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3 Secrets To Keep Geraniums Blooming Big – All Through The Summer!

Want to know how to keep your geraniums healthy and blooming big all summer long?

Geraniums are one of the all-time classic summer flowering plants. With their bright green foliage and large brackets of flowering petals, they can surely brighten up any area of the landscape – whether planted in flowerbeds, containers or hanging baskets.

But if there is one thing that can be a bit frustrating for gardeners, it’s watching their geraniums start to fade as soon as the hot summer growing season arrives. All too often, once thriving plants with loads of bright blooms in the spring often become weak, brittle plants with just a few lackluster blooms by mid summer.

keep geraniums blooming
The large petals of a geranium flower are nothing short of spectacular!

But here’s the good news – with just a few simple tips and tricks – you don’t have to watch your geraniums fail as soon as the thermometer starts to heat up. In fact, not only can you keep them healthy all summer long, you can have your geraniums flowering big all the way until the first frost in late fall!

3 Secrets To Keep Geraniums Blooming Big – All Through The Summer!

Making Sure Your Geraniums Have What They Need From The Start

Unfortunately, all too often, geraniums fail because of how they are planted – not because of the care they receive. That means right from the start, it’s important to make sure your plants have what they need to grow and bloom with gusto!

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 throughout 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.

In addition to soil quality, the amount of soil available for each plant to grow is also vital. That is especially important for geraniums that grow in baskets, containers and pots.

fertilizing the soil in geranium pots
It’s important to plant geraniums in larger pots – it gives them enough soil mass to last a full growing season.

Always avoid planting geraniums in containers that are shallow or small in circumference. Not only will 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.

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.

Once your geraniums are set up for success, keeping them blooming then comes down to three simple tasks – the first of which is deadheading on a regular basis.

#1 Deadheading Geraniums – How To Keep Geraniums Blooming Big All Summer

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 simple chore for your geraniums, the more your plant will respond with a big increase in 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.

Listen In Below To Our Podcast For More On How To Deadhead Annuals & Perennials!

As soon as a bloom stem begins to fade, cut it back to the base of the foliage. This can be done quite easily with a sharp pair of scissors or small hand held pruners. Not only will it keep your plant looking neat and tidy, but it will set the stage for even more colorful flowers to come.

Don’t Forget To Pinch Your Plants Back – How To Keep Geraniums Blooming Big All Summer

Beyond deadheading, you can also pinch and prune your geraniums back when they begin to get a bit leggy. If left to their own growing patterns, geraniums tend to grow more upward than outward. This can leave plants and their ensuing blooms looking quite 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 foliage and any stems to about 1/3rd of the plant’s size. This forces the plant into developing new shoots below.

In turn, it creates a healthier plant with thick, strong growth at its base. All of which then sets the stage for more buds and more blooms all summer long.

To keep geraniums from getting leggy, pinching back and pruning is a must.

#2 Fertilizing Geraniums – How To Keep Geraniums Blooming Big All Summer

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 sets of blooms. This is especially true for geraniums growing in containers and hanging baskets.

The key when feeding geraniums is to feed them consistently but with a lower dose and to power your plants every two weeks with a fertilizer that has slightly more phosphorous and potassium than nitrogen. Product Affiliate Link: Jobe’s Organics Granular Fertilizer, Organic Fertilizer for Geraniums

Unfortunately, if you provide your geraniums with too much nitrogen, it overpowers them. This results in plants that actually produce far less blooms. It’s more important to feed them phosphorous and potassium, as it promotes buds and flowers.

#3 Watering Geraniums – How To Keep Geraniums Blooming Big All Summer

Finally, to keep your geraniums in great shape all summer, proper watering is a must. Geraniums often suffer more from over-watering than from a lack of water. Especially when growing in pots, containers and hanging baskets.

It’s 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.

how to fertilize geraniums
Fertilize your geraniums with a fertilizer that has more phosphorous and potassium than nitrogen. This will promote far more flowering instead of just growth.

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 off of watering for a few days and check to make sure water can exit the container. Here’s to keeping your geraniums flowering strong all summer long right up to late fall! Happy Gardening – Jim & Mary.

Old World Garden

Jim and Mary Competti have been writing gardening, DIY and recipe articles and books for over 15 years from their 46 acre Ohio farm. The two are frequent speakers on all things gardening and love to travel in their spare time.

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