Geraniums over the winter

Crafty Gardener(ON 5b)October 8, 2006

I have never had much luck over wintering geraniums. I've read all the hints and tips about cuttings, hanging the roots etc. But I don't know what to do that will be best for my plants? Any advice will be helpful.


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What I do is the same thing my mom did. I make sure the soil is relatively dry - no watering, no rain for a couple of days.

I dig out the plants, shake off as much soil as I can. I then lay the plants out on old newspapers to dry for a couple of hours. Damp plants will go moldy!!

Shake of any more soil that will fall off, remove all yellow leaves and spent blooms. Wrap each plant in newspapers and place in a cardboard box. NO PLASTIC STORAGE BOXES!

I have had good luck in the past 2 years using paper garden waste bags, since I didn't have boxes big enough to hold all the plants. I just duct tape them shut at the top.

If you want to keep the colours straight, either label the newspaper bundles, or store them in separate boxes.

I keep my package of plants in my unfinished and poorly heated basement. Cool and dry is the key.

About 6 weeks before they can be planted out, I collect up my buckets and any old containers large enough to hold the plants. Set them up in the basement, or anywhere that they can get some light - they don't need a lot, sometimes I just leave the basement lights on for a couple of hours.

Fill the buckets/containers with water deep enough to just cover the roots. You don't want to drown the plants.

I put as many as will fit into one bucket, but don't pack them so tightly that they can't be easily removed to check on root growth.

Change the water daily for at least the first week, removing any debris that falls from the dried plants. The water will smell!!

When you see that a plant is sprouting green leaves and roots, you can plant them into pots. I sometimes just keep them in water long enough to plant directly outside - small house, not enough window sills LOL!!

Hope this helps.
Good luck - let me know how you make out.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 9:34AM
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Crafty Gardener(ON 5b)

Thank you for your great advice. I'll be giving it a try and will let you know how it turned out.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 5:56PM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

I too have lack of cold storage so the only method that really works for me is to dig up one of the plants and keep as a houseplant over winter. I only do this with my favorite tri-color leaf geranium. It grows in a basement window which is sort of cool and not the greatest light, but by spring it usually has some good growth from which I make a few cuttings under plant lights.

At my Mom and Dad's home at the lake, they had a crawlspace which was cool and ideal for storing bulbs, geraniums, etc. One method we tried one year was to pull the geranium plants out, place together in a tub, and fill in and around the roots with loose soil. In other years we tried just placing them in a paper bag and storing in the cool space.

With these type of methods we found that depending on the year not every plant survives, but enough did. Some plants were fairly healthy, some completely dried up, and others the roots and most stems were dried up but had an occasional stem that was still plump, healthy and sprouting. If that's the case we just cut that part off and placed in new soil to make new plants.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 3:51AM
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Last year I asked the same thing, and I believe Homemaker's advise was the one I chose. But...

After I shook the dried dirt off the plants' roots, I placed them in a box. Something happened that I was detered from the task of wrapping with newspaper, and I just left them in a basement closet. I rediscovered them - roots up in the box - in mid-January, and saw that they still had growth on them. Decided to leave them be, and in late Feb. took them out. They still had growth on them and one was actually flowering! This is in the dark, at 5C for 4 months! Unbelievable...

I took cuttings and out of 3 plants grew 15 big geranium plants this year.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 7:59AM
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tiffy...just out of curiosity, could you have just potted your plants up in new potting soil instead of taking cuttings? i suppose one answer is that you got more plants that way (?)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 9:52AM
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tiffy...just out of curiosity, could you have just potted your plants up in new potting soil instead of taking cuttings? i suppose one answer is that you got more plants that way (?)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 9:54AM
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You can pot the old plants in new soil as well. In that way you'll be sure to have your geraniums.

I had rooted stem cuttings before so felt pretty confident. They are really easy. I just pot them up in small pots and place on top of my fridge for bottom heat, keeping the soil moist. This is one plant where I don't even use rooting hormone.

This winter I'll be growing some in the house. My mother started some from seeds this summer and they are still too tiny to cold-store for the winter. One of them is a beautiful peach/orange.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 8:36AM
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bonniepunch(USDAz4 AgCanz5a)

I don't have a good cool space for them and I have Martha Washington geraniums, they are not as tolerent of being stored in a bag. It can be done, but they have a higher fatality rate. So I stick mine in a small crappy window and grow it as a badly neglected houseplant.

They'll survive as a plant even with minimal light and water. I break off a bunch of cuttings and stick them in a pot sometime in late September, and by now they have usually rooted. I'm not gentle or fussy about it - they are easy rooters. It is not to late to root some now even! I keep them in or near my dimmest window and water when they get wilty (once every two to three weeks). They do get leggy but they live just fine. Give them a good haircut in the spring and they take off (and root the haircut trimmings for more plants). I've kept them in a sunny window a few times and they did really well, even bloomed, but I'm happy enough to have them limp through the winter, and save my good window spots for the plants that need it.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 2:33PM
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Hello all, I am new today and checking things out. I potted up two of my Geraniums and was not sure if they would overwinter as a house plant. I am looking forward to taking cuttings in early spring to propogate under lights. Janet

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 10:37AM
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I bought 3 new geranium hanging plants one spring. By fall, wasn't sure what to do with them, so left them hanging in the basement where they had some light. Watered them now and then. In the spring, added fertilizer and a new soil, just on top. Put them out once weather became warmer, May, and by July,they were all in bloom and beautiful. It took awhile and the leaves had lots of red color to them(which I was worried about) but i shouldn't have been concerned because they were beautiful.
This year trying something different. I cut them all down in fall, put them under my porch steps(in the basement) where it is just cool and water them every month. Hope they survive again.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 8:45AM
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