US (Switch to Canada)

Information for Gardeners

Gardeners’ Forum: “Geraniums - Winter Storage”

Veseys Home » Learn » Gardeners’ Forum » Geraniums - Winter Storage
Back to Gardeners’ Forum
  • Geraniums - Winter Storage

    Posted by Ray Browne on Friday, October 12, 2001 4:18 PM ADT

    What is the proper way to preserve Geranium plants over winter and how does one revive them next spring?

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Betty on Friday, November 2, 2001 8:52 PM AST

      I've had good luck with two methods. The easiest is to cut your plant back in the fall, put it in a dark place that hovers above freezing, and then in April remember where you put it, bring it into the light, and water it. I'm in zone 4 and sometimes 5, so the April date may not apply to you. Another way is to take cuttings in the fall and root them in dirt - this works better for me than rooting them in water. For this method you need a window with direct southern exposure.

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Janet Fraser on Monday, January 7, 2002 11:41 PM AST

      We have been taking cuttings for years and growing them over the winter...but recently my father experimented with rooting the cuttings in water in a dark container and it worked very well. You can also save whole plants by digging them up entirely, washing the dirt off the roots and turning upside down in a paper bag..tie the bag at the top leaving the roots exposed..put in a fruit cellar or cool dark place.You can put several plants in one bag. In January we replant them in a pot and put in a sunny window..if they get too large before planting time you can take more cuttings! Happy gardening..Janet Fraser, Cayuga, Ontario

    • re: Geraniums - shrub

      Posted by Gerry Cross on Thursday, September 4, 2008 6:48 PM ADT

      This year, 2008, I bought several geraniums that were listed as perennial, small shrub, they are lovely rounded bushes and I was wondering if this is a new variety that I can leave in the ground over the winter? I live in zone 9. Or do I have to remove & dry storage the plants?

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Philomena Ternovoy on Thursday, September 18, 2008 3:08 PM ADT

      I live in Alberta and for the last few winters we have had weeks here and there of minus 30 to minus 40. Would my geranium roots survive in an unheated garage?

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by AJ on Thursday, October 9, 2008 12:36 AM ADT

      I grew scented herbal geraniums over the summer. Can they be treated like regular geraniums and bare root wintered over for next year's growing season?

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Vanessa on Thursday, October 9, 2008 10:54 AM ADT

      Hi AJ - Yes, treat a scented geranium the same way.

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by jane snowdon on Saturday, October 11, 2008 10:49 AM ADT

      I pull out my geraniums..shake off as much soil as i can..put them in paper bags in a cool part of my basement or cellar..about 2 months later i take them them out soak the roots for 1-2 hours ( actually i forgot mine for a day) and shake them off stuff them back into the bags again. I have a 90% surival rate. I just trim off the pieces that don't look great...put the old plant into where i want it and take top cuttings and just start all new plants just sticking them right into pots flower beds etc......i do flower beds for several people and they always do great...i even keep the colors seperate in bags..i'm a hardcore gardener. lol

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Nancy Hendry on Sunday, October 19, 2008 2:31 PM ADT

      Interesting that people still talk about hanging bare root plants upside down in the basement the way our grandmothers used to do it. I was told by a nursery that the geraniums we get nowadays are hybrids and this method won't work - guessing the plants are as hardy as Gramma's used to be. I'm going to see what happens if my individual plants I repotted will survive in the greenhouse and I was checking this site to see what is recommended for how much to cut the plants back for overwintering. I should take some cuttings. I haven't been doing that each year but it makes so much sense to increase my stock.

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Carol Rayner on Tuesday, October 28, 2008 10:03 AM ADT

      I have taken my geraniums out of the ground,but they have long roots. Can I cut the roots off so I can put them in smaller pots for the winter in my cold room?

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Anne Maslow on Saturday, November 1, 2008 10:27 PM ADT

      I have a beautiful large hanging geranium with a trailing ivy in the same pot .We didn't have frost yet , so it was outside until now . Today I trimmed the yellow leafs ,but didn't cut it back and brought it in to our plastic - enclosed porch . Can I leave it there until the freezing comes or should I take it inside already to a cool 60o room ? When should i take the cuttings ? It looks so strong and has several fresh blooms coming out.I hate to dismember it already .

