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Gardeners’ Forum: “Winterizing Geraniums”

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  • Winterizing Geraniums

    Posted by Kathie on Sunday, October 1, 2006 11:55 AM ADT

    Just wondering what everyone does to over winterize their geraniums. I have so many, but do not have window space to keep them all in the sun. Any suggestions?

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Wendy on Friday, October 6, 2006 8:00 PM ADT

      Try this: Once finished for the season, prune your potted geraniums (get rid of dead leaves, etc) and place them in their pot in your basement (let them dry out). Pay no attention to plants until March or so, then bring the pot out into a warm, sunny location, and water regularly. Within a few weeks, you will see new growth. Re-pot and enjoy for another summer! Or, try this: uproot the geraniums you wish to save and hang them (roots included)in a dark, dry place in your basement for the winter. In the spring, re-pot, and water regularly. I have had great luck with the first method and, on at least one occasion, did not even add new soil the second year (although I would recommend it). Good luck!

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Shirley Sniher on Saturday, October 7, 2006 6:41 PM ADT

      Dig geraniums before a killing frost. Shake any loose dirt off the roots and lay them out to dry in the garage in a single layer for about 3 or 4 days . Then put the whole plant in a paper bag.I fold over the top and hang them (with pant hangers) in a storage closet in the basement.Around Feb. or March they can be brought out and potted up with fresh potting soil, watered and put in a sunny window. Don't be fooled by their dead appearance, they will soon start to send out new leaves from the life stored within their thick stems. You can trim them back when potting to a more pleasing shape. Works for me.

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by joe obrien on Friday, October 13, 2006 8:09 PM ADT

      stay tuned - I have a tremendous amount of Geraniums that I grew from seeds and i hate the thought of letting them be slaughtered by a New York winter. I also dont have the space to place a lot of potted plants to sit for a few months. so i am going to try your method , assuming i can find a brown paper bag somewhere - everything is plastic these days !~ stay tuned I will get back to you in March or April regards Joe O'Brien staten island - new york

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Dean P on Sunday, October 22, 2006 11:24 AM ADT

      I use cardboard boxes to store my geraniums in. You can stack them if neededd, and I keep them in an unheated driveunder attached garage. It works really well with temps averaging 55-65. Remove dirt from roots and dead leaves. Probably 90-95% survival rate. Be sure to start checking them in mid-Feb. With any signs of green its time to repot them with watering and light until safe for outdoors. This year I am labeling w/plant details.

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by p on Saturday, September 1, 2007 6:19 AM ADT

      help! im a brit living in Rome,Italy..Do you think I need to take my geraniums inside for the winter? We don't get a frost. I was told that re potting would be enough, any thoughts?

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Patty G on Sunday, September 16, 2007 1:39 PM ADT

      Just wondering how 2006's geraniums made out in 2007 spring? It is that time of year again and I have wonderul geraniums plants and want to keep them until next year

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Gail on Monday, September 24, 2007 3:08 PM ADT

      I Have a lot of geraniums in a barrel planter on my upper deck area, I have heard that you can invert a heavy black plastic pot over top of them for protection from the wind and elements and they will regrow again in the spring, have you ever heard of this being done?

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by DKM on Tuesday, October 23, 2007 5:30 PM ADT

      About the Geramium is Rome: I lived in Southern Califronia most of my life. It has what they call a Mediteranium cilamte. Over the winter we didn't do much of anything to the geraniums. Basically ignored them. Left them in pots or in the ground. Come spring, we cut them back (got rid of dead/dry stuff). They always came out just fine. Many plants went through 10+ years like this. When cutting back, anything green was struck in the ground to root and make a new plant.

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Susan on Monday, November 12, 2007 3:43 PM AST

      I am trying the brown bag method of winterizing geraniums for the first time. 2 weeks have passed and there is still lots of green leaves on them. Do I wait or pluck them off? or cut the plant right back? I live in Ontario Canada.

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Alex Mounsteven on Saturday, April 5, 2008 7:42 PM ADT

      i'm trying this for the first time and went with method two... i had four plants with a spectaular pink/purple colour i wanted to preserve... so i put them in a bag in the garage (hung upside down) until last week when i brought them in... i trimmed back the stems and planted them in 'miracle gro' earth... watered them well (once)... and put them in a window... its been 4 days.. and two of the plants have mould around the stem... *why*

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by margaret on Friday, September 26, 2008 8:09 PM ADT

      does anyone know if you can winterize ivy geraniums and if so how do i do it?

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Vanessa on Monday, September 29, 2008 11:10 AM ADT

      Read the discussion so far, an Ivy Geranium is treated the same way as a regular geranium. Here's what Veseys has to say on the subject: http://www.veseys.com/ca/en/about/website/faq/#question22

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Virginia Bain on Monday, October 20, 2008 3:29 PM ADT

      I have winterized my geraniums by brown bag before and it works well. If you can't find paper bags just use newspaper to wrap each geranium in and wrap twine or string around the stem part and hang them upside down in the basement.

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by rosemary on Monday, October 27, 2008 2:07 AM ADT

      I love the idea of storing the geraniums in a brown bag over the winter. My basement is where my oil burner is and may be to warm?? If so I will try my garage. Just half of them the bag/way the other half in pots just to make sure I don't lose them all.

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by edie hampton on Wednesday, November 12, 2008 3:33 PM AST

      I live in the seattle area temp in winter around freezing,got 25 georgeous geraniums could I put them in unheated garage for the winter?w/no light water or not?

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Betrty on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 1:38 AM ADT

      I didn't know how to winterize geraniums so I took them out of the dirt and put them in glass jars filled with water in my basement which is cool and near natural light. Will these plants rebloom in summer when I repot them in dirt? One geranium has buds so I was hopeful until I read that they needed to be in paper bags! Need advice.

