Looking for a few tips and tricks to keep you geraniums gorgeous and flowering big all summer long? Then today’s article is just for you!
Geraniums are one of the all-time classic flowering annuals for growing in flowerbeds, containers and hanging baskets. Their large brackets of flowering petals can brighten up any area of the landscape. Especially when you consider you can grow them in wide variety of colors that fit any need.
Geraniums bloom in red, white, pink, salmon, and a whole slew of variegated combinations. And with just a few tried and true methods of care, you can keep those blooms lasting from late spring to late fall.
Here is a look at 5 simple secrets to help you keep your geraniums blooming and booming all season long!
5 Simple Tips To Keep Your Geraniums Flowering All Summer
#1) Give Geraniums Plenty Of Space & Soil
When it comes to keeping geraniums productive, there are two important factors to consider when it comes to the dirt they grow in. Soil quality, and soil mass.
As in, the soil needs to be fertile enough to provide the nutrients needed for strong growth. And, there has to be enough soil to promote extensive root structure.
Let’s cover the nutrients in the soil first. Geraniums thrive in rich, fertile and well draining soil. It allows their roots to expand with ease and to absorb nutrients quickly. And not just the nutrients found in the soil, but those provided through additional fertilizing through the season.
Unfortunately, if the potting soil is poor, even added nutrients in the form of liquid or dry fertilizers won’t be absorbed by the roots. It either runs right through the plant, or can’t find its way to the roots. Both of which will keep your geraniums from producing new blooms and from flowering.
But not only is the condition of the soil important, so to is the amount of soil available for each plant to grow. That is especially important when growing in baskets, containers and pots.
Avoiding Small / Shallow Containers
Avoid containers that are shallow or small in circumference. Not only do plants run out of nutrients and soil space, smaller containers can overheat quickly in the hot summer sun. In the process, they dry out quickly and damage the roots over time.
It is actually a simple formula for success: The more room and space that is available for soil, the better your plants will perform. Planter boxes should be at least 8″ in depth for best results.
For pots or hanging baskets, select vessels that are at least 12 to 14 inches in diameter. Anything less, and it’s simply too easy for the plants to become root-bound by mid summer. When planting in bed spaces, always amend the soil with plenty of compost to keep soil light and productive.
#2) Pruning /Pinching Back Foliage Early In The Season – How To Keep Geraniums Flowering
If left to their own growing patterns, geraniums tend to grow more upward than outward. This can leave plants and their ensuing blooms looking thin and sparse. But by pinching back the foliage growth early in the season, you can create a stockier, more full-bodied plant.
For best results, pinch back (we use scissors to trim back) foliage and any stems to about 1/3rd of the plants size. This forces the plant into developing new shoots below. In turn, it creates a healthier plant with thick, strong growth at it’s base. All of which then sets the stage for more buds and more blooms all summer long.
#3) Deadheading – How To Keep Geraniums Flowering
To keep new blooms coming on all summer long, deadheading is an absolute must! Deadheading is the process of removing the spent blooms of a plant. And the more often you perform this easy chore, the more your plant will respond with even more blooms.
By doing this, you keep the plant’s energy and resources focused on producing new blooms, and not on trying to salvage what is left of an old stem. As long as dying stems and flower heads remain on a plant, the plant will continue to try to send nutrients its way.
As soon as a bloom stem begins to fade, cut it back to the base of the foliage. Not only will it keep your plant looking neat and tidy, but it will set the stage for even more colorful flowers to come!
#4) Fertilizing – How To Keep Geraniums Flowering
Although geraniums are not massive feeders from the soil, a slow and steady intake of nutrients will help to continually power strong growing habits and full blooms. This is especially true for container and hanging basket plants. See : How To Fertilize Hanging Baskets
Feed plants every two weeks with either compost tea or an all-purpose organic fertilizer for maximum blooms. In addition, mulching plants (even container and basket plants) with a coating of compost will help leach nutrients slowly into the roots below.
Speaking of compost, when planting in bed spaces, always supplement the planting hole with a few cups of compost for each geranium. Compost is the ultimate slow-release fertilizer. Working it into bed spaces will ensure a slow and steady nutrient base for young transplants.
#5) Proper Watering – How To Keep Geraniums Flowering
And that leads to our 5th and final tip, proper watering. Geraniums often suffer more from over-watering than from a lack of water. Especially when growing in pots, containers and hanging baskets.
It is important when planting in a container setting to be sure the vessel has adequate drainage. Check the bottom of containers for drain holes. If there is only one, consider drilling in a few more to help excess water escape.
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When watering, water deeply but less frequently. This allows the roots to head deeper into the soil, increasing both their nutrient intake and their ability to conserve water. If the foliage begins to yellow, it is usually a sign the plant’s roots are water-logged. If this occurs, back of watering for a few days, and check to make sure water can exit the container.
So here is to keeping your geraniums flowering strong all summer long, and to enjoying their lasting beauty all the way until the first frost! Happy gardening, Jim and Mary.
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