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Lara on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 4:55 PM AST

      In reply to Gerry, above, perhaps what you have are cranesbill (aka hardy geranium)? If that's the case, you don't need to dig them up as they will be fine over the winter -- especially with your mild winters in zone 9. I'm only mildly jealous. I'm actually curious whether the other type of geranium would survive year round outdoors in zone 9...?

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Gerri Raymond on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 1:38 PM AST

      I have a bright green full leafed geranium which blooms with coral flowers, a favorite I'd like to keep 'til Mich. Spring. How far can I cut it back to store in cool apt. storage room in a paper bag with bare root method? Can you diagram?

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by randy on Saturday, December 20, 2008 2:57 PM AST

      I have a potted Geranium that my daughter gave my wife for Mother's Day. I have been diligently taking care of it, but it has gotten scraggly with long branches but few leaves. After being gone for Thanksgiving weekend and forgetting to water it before we left, it is now practically bare. Should I just give up or can I cut it back and will it come back in the spring?

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Heather Ashe on Friday, January 23, 2009 2:14 PM AST

      This is my first year of overwintering garden-grown geraniums. I cut back the stems and put the plants into small pots with garden soil. Some plants had more than one branch coming out of the ground, so I cut them into pieces that each had some roots, applied fungicide to the cuts and put each plant into its own pot. I didn't cut back any roots but I keep pinching back the longer stems to encourage bottom growth. Plants are in a south window. The only problem has been overwatering of small plants with few leaves - they tended to rot. My fault. Geraniums don't need much water. I stored one bare-root plant about 3 months and cut it in two, and found the base of the stem was still very moist inside. Some colours (red, white but don't know the varietal names) did less well in the garden than others, had poorer root systems and are now growing slower than my pink-flowered plants.

    • Hardy Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Lisette Picard on Monday, February 2, 2009 8:35 PM AST

      I am considering buying the JOLLY BEE hardy geraniums from your catalog and I wonder if I would have to dig them up for winter storage. I live in zone 4.

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by sarita on Saturday, February 14, 2009 10:53 AM AST

      Feb14-I put my geraniums in my basement since Nov. I did not cut them back and now they are comng to life with new lwaves and I thin I even see a little flower. I just watered them. SO do I trim off any of the old dried leaves and stems or just leave it and should I put them in sun now???

    • re Ivy plants outdoors

      Posted by Diane R on Sunday, August 30, 2009 1:09 PM ADT

      will most ivys adapt to a garden pot I have one in a 12 inch pot that is clinging to the stone wall should I leave iit there I live in beautiful Vancouver bc

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by BRENDA LEWIS on Thursday, September 10, 2009 7:23 PM ADT


    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by nora on Sunday, September 20, 2009 1:00 AM ADT

      philomena: i believe they can't survive frost. instead of garage, can u staple the brown bags to the ceiling of your cellar...roots exposed above tied top? (as per the lovely advice of janet fraser above?)

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by nora on Sunday, September 20, 2009 1:13 AM ADT

      sarita...i know u wrote this last feb..however i am curious as to how they did this summer. can u update? i am going to store my geraniums overwinter in the granny method for the first time and i want to know when to check them. if they have growth in feb, i am in trouble! i live in ottawa where i cannot plant till june and i do not have enough windows for the number of geraniums i want to bag in the rafters of the basement. i need these buggers to stay non green (to answer your question) till I can put them in containers on the back deck.

    • Posted by Jarry Stevens on Monday, September 21, 2009 9:35 AM ADT

      I've cut back and repotted by geraniums. So I water them before putting them in a near freezing area of the garage Do I water them during the winter? Thank you

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Deb Skotnicki on Monday, September 21, 2009 5:33 PM ADT

      I live in interior alaska. I have two geraniums in pots on the decks. we get to way cold in the winter, like -50 below. what do I need to do to save these plants. We do have a root cellar.

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Patty Mislinski on Saturday, October 10, 2009 4:12 PM ADT

      can I keep it inside?

