Is it a goner? (Johnson's Blue question)

SandL(6a KS)July 26, 2005

I'm new to hardy geraniums so I need some expert advice.

I bought a Johnson's Blue early last spring and planted it in my whiskey barrell with water retentive potting soil. We had a few good rains which made the whiskey barrell into a boggy mess for a while. Shortly after, I replanted the geranium into a pot until I could get the chance to hammer out the bottom of the barrell. All this time the geranium would get shade until 1:30 and then full sun until evening. It's also looked like it's been on a steady decline since I bought it.

It's been back in the bottomless whiskey barrell for two weeks now. Most of the stems are brown with maybe 7 green leaves left. I've made sure the soil has stayed moist, I've fertilized with Miracle Gro every two weeks and even trimmed it down a bit in hopes of encouraging new growth. It's gone from fairly good sized to a pathetic existance for a plant. What have I done wrong? Should I bother getting another one and starting over or should I wait and see what happens next Spring?


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SandL(6a KS)

After reading some posts on deadheading and cutting back geraniums I followed the advice and snapped off all the old stems from the plant's base. Surprise of all surprises I'm getting a slew of new shoots ready sprout. Perhaps all is not lost after all.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2005 at 9:42AM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

Heather, sorry no one answered your post, but I am glad you are seeing new growth. Hardy geraniums are tough plants, but you were right, they don't like bogs. I'm wondering, will your Johnson's blue survive over winter in the whiskey barrel? I have all of my hardy geraniums in the ground, so they can go through the proper winter cold spell dormancy that they need.

And just to clarify something, this is probably the most confusing forum of Garden Web. We talk about two very different plants here, geraniums, and pelargoniums. Then to add to that the pleargoniums are commonly called geraniums, a leftover from when old Linnaeus was going about naming plant species. He though the plant pelargonium was the same as geranium, so named it that. Victorians fell in love with the pelargoniums (which were named geraniums,) and just never got the new name into useage when botanists realized the two plants are differents species. Both do belong to the same family though (or is it order? darn, I've forgotten all that high school biology class!!)

But, true geraniums, which is what you have, are hardy perennials, native to the US and parts of Europe. Pelargoniums, which are those bright flowers sold as annual potting plants, and also grown for their scents, are native to Africa, are succulents, and do not over-winter outside in colder climates. Those are the ones that get more dead-heading and fussing over. (Usually.) Anyone that wants more information on this, there is also something in the FAQs :-)

But both are lovely plants. I have both.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 8:51PM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

I see the geraniums folks discuss deadheading too, so I take that back- the bit about pellies get fussed over more ;-) Sorry all.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 9:06PM
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