Did you know that one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your geraniums blooming strong all summer long is to deadhead them at least once a week?
Although adequate sunlight, proper watering and steady fertilizing all play a major role in the overall health and performance of a geranium plant, regular deadheading can actually be just as vital when it comes to just how often and how many blooms they produce.
So what exactly is deadheading? Deadheading can best be described as the process of removing fading, dying or dead blooms from a plant. And though it certainly helps plants look better – deadheading more importantly helps plants re-bloom faster and stronger. Especially when it comes to geraniums!
Geraniums & Their Blooms – How To Deadhead Geraniums
The long stems and massive dome-shaped blooms of a geranium bring huge color wherever they grow. To produce those thick stems and blooms, the plant requires a lot of energy and nutrients. In addition, they also use even more power to help them flower and maintain those beautiful blooms.
But here is the kicker – when the blooms of a geranium start to fade and die off – they keep on using energy. Even as blooms start to lose their petals and the stems begin to wilt, the plant continues to send nutrients to them in an attempt to keep them healthy.
Surprisingly, this energy loss will happen continue to occur until the spent blooms and stem completely fall off fall – and that is exactly where deadheading can save the day!
The Importance Of Removing Old Blooms – How To Deadhead Geraniums
Instead of letting the blooms fade slowly and eventually die on their own, gardeners can help speed the process along by deadheading. And the quicker you remove the fading blooms, the better. In fact, as soon as a flower and stem starts to look less than vibrant, it’s time to deadhead!
Without deadheading, the plants waste tremendous amounts of energy trying to keep old blooms going – which in turn results in fewer new blooms being set.
The good news is that immediately after the bloom and the seed head are gone, the plant refocuses its energy and resources on creating new blooms. How fast? Believe it or not, geraniums can create new flowers in just a few days when they have the power to do so.
How To Deadhead Geraniums
When To Deadhead Geraniums
A great thing about deadheading geraniums is that it is a simple task and takes only a few minutes to perform. But, as you will see below, how you prune and what part of the flower and stem you prune is very important to helping your geranium bloom more.
For starters, early removal of fading blooms is the first key to success. You can tell when a bloom reaches its peak beauty when some of the petals start to brown around the edges. In addition, the long stems that support the bloom clusters might also start to droop a little bit.
It almost gives the appearance that the stem is tired and unable to keep its head up. It is at this point that you can help the plant most by removing the bloom and stopping the flow of resources. But where you cut back the fading flower is important!
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How To Deadhead
Unlike petunias or impatiens which have small delicate stems that can easily be cut with your fingernails, geraniums need the assistance of small pruners. A small pair of pruners or sharp scissors will definitely make the process fast and easy. (Affiliate Link: Fiskars Micro-Tip Pruning Snips)
It is vital to not just snip the bloom off right behind the flower cluster. If you only remove the flower, it still leaves the seed head behind it in place, and it will continue soaking up resources. Instead, you want to trim back the entire flower stem down to where it meets the plant.
This will help keep plants looking tidier and cleaner. It will also prevent the plant from sending resources through the empty stem as well.
It’s best to check your geraniums at least once a week to deadhead. The entire process will take only a minute or two per plant. However, it will make all the difference not just with more blooms, but in the vibrancy and health of the plant. The more resources it can keep, the more it can use them to stay healthy.
As tempting as it might be, avoid putting the spent blooms in your home compost pile. The entire seed head is full of geranium seeds. Most home compost piles will not be able to get hot enough to kill those seeds. This results will be unwanted plants wherever you go to use the finished compost down the line.
Prune Spent Foliage
Along with the faded blooms, you also want to take time to cut back any damaged or dying foliage as well. The same principle applies to the foliage as it does to the blooms. Even if the foliage is dying, the geraniums will continue to send resources to these damaged parts. This takes away precious nutrients that could otherwise be used to create new blooms and healthy foliage.
Additional Tips To Keep Your Geraniums Blooming Strong – How To Deadhead Geraniums
Be sure to keep up with watering your geraniums. As the temperatures rise during the hot summer months, the amount of water your geranium needs will also increase.
Check plants often for moisture levels. You will most likely have to water your geraniums daily. In fact, sometimes a couple of times each day in extremely hot and dry weather. This is especially the case with plants growing in containers and hanging baskets.
In addition to watering, don’t forget to fertilize your geraniums. Giving plants a steady and slow dose of fertilizer through their entire growing period will help to ensure the plants have enough nutrients and resources to create those new blooms.
Use an all-purpose liquid fertilizer every 14 to 21 days for the best results. If you are using a commercial fertilizer, only use about half the recommended dose on the container to avoid plants pushing out too much foliage instead of blooms.
Here is to deadheading your geraniums – and keeping them blooming strong all season long! Happy Gardening, Jim and Mary.
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