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Irene on Wednesday, September 16, 2009 2:46 PM ADT

      I have a home that does not have a basement, how do you suggest I prepare geraniums for winter storage?Your help will be appreciated Thanks

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Phyliss on Sunday, September 27, 2009 9:43 AM ADT

      I hang my pots in my basement sunroom and have had mixed results. My question is should I water them over the winter?

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Loretta on Monday, September 28, 2009 10:29 AM ADT

      I too don't have a basement and live in a very small home with no closets! But after reading all the suggestions I'm going to try this: dry the geraniums (it's raining today) wrap each individually in newspaper then place in a cardboard box in a room that is used very little and is on the cool side and is quite dark.

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Joan Erickson on Thursday, October 1, 2009 7:14 AM ADT

      If I put mt geraniums in a brown paper bsg for the winter do I need to water them?

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by lois monroe on Monday, November 2, 2009 5:41 PM AST

      I have dug up the geraniums after two frosts, put them in pots and sat them in the basement on pallets. I want to try method one but I noticed some small worms as I placed them in the pots. Will this make any difference since I will not be watering them?

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by sharon weiner on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 6:12 PM AST

      I am trying to save geraniums over the winter in NJ. They are from my mom who recently passed away and I would love to keep them blooming for years to come. Suggestions? Have a garage no basement

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Pauline on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 3:06 PM AST

      I had success by accident. I left the geraniums, out of pots in a bin in my hallway over the winter. It was dark and coolish and I never watered them. They started to leaf and bloom in Feb/March and are still very much alive.

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by darlene on Sunday, November 22, 2009 1:39 AM AST

      I took my geraniums out of the pots and placed them in a open container in the garage. They are starting to turn black especially the leaves. Should I save them or is it to late? I live in Central New Jersey.

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by janara on Monday, March 22, 2010 7:19 AM ADT

      i have bullseye scarlet geraniums in pots which were very green and flowring in summer but with the heavy snow they have died. is the any way they can grow back.

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Joanne McCallum on Sunday, May 9, 2010 9:23 AM ADT

      I have 6 large pot Geraniums I stored in brown paper bags. It is May and we are still getting frost. When can I just plant them outside in the garden. What do I do now? We live in Saginaw, MI

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Genny Olson on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 1:31 PM ADT

      I am going to try and keep them over the winter. If I put them in brown paper bags, do I have to hang them. Can I just lay them down?

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Lila 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: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Karen Mathiason on Wednesday, October 27, 2010 2:49 PM ADT

      I have saved "winterized" my 20 geraniums the last 3 years w/great success. In the fall when it starts to get fairly cold outside, I bring all my geraniums in, knock off all the dirt and then lay them flat on my pea rock in my crawl space under the house. I "forget" all about them till Feb., trim them, and repot them in small nursery pots, water them faithfully, and put them in my south window for warmth & sun. By the end of May it's time to show them off outside.

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Connie Westberg on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 5:30 PM AST

      I wanted to keep my geranium in my kitchen over the winter. Do I just cut it back or what?

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by toni lawson on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 11:10 AM ADT

      I have a mother plant that I'm putting to bed for the 5th time.. I bring her in (in original pot) put her in a corner in the basement without much light and leave her until Feb/Mar and bring her up to the sunny window, water and fertilize, cut back to 1/2 her size, and wait for summer to take her back onto the back deck.

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Tina on Sunday, November 27, 2011 10:08 PM AST

      I have plenty of room, do I need to remove the plants from their pots or can i leave them and water occasionally?

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Ronald Emmerson on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 1:25 PM AST

      I lift my geraniums before the first frost, cut them back ruthlessly to about 3", pot them up in appropriate sized pots, and keep them in a frost protected greenhouse. They show new shoots within 2 - 3 weeks, and then go on to flower. This way I have flowering geraniums all winter, even with snow outside on Christmas Day. After May I plant them out again in the garden. Does nobody else do the same?

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Cheryl Smith on Sunday, February 12, 2012 2:27 PM AST

      Thank you all for your questions & replies. I have 3 very small geraniums that I cut back & potted for show in my bay window all winter here in NH. I was wondering about how soon to put outside. I think I'll harden them & plant Memorial Day weekend when all my other planting begins.

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Debbie Martin on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 4:51 PM AST

      I have successfully gotten my geraniums through winter by keeping them in the house.Though I did not trim them when i brought them in for winter (I thought they would die ), they have green leaves and occassionaly some blooms, At this point, how far back should I trim them?

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Kandi Jolly on Sunday, December 2, 2012 8:47 AM AST

      I too have no basement, live in NEA AR and want to know if the glass jar or just bringing them into garage is best.

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Susan on Friday, March 15, 2013 12:47 PM ADT

      I live on a mountain in NC, I have 13 planters potted with geraniums. I took all the dead leaves off them after the freezes and what remains are just the stalks. Will they comeback this spring as I left them out all winter in their planters...what should I do with them? Thank you!!

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Pat on Monday, June 24, 2013 4:40 PM ADT

      I have a huge garden of geraniums. I live in Pasadena, CA and would like to know how to keep them healthy during the winter and rain season. They are beautiful.

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by jane germain on Saturday, November 9, 2013 4:51 PM AST

      I want to winterize 2 geranium plants in the garage (no heat) How is the best way to do it? They are both beautiful plants

    • re: Winterizing Geraniums

      Posted by Barbara Clark on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 1:21 AM AST

      I have a marvelous potted geranium that I forgot to bring in in a freeze a couple of weeks ago. The leaves died. I took them off and tonight cut back the stems to green. I live in an RV. I plan to keep it in my bathroom all winter. We are in Oregon. What do I do to the cut branches. Should I paint them with something? Thanks, Barb

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