Bringing Geraniums Indoors for the Winter....

chester_grant(6)September 25, 2005

If I transplant my geraniums into pots and bring them indoors as house plants during the winter can they be replanted in the spring with no ill effects? Will this affect their flowering and or growth at all?

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melrt968(u.k. scotland)

If you are talking about half-hardy pelargoniums, then yes. I am in the process of bringing some of my pellies into our conservatory. I keep these plants at + five degrees Celsius in a well lit situation until the winter frosts have gone and then they can be replanted in outdoor tubs in early June. Do watch out for pests and fungi and do not overwater. They should be fine

    Bookmark   September 25, 2005 at 12:24PM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

Yes, they will love it. And if they have enough sun, you'll get to enjoy their blooms all winter.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 11:14PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Yes. You can keep a geranium going for years this way: plus have lots of material for cuttings and make new plants. I have a couple of 5 year old whoppers I haul inside every year (mine I keep in pots: have not planted them directly in the ground). Give them the sunniest spot you have. They will get somewhat leggy but keep nipping off the growing tips to induce branching instead. Then a few weeks before you are ready to put them out again start some cuttings from the leggy tops. They will need less water too than outside. They will flower inside but it is sporadic...but a nice treat when it happens! Next year their growth will be way ahead. They can get enormous over a few years.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2005 at 1:09PM
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I have had Pelargoniums the past three years (in pots) and have always brought them in over winter. Trouble is, my small house only has two little windows with sills big enough to hold potted plants, and these windows face east; the plants get VERY leggy and I lost two plants last winter. I do have a large basement but I don't have any growing lamps and can't really afford to start buying a lot of greenhouse type supplies. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 8:43AM
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Chester.....please allow me to address Mel in U.K. for a second.

Mel, your U.K. zone is what, ....your method for keeping over geraniums in temperatures of 5 celcius is fine for storing them...but not what I think Chester has in mind.

If I'm not mistaken Chester, you wish to bring your geraniums in from your garden....pot them up and keep them going as houseplants.

That is entirely possible.
You should dig them up, take them where you can remove the garden need to wash them....but before re-potting, cut them back by at least half...more if you wish.

Remove any damaged or weak branches and leaves, tease the roots open more and pot them up.
Into a pot with fresh new potting soil (you can mix it with peat moss and coarse sand if you wish to improve drainage)
make sure to keep the soil up away from the drainage holes.
Clay shards work great. Water to the point of drainage in the saucer below. Allow full drainage, then dump the excess in the saucer. Then, no further watering until new growth is evident. Allow the soil to dry down between waterings and always, when you water, do so until drainage is seen. Then dump the excess.

Do not feed until new growth is evident, then do so at 1/2 rate 20/20/20 every 3rd or 4th watering.
If you use liquid fertilizer, water first, then apply fertilizer.

Turn the plant 1/4 turn every day so that all parts of the plant receives equal light.

As the sun diminishes as we get closer to the winter solstace (December 21) you may wish to supplment light by giving it artificial light.
Until mid February when the light gets better the plant will not grow much.

If you have a place in your basement that is kept cooler than the rest of the the range of 40 to 50 F...
(5 to 10 C), you can keep your geraniums cool and dry until mid February when they can be brought back out, cut back, repotted, given much better light and they will re-foliate and eventually re-bloom.

Its your it it later.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 8:46PM
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melrt968(u.k. scotland)

Answer for Diane; most of the UK is about zones 7/8. We do not have the extreme cold you have in Ontario, although we have been promised some very cold weather for January.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2005 at 5:28AM
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melrt968(u.k. scotland)

When I said that I kept my Pellies at +5 degrees Celsius I should have added that is the MINIMUM temperature. During the day our conservatory usually warms up.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2005 at 11:11AM
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thecurious1(z5 Chicago)

Hi All-

My question has to do with storing geraniums over the winter. Through the largess of the flower gods I may acquire 70 bright bushy scarlet geraniums. My goal was to store them for next spring (and the glorious masses of color thatI could never afford!) I assumed that I would trim all flowers, most of the foliage and clear the roots of dirt. I would them put them in the basement NOT under light in a black plastic bag. I would then remove them from the bag in March (I live in chicago) and allow them some light and maybe spray a weak foliar fish emulson to give them a start while still in the basement and plant them in May. Am I on the right track? What can I do to keep them dry and reduce the chance of mold?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2005 at 12:39PM
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I remove all the dirt off the roots and trim most folage away and store in a paper bag( In a cool Basement). Allows air to pass so no mold problems. I repotand water them in April and they come nice for me every year. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 8:19AM
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Boop: my Iowa grandmother used to pull up the geraniums from her garden & hang them in the basement from the roots! I guess from your posting this would work? I never could understand why grandma would do this & never believed they would again grow outdoors in the garden the nexr year!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 12:43PM
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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

I kept my geraniums in the unheated basement (40-50 degrees) over the winter with minimal watering and almost no light. They are still alive, but the small leaves that some of them started trying to put out are of course pale and weak.

I have brought them back up while it is still largely overcast for them to experience a little light.

Should I cut them down hard now, or cut them later after the leaves can get some sunlight? When to feed?

I tried hanging upside down in the basement before, but that didn't work (you need more of a root cellar arrangement I think for that), so decided to try this method this winter. At least they are ALIVE!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 4:40PM
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Leave the growth on them. Give them a little water but not too much. Put them in indirect sunlight and gradually over the period of a couple of weeks gradually move them more and more into direct sunlight and gradually increase the water.

If you have a light set up start with about 3 hours and gradually increase to 15. You can give them a haircut after they get growing well

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 9:45PM
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I tried the dry roots hanging in our basement (about 52'F all winter) but no success! I now cut them way back, crowd them into window boxes and some individual pots and then put them in one wide window with plant light and the pots go into windows that my DH made the windowsils just wide enought for flower pots!

They are lovely but some years it's difficult to cut them back (to 1/2 or less their size). I have three I really love of the STELLAR type that are the only ones I've seen recently--no one near us sells them anymore!


    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 2:39PM
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Even though many of the above messages are from past years, the information about over-wintering geranium (pelargonium) applies in 2012----soon to be 2013.

I notice many have suggested sprinkling their saved plants while in storage ...this is a NO -NO....its not necessary and in fact can lead to many problems. Mold, mildew among them.

The geranium is one of a very few breed of annuals that can be brought back as good as ever---better in fact--from its old self.

Let's understand what water does for a plant. It initiates feeds leaves which gives strength to the plant and promotes bloom.
The geranium in storage, has no leaves to speak of--remove them, no bloom to support...remove them as well; and any
Heat---if temperatures go above 50úF (10 C) given minimal light, and then you water it, it can initiate growth...which, of course, will have no strength, be lanky, weak stems and utter poor health. This can lead to a very sick plant.

Let it dry out completely. No water, no light, no heat. Your geranium will come back as good as ever when you determine the best time when the sun returns to support it. That happens about the middle of February in the north.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 3:27PM
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