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by nancy meens on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 2:27 PM AST

      I abrought in my two hanging geraniums from porch. I have them in the basement. Should i cut old flowers off. They appear to be dying. I have watered them sev. times. Is this wrong? Thankyou Nancy Meens

    • re: Geraniums - Spring process

      Posted by sandra erickson on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 6:59 PM AST

      I have wintered over geraniums for the first time by digging them up, putting them in pots and curring them back 2/3. Put plants in cold basemesnt of old house. It is the end of Feb. and plants now look good with new leafing showing on all plants. What do I do now? On 2/24 I watered the plants and now wonder if it is too cold in the baSement (about 50) and if they should be getting sun. Thank you for any help you can give. Sandy

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Kathleen G. ( southern Ontario ) on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 1:01 PM ADT

      I left my beautiful geranium in the pot it came in, put it in a sunny window all winter, it has grown like crazy, plant looks strong and lots of leaves, I put it out in the sun every day and bring it in at night, to harden it off... Should I cut it back now or do you think it will flower this year,. I usually do the grandmother way but forgot this year.. Thanks for any help you can give me, I would realy like to save the plant and have it flower this year.

    • re: Geraniums

      Posted by Jack Needham on Thursday, May 27, 2010 12:06 PM ADT

      flower buds turn brown and die before opening ,leaves appear healthy, what is wrong

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Pat Gates on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 12:08 PM ADT

      I have had good luck overwintering my geraniums in their pots in a cool (just above freezing)dark room, November to April. I just trim the flowers and flower buds off. Bring them into a sunlit room in early April. Cut off any old dead matter and water them. (Make sure to water lightly - they do not like to be too wet. Also, to my surprise, the Diamond Frost (Euphorbia) planted with them has also come back beautifully. Works for me in Zone 3!

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by tracy on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 8:14 PM ADT

      live in saskatchewan, dont know what zone this is. just to be clear, do i water my geraniums until they are put into storage, then either take out of pot, and shake off dirt, or store whole pots,...then leave them in the cellar for the winter, and when dop i take them out?

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Sherry Kinch on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 2:20 PM ADT

      I was talking to an elderly lady she said she had the same geraniums for 40 years. she said she takes the blooms off of them ties them together and hangs them up side down is this right?

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Veseys Customer Service on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 4:26 PM ADT

      There are three ways to save your zonal geraniums from year to year. 1.The HousePlant Method: Prune the geraniums back to ½ to 1/3 of their original height. Then carefully dig each plant and place in a 6-8" pot (cut back roots to fit). After potting, water thoroughly and place the plants in a bright, sunny window. Geraniums prefer a cool indoor temperature. Geraniums will become spindly when grown in poor light and warm temperatures. During their stay indoors, water the plants thoroughly only when the soil is dry to the touch. Occasionally pinch or prune the geraniums to maintain stocky, well-branched plants. 2.The Cutting Method: Using a sharp knife, take 3-4" cuttings from terminal shoots. Strip the stem of all but the terminal bud and one leaf. Dip the base of the cutting in a rooting hormone. Stick the cuttings in a seed medium (sandy) in small pots with drainage holes. Place cuttings just deep enough to be self-supporting. Water thoroughly. Place a clear plastic bag or plastic dome over the cuttings. Place the cuttings in bright light, but not direct sunlight. Rooting should occur in 6-8 weeks. Plant the rooted cuttings in 3-4" pots in well-drained (sandy) potting soil. Fertilize new cuttings every 2 weeks with 10-52-10 at half strength. Care for the rooted cutting the same as for the potted plant. (You may also take cuttings in February by following the “Dormant Method”) 3.The Dormant Method: Cut away half of the growth with sharp scissors. Dig up the entire geranium and plant in a 6-8" pot. Store in a cool, dark spot at 7-10C(45-50F). Unfinished basements, unheated garages are ideal. Water only enough to keep the soil from becoming completely dry. All of the leaves will fall off, and the stems will become woody. In February, when light levels are increasing, trim the stems by one third and bring into a location with lots of direct sunlight, and very warm temperatures (your warmest window). Water just enough to moisten the soil. Allow the top 2/3 of the soil to dry out between waterings. When the new growth appears, remove the plant from its pot and shake off the old soil. Repot using new soil. Fertilize every 2 weeks with 20-20-20. This newly awakened plant can now become your stock plant, take cuttings once shoots are at least 4 inches long.

