How do I Keep Geraniums for Next Year?

nutsaboutflowers(2b/3a)October 2, 2009

I'd like to keep all of my geraniums for next year, but I'm not sure how.

Last fall one of my neighbours told me to bring them into the house and put them in a dark cupboard, and they'd wait for spring. They all died.

What do I do with this year's to keep them alive?

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Last year I potted up the ones that weren't killed by frost and kept them on a relatively sunny plant stand. I watered minimally and took cuttings for new starts in January. This year I'm potting some and am going to try to keep some in a box in a cool place (hard to find in the house). If you search on keeping (saving, overwintering, etc.), you should get more suggestions than you'll know what to do with.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 5:59PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

I don't know where this advice about a dark cupboard is coming from, I had someone else ask me about it recently. As far as I know, if you let a geranium dry out and drop its leaves, it's dead.

My grandma used to bring the whole plant in and pot it up. They will often suffer shock and lose a lot of leaves, but you will be able to take cuttings form what grows back, like ljpother did. Other than that, you can take cuttings now and start a few new plants.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 7:58PM
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north53 Z1b MB(zone 1b Canada)

I do keep mine over winter in a cool dark storage room and have done so successfully for years. But I don't let them completely dry out. I dig them up, shake off the soil and remove all the blossoms. I stand the plants in a large flat container, and cover the roots with a bit of peat moss. This way I can water them slightly if they seem to be drying out. The stems stay green and firm, but the leaves of course, dry up. I usually bring them out into the light in Feb., cut them back drastically and away they go.

This year I'm trying a slightly different method in that I've put the roots of each into a shallow plastic bag. I think that will make it tidier come potting time.

I don't think this method will work with the ivy leaf geraniums. Maybe I'll try one as an experiment anyway.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 12:33AM
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Northspace--not true!!

A geranium won't die if you keep it just above freezing. Geraniums are a tender perennial and just like the perennials in your garden it will go dormant in cool temperatures. The only difference between Geraniums and your perennials is that it's freeze point is higher, so keeping it in a place that is just above freezing, in dry and dark will put it into a dormant state.


I don't know if plastic is a good idea. The plant roots need air circulation. I'm thinking the roots may rot.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 10:07AM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

Mine are in containers and i bring them in before a frost and leave them in a sunny window all winter, water minimally and clean them off (take off dead leaves, etc.) once in awhile. They've survived for years that way. One died last winter, but that's it.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 10:50AM
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If you have a sunny window or are willing to keep them under grow lights, you can grow them all winter. They'll even keep blooming if they're really happy.

They can get big. Real big. There's one at the Lee Valley store that's about 5 feet wide.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 10:57AM
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I've taken about 8 Geraniums from bigger pots and transplanted into 6" or 8" pots. I was just going to store them in my basement by a window and water just occasionally. I'm also trying to save my "spikes" which I've also transpanted into 10" or 12" containers and brought them in as well. Will this work also if I just water occasionally? Stan

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 1:15PM
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They'll get leggy, but they'll probably make it.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 3:44PM
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As Stan asked "What about "Spikes"?" I brought 2 of mine in and am trying to over winter them. I was also told that you can take slips off "Million Bells", and I have another plant that looked like the million bells but is bigger that I'm trying to over winter also??? Don't know if they will grow but what the heck all it costs is a bit of dirt and some room on the window sill.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 5:08PM
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Great time of year eh? It just seems that some of the plants are such a waste to throw away that you'd like to keep all of them. I have taken cuttings of my silver Tidal Wave petunias cause like you say Kathy, it's only a little dirt. Stan

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 6:24PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

I've tried cuttings of million bells but they didn't make it over the winter. A couple of wave petunias did, though. When they got too leggy, i just took cuttings again. Should have done that this year, but haven't gotten around to doing a lot of things this year. :-/

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 9:14PM
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Spikes are prone to having/getting spider mite. So are the petunias. So, as long as they are sprayed to kill those bugs you should be fine. Geraniums can also have them, but they are more prone to getting aphids.

I have kept over geraniums and other annuals each year also.

Thrips are also well known to come in for the winter on the plants you keep over, so watch for them too.

I am out now to take slips off my million bells. Thanks for the reminder...Kathy. It is suppose to go to -1C tonight for the first time this fall. The petunias would be fine at that temp...but may as well get them in now.

I also took slips of my potato vine last week and they are putting out new roots already.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 2:15PM
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I brought in my Mandevilla vine from my greenhouse into the house last nite. Not sure exactly what I can do with it for now, will probably take it to my office as at least I have window on 2 corners so it will get plenty of lite. Stan

    Bookmark   October 8, 2009 at 3:20PM
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trisha_51(5 Nebraska)

I tried rooting some in water, but no roots. So i put some directly into moist dirt, the stems shrunk and turned dark. How do you root cuttings?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2009 at 2:35PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

Try rooting some in vermiculite. I know i've rooted geraniums but i think they were just in water.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2009 at 3:00PM
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trisha_51(5 Nebraska)

well, i've lost the three cuttings i was trying to root; at least i have the three plants. :)

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 3:34PM
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Trisha, on the web site " (no, that is not me)if you go to "gro like a pro" and then geraniums, it show you some picture of how to propagate geranium cuttings. I've been doing this for years and it certainly works for me. I use the deep six packs which I fill with vermiculte and then soak the vermiculite with water mixed with "no damp". Once I've put in the cuttings, I put the six packs into a tray which I cover with a plastic dome. I spritz the cuttings first with water mixed with "no damp" and check the plants every day and spritz as needed. Last year, I got about 36 cuttings off of about 5 potted geraniums. Stan

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 3:21PM
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I was losing most of my cuttings; so, I searched the forum for "propagating geraniums". What improved my results was letting the cuttings callus over before planting. The amount of babying you do depends on how many cuttings you are willing to lose. I'm happy losing a quarter of the starts and don't baby at all. I get fussier if losses approach 50%. I was losing over 75% when I decided I needed to do some research.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2009 at 1:42PM
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Yes lipother

Letting geranium cuttings callus over does improve your chances of success. I let mine sit for about 5 days, The leaves droop and the cut end whithers and dries. The danger to cuttings is blackleg and is usually caused by too much water and bacteria.

The callusing cuts down on the amount of water the cutting absorbs.

Some tips to have you have even better success. Make sure everything you use for cuttings is very clean, from your cutting tool to the pot. Use filtered water if you can. Use a fast draining soiless mix and don't over water. I bake my soil in the oven @250 for 30 minutes to kill any bacteria that might be there. I do it in a tin foil roasting pan. If a cutting dies pull it immediately and discard the soil, so it doesn't spread to the rest.

I started 43 cuttings and lost maybe half a dozen.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 8:37AM
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