U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Geranium Revival

They say you are not a real gardener if you can't throw plants. Fine. I might be not a real gardener. Nothing will make me to throw away a nice plant just because winter is coming and I can buy such plant next year. Let's take geraniums. Zonal geraniums. Like these ones:

As always, click on the picture to make it larger

The picture above was taken in July, but they still bloom in October here. I agree that their color doesn't go well with Halloween decorations...

Instead of discarding, I pull them out, shake the soil off and keep them in the garage during winter.

When we had a basement, I used to attach them to wire hangers and hang upside down. Now, I just keep them in the garage. They dry up and might look pretty dead.

I throw away those plants that are obviously won't make it.

Some of them look alive, they even have flowers:

No watering in winter. In spring, I trim them and shorten the roots a bit.

This year, I decided to soak their roots, but this is the first time I did it. I don't think it'll make a big difference.

Then, I plant them directly to the flower beds or in pots.

If some pieces of cut branches look good, I put them somewhere to see if they start to grow (this time, I put a couple of them near my peas). Thus, I can have additional plants.

I checked the geranium pots recently. Here they are:

The one on the right side doesn't look perfect, the front one looks good and the left one makes me happy. Nice, nealthy plant:

Hopefully, in June they will look like this:

As for the Martha Washington geraniums, I keep them in the garage in their pots in winter.

Cut them very low in fall, start watering very lightly in spring, and here they are today:


  1. Good information on geraniums. Yours look beautiful and full. The small plants look healthy too. Happy gardening... Becca

  2. Really cool! I'm still learning about plant cuttings. I just received a vanilla orchid cutting yesterday! I have no idea what I'm doing with it... :)

  3. Thanks for the geranium tips!

  4. Great information - I bought 2 small ones this year to try again. I never did too well with geraniums but found out I tend to overwater my flowers in pots and that's why I guess. I did, however, have the tiniest little geranium I've ever seen and kept it in my greenhouse every year and it would come back. But . . . I forgot to take it in this year - I think it's all gone.

  5. Hi Tatyana

    I think geraniums which have overwintered develop more character each year. Apart from getting bigger, the stems somehow are more interesting than sappy new season cuttings.

    Happy gardening!


  6. Yes, I do roughly the same, only without the trimming and so on. I've lost very few.

    Your pots look lovely! Isn't exciting watching them come back to life?

  7. Great post. I throw NOTHING away. However I am usually on the recieving end! I find someone to give to. No matter what the plant, someone will want it. I keep my geraniums throughout the winter as well. I keep them under a protective area. They look dead, but they aren't. They have come back with great force and are all blooming and doing well

  8. Very nice, I thought the martha washingtons only bloom once? is that not true? Great post on the geraniums!

  9. I do the same thing every fall and bring in geraniums and whatever else I can make room for because I hate to see them go to waste. My geraniums are reviving now also.

  10. How cold does it get in the winter where you live? Thanks for the information.

  11. I have a hard time letting plants die too Tatyana. I usually haul everything I can into my basement (pot and all) but this is a great tip (to shake off and hang upside down). It wouldn't take up much space. I'm sure your begonias will be beautiful again in no time.

  12. Great post and I was going to say the same as Rob, Geraniums seem to get better each year.

  13. Fantastic! I would never have thought of keeping them dry and hanging them up like that. I shall give it a try.

  14. Thank you for this post! So many ask me if they can do this. I shall now tell them yes.

  15. I'm amazed to hear so many of you keeping plants through the winter. My mother had beautiful geraniums and begonias and she kept them in the basement..but our farmhouse basement was not habitable. It had stone walls, dirt floor, and flooded relatively frequently. My plant saving habits declined rapidly after working in the green industry. It is true in that instance that the better run facilities are ruthless about throwing things away.
    Here in the NE, the week after Memorial Day is a day of reckoning for plant retailers and loads of things are thrown away.
    I think we backyard gardener derive satisfaction from our ability to grow beautiful vibrant things--many of our gardens started from nothing--so keeping everything alive is important to us. Great post Tatyana.

  16. I had no idea you could do this with geranium. What a great tip!

  17. I'll have to try overwintering geraniums; you make it sound so easy.

  18. My wife gives them the same winter treatment. Now if she would only do the spring thing :)

  19. I love geraniums! I've been spreading them around by garden for years just by putting cuttings into the ground. Luckily I don't have to bring them in. Thanks for the info!

  20. Great tips! I'll definitely give this a try. I was afraid my basement was to warm and the garage was too cold, but I might have a perfect spot at the bottom of the steps to the basement since the steps are inside the attached garage. It would probably make a good root cellar, since we never use that door. I've been leaving mine in pots under a light in the basement.

  21. Great info! I'll have to try it especially since I spend some much on geraniums every summer. -Jackie

  22. That's wonderful that you're able to overwinter them, Tatyana. They may not go with pumpkins, but they sure look pretty in spring.


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