Geraniums are small to medium-sized flowering plants that grow well in both pots and soil. Most geraniums flower during the summer and should be planted in the spring. They grow in USDA hardiness zones 4-9. The higher the hardiness zone, the earlier geraniums can withstand planting. In general, it is best to plant them after the last frost of the spring. In zones 8 and 9 they can be planted as early as March, and in zones 4 and 5 it may be necessary to wait until May or even early June. Planting geraniums takes a little bit of time and effort, but does not require much space or special skill.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Geranium starter plants
- Pots with soil or garden space with good drainage and sunlight
- Gardening gloves (optional)
- Garden fork or tiller
- Compost or fertlizer
Buy geranium flowers. Choose plants based on their colour and size variety. Look for geraniums with moist soil and perky leaves. According to the National Gardening Association, geraniums can stay as small as 6 inches tall when they are full grown or grow as tall as 4 feet. Geraniums are hardy enough to withstand transplanting while they have buds or flowers, but transplanting a flowering geranium when there is still a risk of a spring frost will kill the flowers.
Choose a garden space with plenty of sunlight or a larger pot than the geranium's starter pot that can fit somewhere in a window, on a balcony or in a garden that receives lots of sunlight. Geraniums may require some shade in very hot areas, but generally they prefer lots of sunlight. The National Gardening Association explains that potted geraniums need pots with lots of drainage. Short varieties of geraniums make nice ground covering plants, and larger varieties make nice borders for gardens.
Prepare the soil. The National Gardening Association recommends loosening up the soil with a garden fork or tiller and mixing in some compost or geranium fertiliser before planting the flowers. A fertiliser with a ratio of 5-10-5 works well before planting, but after planting it is best to switch over to a 10-10-10. According to North Carolina State University, geraniums like soil with a pH as close as possible to 6.5, which is slightly acidic. Geraniums will grow in almost any type of soil that has the correct pH requirements and is aerated and porous, so avoid clay soils and dense sand soils.
Dig holes to plant the geraniums in. The National Gardening Association recommends holes twice as big as the geranium's starter pots for geraniums planted in outdoor gardens. Potted geraniums require pots at least twice as large as the starter pots. The holes should be spaced at least six inches apart for small geranium varieties but may need to be as far apart as two feet for larger types of geraniums. Make sure the holes are deep enough to hold all of the geraniums' roots.
Plant the geraniums. Remove the geraniums from their starter pots and place them in the holes. Fill in the holes around the roots with damp soil and make sure to totally cover the roots with damp soil on the surface of the ground. If a geranium does not slide easily out of its pot, delicately hold the plant at its base and try to wiggle it free. Another good strategy is to loosen the soil around the edges of the pot with a shovel, being careful not to hit the plant's roots. Do not pull too hard or it may damage the plant's roots. It is possible to cut off flimsy plastic starter pots if the geraniums cannot come out with gentle force.
Cover the soil around the base of the geraniums with a layer of mulch. This step is optional, but it will help prevent weeds and help the soil hold in more moisture between waterings.
How to Plant Geranium Flowers
Tips and warnings
- It is a good idea to add new compost and mulch once a year for garden geraniums, so that the soil does not run out of nutrients. For potted geraniums, add a liquid flower fertiliser once every month or two.
- Geraniums like lots of water, but they do not like to be sitting in water. Water them regularly, but do not let the soil become waterlogged. Make sure excess water is draining out of potted geraniums.
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