Pruning Advice

Crenda SWFL 10ADecember 29, 2013

This is my first attempt at growing geraniums (or not?) in SW Florida. The plants are almost 3 years old, in a raised planter with good drainage. They used to get morning sun, but I lost the palm (to ganoderma) that gave them afternoon shade. I have never pruned them.

You can see that there are a few very healthy stems in the group, but most look leggy and gnarly. Those gnarly stems feel almost hollow in spite of have a few leaves at the top. And the good stems are connected to the yucky ones.

The leaves and flowers are much smaller than they used to be as well.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Crenda SWFL 10A

I collected some seed last year and this is one of the plants. It, too, is getting tall with smaller leaves and flowers.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 11:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Crenda SWFL 10A

And lastly - this is the sad state they were in at the end of summer. I was gone for 3 months helping my mother through chemo, so they were quite neglected - but apparently bloomed well through the summer!

I think those in the pots can be pruned and do well. Do you think the same is true for those in the planter? Would I do better to pull them out and start over - and include pruning in their care?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 12:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Crenda SWFL 10A

I'd like to add that I do deadhead regularly. Last summer was an aberration in care. During the summer the plants get plenty of rain water - perhaps too much.

We do not have a dormant winter period here, so I have been fertilizing once a month with MG. This is actually the time of year when my geraniums usually look their best.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 10:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hello Crenda
i do like your geraniums and to learn that you have been able to survive them in SWFL heat is credit in itself

i am new to geraniums not an expert but my thought would be this make them survive summers and at the end of rainy season plant cuttings and try to root them before winter starts , probably your plants need repotting that is all
like i sad not an expert and someone would surely help.

even i am in zone 10a and have not been able to make my geraniums survive Summers and rainy season
this will be my third attempt in 2014

kindly give me some tips on making them survive in summers and rainy season
besides what potting soil do you use?

thank you

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 12:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Crenda SWFL 10A

I think mine have survived so long by luck. I really didn't expect them to last this long! I had 2 large pots of white geraniums that lasted about half way through the summer. They were out on the sun deck and I now realize they baked from the top and bottom. That deck gets hot!

This planter is at the end of the sun deck. It's about 6 foot by 18 inches and about a foot deep. I dug out some dwarf ixora and found it was nearly pure sand with a pea gravel topping. I mixed in a big bag of MG garden soil, but it's still pretty sandy. I mixed in the pea gravel, too, and topped it with mulch. Those in pots are in garden soil. (Don't know why I started buying garden soil instead of potting soil, or if there is much difference between the 2, but it has worked for me so far.)

I know the planter has good drainage. There are 2 pipes on the other side that drain out from the bottom. The pots seem to drain well, too. Maybe that's the secret, because those months with 12 inches or more rain can lead to a lot of rotting plants. My begonias rot away every summer.

I think I'll give repotting a go before they get to be too sad looking. We're still in the low 80s to mid 70s.

Here's a picture of the planter from this morning. Those on the right got shade in the heat of the day (before we lost the tree). They look great if you don't get too close and see the stems! LOL

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 5:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Although zonal geraniums are a perennial keeping them growing for 3 years without a dormant period can shorten their life. The one in the pot however looks pretty good so I'd just cut it down and give it good light so it can bush out. I'd cut it down to the last growing shoot on each stem.

You could try the same with the one in the planter but I think a better idea would be to take cuttings off of them and make new plants.

In our cold climate I overwinter my geraniums under lights and take cuttings in the spring. I will plant out both cuttings and my over wintered plants. When I bring them in I choose ones that were cuttings the spring before. I find bringing in the old plants results in a poor showing in the summer. Right now I have 6 bushy geraniums under my lights and some hanging geraniums. Off of those 6 plants I will get over 40 cuttings in a couple of weeks when I take them. I've grown them for 30 years the same way and experimented with the best way to take cuttings and this is the way I do it.

First you must make sure everything you use is very clean.

Take your cuttings: With a sharp knife or sharp scissors cut about a 4 inch piece from the growing tip, cutting just below a leaf. All roots and branches come from a leaf joint.
Remove all but the top 3 or 4 leaves. Let your cuttings callus over--Lay them out somewhere on newspaper. Mine sit on my spare room floor. Let them sit for about 5 days. The leaves will look wilted and dead but they're not. The cut end will shrivel and dry. Letting them callus over and watching the water cuts down on blackleg a deadly fungal disease especially to geranium cuttings.

Now plant your cuttings. In a clean pail mix your soil with the water so you make sure the soil is damp right through. Use a soilless mix like pro mix or one that is formulated for seeds and cuttings. Just make sure it has no fertilizer in it. You want the soil wet but not too wet. Squeeze a handful and some moisture should come out but not a lot.

Fill your pots and make a little hole in the center with your finger or something else that will make a small hole.
Dip about 1/2 inch of the cut end in rooting hormone. It comes in powder or gel, either is OK as long as it's for soft wood cuttings. I use Stim-root NO. 1. After it's dipped put it in the hole and cover it in, and you're done.

Keep the soil moist but not overly wet. They will look wilted at first but that will change as it starts to grow roots. You will know it's rooted when it starts to show new growth.

I keep mine indoors under lights but if your weather is permitting you could try doing it outside in a protected place. I'd experiment with a few first and if those come out all right you can always do more.

If they've lost their shade protection you may have to move them. Geraniums are of mediteranian origin and the climate there is what they prefer

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 11:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Crenda SWFL 10A

Thank you for the instructions on cuttings! I do have a nice bright area under the lanai roof that will work for the cuttings. I also noticed some seed pods on those in the planter. I'll collect those in due time and give them another go.

Yes - I am afraid the loss of shade is a death knell for these guys where they are. I've already had to change what was growing below at the bottom of the deck. This is a southern exposure with a light colored house and deck and the sun is intense in the summers. I do have a foyer near the front door that will give them morning sun, protect them from the evening sun - and brighten my entry!

Thanks again! I will be getting some proper soil and begin a new crop!

(I know that these are not particularly special geraniums, and I could buy replacements, but it is so much more satisfying to propagate on my own!)

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 12:26PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Geranium cutting- how long before they flower?
Hiyas, I took some geranium cuttings (zonal) about...
What is the name of this flower?
Hello, I was wondering if anyone knew the name of the...
Citaniila geraniums
im in need of some happy colored geraniums.. id like...
Starting from seed.Scarlet Pelargonium x Hortum
I will be starting Geranium inspire Scarlet Pelargonium...
Parks Maverick Mix Seeds - Good for starting from seed?
I have never grown geraniums from seed. My first choice...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™