A popular choice amongst both inexperienced and highly skilled gardeners, the geranium is hardy and blooms abundantly. In return for their dazzling displays they have simple requirements, namely frequent waterings, a generous degree of sun exposure, and nutrient-rich soil.
Are geraniums the same as pelargoniums?
Although widely referred to as ‘Geraniums’, ivy, regal, and scented geraniums are actually pelargoniums. Due to their similar appearance, they were initially held to belong to the same genus as the hardy geraniums already present in Europe. This decision was reversed when distinct characteristics were identified in the former plant.
Are geraniums perennials or annuals?
Commonly referred to as a ‘Cranesbill’, geraniums are perennials, and will hence reemerge from the ground every spring after a period of dormancy. Pelargoniums comprise of annuals, and therefore live for only one year. If you enjoy experimenting with unique yearly displays (with hanging baskets for example), this shorter lifespan may be ideal.
The care information detailed within this post will focus on geraniums, however, this is not to say that this information should be rendered inapplicable to pelargoniums; both the sunlight and watering advice is still relevant.
What is the Best Soil for my Geranium?
If you are planting directly into your garden’s beds, loose and crumbly, well-drained soil will help ensure a flourishing geranium. If you are planting your geranium into a pot, mix high-quality potting soil and compost together, and add this mixture to a pot equipped with drainage holes.
A geranium’s soil should ideally be rich in organic matter; this can be achieved by mulching their soil annually with leaf mould, rotted compost, or manure. Biodegradable mulching will steadily release nutrients into your garden’s soil, and further improve its composition. We recommend that you mulch the entirety of your beds and borders, preferably after weeds have been fully removed, and when their soil is moist. The optimal seasons to do so are spring and autumn; in summer, your garden’s soil may be too dry, and in winter, it will be too cold.
Once you have gathered your mulch, surround your geraniums with a layer that is between two and three inches thick. Importantly, you must not add a new layer of mulch until the existing layer has fully rotted away, as this could hinder the amount of water that your plants receive.
What is the Best Watering Routine for my Geranium?
Geraniums will relish moist soil, however, like most perennials, they can fall victim to rotting if they are watered too generously. If your geranium’s soil still feels damp to the touch near to two days after watering, it is probable that they are being overwatered.
Soil within containers will retain less water than your garden’s borders and beds, so water accordingly; ideally once every few days.
Why have my geranium’s leaves turned yellow?
Additional signs of overwatering consist of yellowed foliage and dropping flowers, however, if you follow the aforementioned steps, no damage should arise to this extent.
Geraniums are more likely to recover from underwatering, as opposed to overwatering…
How do I protect my geranium from heavy rainfall?
As careful as we try to be in terms of watering our geraniums, the weather isn’t something that we can quite control. In the unfortunate instance of heavy rainfall, try to relocate your container-grown geraniums to a sheltered area (a greenhouse or shed). For geraniums that have been planted in your gardens’s beds, there is unfortunately little you can do. Nevertheless, mulching will mitigate the risks of damage, and covering your geranium with a large pot or bucket will provide protection from strong winds (you can use bricks or stones to keep them weighed down).
How Much Sunlight is Best for my Geranium?
In order to bear the most sumptuous blooms, geraniums should receive full sun for four to six hours a day. A reliable guide is to plant in a location that experiences full sun from morning through to noon, and shade later in the day (shade should preferably be light however).
What is the best geranium for shade?
Geranium ‘Rozanne’ will flower prolifically in more shaded areas, making a welcome exception to this traditional rule. This variety will form violet-purple, saucer-shaped flowers, which complement their delicate, muted green foliage. Rozanne can be ordered here.