn’t be a first choice, deer may feed on them if other preferred food sources are limited.