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Pam Couch on Saturday, October 16, 2010 10:33 AM ADT

      I believe my Grandma hung her geraniums upside down somehow on a rope in her cellar each winter. Not sure if she watered them or not. Should I put them in a bag with roots exposed and hang upside down, no watering, until spring? Can I just set the hanging pots in my basement in a dark corner without covering them and just leave them alone till spring? Thank You So Much

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by carole moore on Sunday, October 24, 2010 7:07 PM ADT

      I am experimenting with several ways to winterize my geraniums. Currently I am at my summer property where we turn the temperature in the cabin to 50 degrees from November to May. I have dug up my geraniums and was going to hang them upside down in paper bags (roots exposed) and then plant them in May when I return to my cabin. Do you think this will work? or should I take the plants indoors, leave them in their pots, making sure to give them a good watering in late October? As I said above I won't be able to do anything with the geraniums until I return in early May. Which way do you think will be more successful? which way do you think will produce plants quicker?

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Jack on Monday, October 25, 2010 3:23 PM ADT

      I will leave my plant outside in the winter. Should I cut of the tops or leave them on

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Margo Bjornsson on Tuesday, December 21, 2010 7:59 PM AST

      I have a lovely hanging geranium (four plants in a basket) I was told by a nursey to cut them back and leave it in a bright space inside. Is that correct? Do I water them at all?

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by syl on Monday, April 18, 2011 5:27 PM ADT

      I left my scented geraniums outside over the winter. Looks like they didn't make it. Is it possible for geraniums that have been left outside to survive the next spring? I live in zone 6b.

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Brenda Perkins on Sunday, October 23, 2011 7:22 AM ADT

      Can I store my geraniums in a cardboard box- earth shaken off and leave them in the garage without watering until the spring when i would transplant back to pots.

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Kathy Sopa on Sunday, November 6, 2011 7:23 PM AST

      Have no basement, can I put them, in their pot, in my little (plastic) greenhouse in the garage in a brown paper bag til March? I do have the opportunity to bring them to my parents basement also. Won't have parent's basement forever so would like to have a way to winterize in Wisconsin weather with no basement and no room in the house only the garage.

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Bre Madsen on Monday, April 30, 2012 6:08 PM ADT

      I have bought several geraniums since I have moved to Alaska I had a hard time at first getting them to live so I could have them outside in hanging pots. I found the easiest way to keep them and still be ready to plant them in the spring. Was to cut them back in fall and find a place in your garden that gets the most sunlight first especially up here in Alaska. I raise mine for hanging pots around the eaves of my home. So when they first start popping up I dig them up and put in pots, then I put them in my entry where is stays cool but not freezing anymore. They come back strong and bigger every year. As when they start to grow in my entry way it's not long before they are strong enough to be put out doors. A little at a time. By May mine are in full bloom and hanging out doors. This is the web site I used to get my suggestions of growing geraniums in Alaska. I just read the messages here and tried it different ways till I found one that I liked best. Thanks Bre

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by carol nichols on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 10:06 PM ADT

      brought my geraniums out from the cellar and watered them- about10 days ago. No sign of life yet-how longwill it take???

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Ninafaye Aldridge on Thursday, November 21, 2013 3:34 AM AST

      I live in zone 9 (Seattle,WA area) and need to store my geraniums outside under the eves - which side of the house would be best (in containers)?

    • re: Geraniums - Winter Storage

      Posted by Sheila B. on Sunday, January 26, 2014 7:57 AM AST

      I have successfully wintered my geraniums by repotting in the Fall and putting in a sunny window for the past 3 years. I also taking cuttings and root them successfully. However, this year the plants are not flowering and generally not doing well, and the cuttings are not rooting. I'm doing nothing different. Could it be that they're too old? I can't figure out what happened. I was so proud of their success for the past 3 years. Any help is welcome. Thanks. Sheila

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be displayed on the fourm.
Your message will appear on the site after it has been reviewed by Veseys staff. Your patience is appreciated.