Overwintered Zonal Geraniums

daisy_lee(5)March 18, 2007

I overwintered my geraniums and they bloomed beautifully all winter inside. Now they are getting tall and I want to cut them down, so they will be ready to flourish outside mid May. How far down do I cut them? Do I cut every branch to the point just above a leaf? Do I fertilize when I cut them back and if so, full strength or half strength fertilizer!

Any advice is appreciated!



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Hi Carol, I did mine about a month ago and they are doing wonderfully. Pelargoniums are one cutting that you do not want to cover with a humidity dome or plastic as they get root/stem rot easily. Use a #1 rooting hormone and dip the tip into the hormone powder and shake off any excess powder. You want to cut just above the node and then cut the cutting up to just below the node. Pick off the bottom leaves and leaflets in the nodes before planting. The cutting should have a few leaf nodes and none of the leaves should be under the soil. Make sure there is a couple of leaves for photosynthesis, but not too many as transpriration will cause undue moisture loss through the leaves. Plant deep enough so a least two leaf node are buried, they don't mind being buried deep enough to keep them upright in the rooting medium. Mine showed some slight wilting in the first couple of days and then they perked up and now they are rooted beautifully. Fertilize at 1/4 strength each and every watering, this promotes even distribution of nutrients as opposed to a rollercoster of highs and lows of nutrient availability. I don't know why the directions say full strength every two weeks, this is not common practice with professional growers. I hope this info is helpful to you, Janet

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 8:33AM
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Daisy, its nice that you were able to keep them going through winter in as good a fashion that you did....but now you wish to get them ready to go outside .....about mid May....when your other annuals are planted.

I will try not to step on what Janet has outlined....but
if I may suggest ....
take your geranium to a well-newspapered table, there unpot your geranium and cut it back...by a third....back to about 4 - 5 inches high.
Clean off all leaves, cut back all broken or otherwise damaged branches. Clean all soil away from the roots.
Inspect the roots for any sign of damage....and cut back if necessary.

Then, with a clean pot (I like clay), to which you put into the bottom something to keep the soil away from the drainage holes, (I use clay shards) put some FRESH potting soil/mix in....make a hole in the center, and put your plant it...firm it up, take to the sunniest window you have.
(north though will not do)...there water your plant to drainage. Let the plant drain ...and let the plant sit in that drainage water no longer than 15 - 20 minutes....then dump it.
Now....no more watering until the plant begins to produce new leaves.
Then, water as necessary and do not fertilize until new leaves begin to form....then at 1/2 rate until the leaves are well along.
Will take maybe 2 weeks....less or more.

Water always to drainage, letting it dry down a bit...never let it go dry.

Maybe, in 5 or 6 weeks, you might get flower buds forming...in any case, they will form sooner or later.

That's it...that's all there's to it.

A couple weeks before you figure they can outside in their own pot....take to the garage and then outside to acclimate them....taking them back indoors at night.
Back outside during daylight.
This acclimates them to the outside temperatures....better to withstand a night that goes down when you do put them outside to stay.

Then its just a matter of enjoying them through the season and not letting them be touched by frost later in the fall.
Then, back out again in '08...'09....'10.....'20....'30..

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 5:30PM
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busylizzy(z5 PA)

I agree with the method Jeannie said. I used to overwinter geraniums and trimmed and repotted that way always worked for me.
For the past 2 years I have been starting them from seed, but I think next year I will overwinter again. Depends on the room I have for storage I start about 30 to 40 geraniums.
For next year try:
Cuttings taken in August.
Geraniums don't need rooting hormone. Just cut enough off mature plant for 2 leaf nodes, not flowering and place in 1 inch oasis cubes that are placed in a container that has water 1/2 way up the oasis cube. Place uncovered in a filtered light window and in 2 weeks you have roots and can pot up babies. Never tried cuttings in the late winter, I would think they would have be kept pretty warm ambient temp like the ones i have started in August heat.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 10:42AM
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pbaby(z4 Wisconsin)

Hi all -- wow, my geraniums grew and bloomed all winter and I thought I could just give them a little trim and repot for the summer....and see just how big they get! Sounds like I need to cut back to a third? Ack the thought kills me. Are gernaniums just never supposed to get so big or something?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 7:06PM
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loisma(z5 Taos, NM)

Thanks for all the helpful info! I live in a passive solar house in Taos, NM, so my plants get lots of sun and usually warmth unless it's cloudy. I've just been bringing my geraniums into the house in their 13" and 15" pots. I cut back the leggy branches and root from cuttings from them. I pinch them back to keep them as bushy as possible.

Here's my question - Do I have to repot these huge plants?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 3:06PM
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