geranium looks pitiful!

plant_lover_grow(z 8b-9a)May 27, 2010

Can somebody tell me what I need to do to revive my zonal geranium? When I bought it it had flowers all over it and now they have all withered and the new growth is very sluggish, the new leaves that have come out are very small in comparison to the older leaves that were on it when purchased. The older leaves are browning and I don't know what to do to save it from this pitiful state.

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Have you changed it from the pot it came in? It sounds like it may be pot bound. The roots go around at the bottom and the plant can't take up what it needs to grow. Often plants you buy are root bound. Get a larger pot and more soil.

Tip the plant out of it's pot and look at the roots. Do they go around at the bottom. If they do gently loosen them so they are hanging down--don't worry if you break the odd one, you are doing the plant a favor by loosening the roots. Give the roots a couple of gentle squeezes from side to side and repot in the larger pot. Water it and keep it in a shady place for a few days. Wait a couple of weeks and then fertilize.

If your plant came with one of those foil wrappers around the pot, then get rid of the wrapper. They may make the pot look prettier but are no good for the plant.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 9:54PM
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plant_lover_grow(z 8b-9a)

I've already removed it from the pot that it came in and re-potted to a bigger pot.

I've had it in the pot that it is in now for about a month, and I have fertilized it a couple of times already, but it still isn't coming out like it should.

From what I have read about zonal geraniums, they are heavy feeders that need at least 6 hours of sun every day, and fertilized every 2nd or 3rd watering. I have it on my front porch and it gets about 6 hours of sun a day. Is that enough?

I also have read that they don't like to dry out in between waterings either. Is this correct?


    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 10:45PM
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When you put it in a bigger pot did you notice the roots? If it was potbound just putting it in a bigger pot isn't enough. Those roots that were going around and round will continue to do that unless you straighten them out. They can't take up either enough water or fertilizer.

Geraniums need much more sun than 6 hours. They are sun hogs and like as much as they can get.

I don't know where you got your info but it is not true. Geraniums don't like to be kept too wet and DO like to dry out between waterings. Keep them too wet and you are inviting black leg a deadly geranium disease. They are not heavy feeders either.

I plant at least 50 geraniums every year. Half of them sit on my south facing patio and get around 15 hours of direct sun. When it's very hot they get a bit more water but they do dry out between waterings. The only fertilizer they get is time release when they are planted and a bit of water soluable fertilizer near the end of summer when the time release is done. I grow some inside all winter, so I can take cuttings, and they get very little fertilizer then. I always have beautiful flowers

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 12:23AM
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plant_lover_grow(z 8b-9a)

I can't recall if the roots were encircling the original pot, but I usually always loosen the soil around the roots when I re-pot.

OK, I'll have to see that they get more sun than they're getting.

I thought that they liked to dry out between waterings too. I found that info on the web in several places, that is why I took it as worthy advice. I'll have to start allowing the soil to dry before watering.

I don't have any time released fertilizer, all I have is a liquid fertilize (Miracle Grow). Will that be sufficient? If so, what is a proper fertilize regimen?


    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 12:51AM
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Sure you can use miracle grow. I would only fertilize about every 3 weeks. I use time release because it takes the hassle out of fertilizing.

If it's not the roots then it might be that you were watering too much and it's not getting enough sun.

I'm going to try and download a photo of some of my geraniums. The is a 1 light and 1 dark pink geranium, a pink hanging geranium with a bit of gloden oregano.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 1:16AM
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plant_lover_grow(z 8b-9a)

I was also told that you're not supposed to get the leaves of geraniums wet. Of course I don't see how that advise can quite measure up if they're planted outside in a flower garden and nature brings a rain on them. Is this a true advise, or another mislead?

Thanks oilpainter for all your advise thus far.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 8:38PM
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It is a good practice to try not get the leaves of anything wet when you water. Of course sometimes you do but you should try not to. Not that Geraniums are different than other plants or more suseptible to plant disease. Rain is another matter the leaves of everything get wet then and there is nothing you can do about that.

The practice of not wetting leaves is to head off fungal diseases and avoid burning the leaves. A wet plant especially at night can become a host for fungal diseases. Fungal diseases spread by water droplets splashing from one leaf to another. Water on leaves in the hot sun can burn them. Besides it is a waste of water that is better in the ground than on the plants.

I have a wand hose nozzle, with a soaker setting, that I use for watering. It lets me get under the plants and lay down a good amount of water in a short time.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 2:40PM
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plant_lover_grow(z 8b-9a)

Thank you oilpainter for your generous advice. I will make these changes and hopefully my geraniums will perk up.

Oh and BTW your geraniums in the pic you posted are beautiful! I'm anxious to see mine that pretty! :)


    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 4:23PM
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westy1941(Boulder County, CO)

Wow - golden oregano with geraniums!!! How gorgeous is that! I'm running out today to get some to tuck in.

You must be in Canada?


    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 12:34PM
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I took mine outside to get sun and kinda left them out to long and now they are back in house but one side isn't coming back I am not if they get to much water or not I have a water globe in it and it drinks one per day

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 11:58PM
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The geranium is blooming fine but the leaves are pathetically small! What it is the problem??

    Bookmark   October 14, 2014 at 1:11PM
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