bringing geraniums in for the winter
This pot full of geraniums has been brighten up my front porch all summer and fall and I’m not ready to say goodbye to colorful flowers even though the first frost is upon us. It’s my tradition to haul the geraniums inside for long, snowy winter here in the Utah mountains- this is an easy enough task with a few simple guidelines and a couple of tricks.
I split my four geranium plants from the giant outdoor container into their own personal pot, each small enough to sit on the window sill. Geraniums are very forgiving and don’t mind being moved too much, they should handle the upheaval well. With a small spade, dig out a good sized root ball (at least the size of a very large grapefruit) and place it into the new pot, adding extra potting soil as needed and packing it all down.
The trick to keeping geraniums blooming while indoors is placing them in a very sunny place, with direct sunlight. If they don’t have at least 4 hours of direct sunlight they will act like any other houseplant- be green but not blooming. Also, to keep the plant from getting leggy (increasing in size but not necessarily looking very good) you must pinch off the new growth leaves (the light colored tiny leaves pictured above). This goes against all of my gardening/mothering instincts but it must be done to keep the plants fairly compact and forces the plant to put all of its energy into produce flowers, not getting bigger.
Pinch back the flowers as they begin to wilt and die to encourage new flower growth. Water with miracle gro or other plant food every time you water- regular water isn’t enough. Water about every 4 days or whenever the soil look and feels dry.
As the snow piles up, and the cold wind blows in January and February, you can cuddle up near the sunny window full of flowers with a cup of tea and soak in the bright, cheerful colors. Flowering geraniums in the dead of winter always help chase away the seasonal blues and look forward to the return of warmer days.