How to perk up overwintered geraniums?

linnea56(z5 IL)April 14, 2014

I brought in about a dozen geraniums (annual pelargoniums) last fall, mostly because I have a really hard time letting go of the growing season. About half are unusually colored ivy geraniums. They have done pretty well all winter and most bloomed sporadically. A bit leggy, though.

If I want to "refresh" these for this summer, what should I do? Cut back hard, then repot? Wait a bit before repotting? Just add fertilizer instead of repotting?
Thanks!

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mandolls(4)

Definitely cut them back - re-pot them if they seem crowded in the pots they are in, and start in on the fert.

I have a bunch in my window too. I water them very little over the winter (like once a month) and keep them very cool. They have been blooming quite a bit in the past month or so, and I have been meaning to give them their annual haircut - just haven't gotten around to it yet.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 7:11AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Yes, cut them back, water them well, and when they start to show new growth give then a shot of fertilizer. I have been taking mine out in the bright sunshine the last couple days, too - as long as it's not too cold - and bring them in at night (nights still too cold here). They sun really gets them growing nice and full and lush. :0) (but make sure to harden them off first if you take them out after they're showing new growth - don't want to burn those tender new leaves).

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 8:29AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Thank you! Whats a good rule of thumb: cut back to say, 2 " above the soil line?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 7:02PM
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mandolls(4)

It depends on the size of the plant. I have a few that are 4-5 years old. They come up from the soil 2-3" and then start branching out. I'll cut the individual branches back to 2-4 " from the main stalk. I wouldn't hack it back to 2" from the soil, unless everything is looking dead.

Even the ones I grew from seed last year won't get quite that severe a treatment.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 8:22AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

here's something you might be surprised to hear ...

I DONT KNOW ... BECAUSE I NEVER GOT ONE TO WINTER OVER ...

what do you think about that .. lol

after all the help i have given you .... over the years.. i thought you might relish the idea.. that you can do something better than i can .... you go girl ...

just make sure you harden them off to temps and sunshine before you blast them outside.. if in fact.. it every warms up enough to plant things outdoors... it was 18 degrees last night due east of you in adrian MI ...

ken

ps: part of the problem was that i didnt try too hard.. and then.. in spring would run outside.. and forget about them in the basement until way to late in summer ...

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 8:59AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

I cut back hard, down to 2" sounds about right, sometimes even further even if needed - down to live stems. By this time of year it's pretty obvious what is dead and what is not. I cut back to live buds or where it appears a bud will grow (like pruning a rose bush or tree).

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 9:14AM
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calistoga_al

In our climate where wintering over is easy with the minimum of protection, many of us would rather take cuttings in October and start over with new plants every year. Al

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 10:28AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey al ...

it was 19 degrees here in MI LAST NIGHT ..

within your definition of your winter.. have you ever approached that temp .. lol

crikey.. you dont know what winter is... lol ..

ken

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:08AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Thanks again.

Gasp!? Ken has not overwintered geraniums successfully?! I will say, that I have never had so many still looking good, at this time of year. None have died, and about a third are actually blooming. They are all in the brightest spot I have. I usually donâÂÂt get out to buy new annuals til early June, when I can visit some out of town nurseries. The ones here are either too expensive, or just have the most ordinary stuff. This was I will have something to look at til that trip is made.

This post was edited by linnea56 on Wed, Apr 16, 14 at 13:12

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 1:10PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i figured that might make you happy.. lol

ken

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:36PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

YES!!!! :)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:41PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

YES !!!!!! :)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:42PM
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grandmamaloy(7)

When cutting back, you can cut back all the way to the soil if you want, but it will take the plant a lot longer to recover and rebound. I usually cut back to the 2nd or 3rd node (which is that knobby thingy on each of the stems where it can branch from) above the soil line or main stem.

You may find that if they are hybrids, that the plant will revert back to its original form and you may not have the gorgeous and unique coloration that you had from the original plants. Some revert quickly and some slowly, but not cutting back TOO drastically may help you keep those pretty colors longer. Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: geranium cutting

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:04PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Spammy grammy maloy! I can't believe that he/she is still being allowed in the Gardenweb.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 4:27PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

How is this spam? Because it leads to a page where things are sold?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 7:35PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Because every single post that granny has made in the couple of years of membership has had a direct link to that web site. Sometimes she pretends to have 'discovered ' this wonderful place but usually it's just a link.

It's a sneaky ploy to get some free advertising, and a dirty trick.

There's absolutely nothing wrong in a member making recommendations of a brand or company, but not if you have a vested interest. That's against the rules of membership.

Spammy Grammy should urge her boss to buy some advertising! She has some helpful comments to offer....it would be great if she would post without serving as a schill.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 9:11PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I see. Most often when IâÂÂve noticed shilling, it has been more thinly veiled, such as a response that has little to do with the topic, like, âÂÂI like geraniums, and you can make big money from home using this weird trickâ¦.âÂÂ

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 10:36PM
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