Growing Geraniums in Containers
Q: Why grow geraniums in containers?
A: Because itís easy!
- Watering and weeding are easy - thereís just the pot to water and weeding is almost completely eliminated.
- Itís easy to move them around - you can have color where ever you want it, almost instantly.
- No garden is required - you can grow them on the front steps, the back deck or your apartment balcony.
- Ivy geraniums are easy, low care plants for hanging baskets.
- Itís simple to move the pot inside for the winter if you want to keep your geraniums for more than just the summer.
Q: What sort of container should I use?
A: Any commercially available pot should be fine - or you can create your own container. Just keep these things in mind:
- The container MUST have holes in the bottom, so extra water can drain out. Geraniums HATE wet feet and will not be happy in soggy soil.
- If you plan to move it, make sure it isnít too heavy. Terra cotta (clay) pots are ideal for geraniums in many ways, but the big ones can weigh a lot.
- Remember that your geraniums are going to grow and some of them can get pretty big. Make sure your container fits the plant. A pot six to eight inches in diameter is big enough for one Miniature and Angel geranium; many zonal geraniums will eventually fill a ten inch pot, especially if you keep them from one year to the next. If you are growing them just for the summer, you can crowd them a bit more.
Q: What about the soil in the container?
A: Geraniums donít like soggy soil, so choose a good quality, well drained potting soil. Avoid the "cheap stuff" - remember that you get what you pay for. And never use garden soil!
Q: Can I combine different geraniums in the same container? Can I mix them with other annuals?
A: Of course you can! Here are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Geraniums vary a lot in size and vigor; be careful to combine plants so that slower growers wonít be swamped by more vigorous plants.
- Ivy geraniums are trailers and are great for spilling over the edge of containers.
- Combine geraniums with other plants that like full sun and well drained soil, not shade loving water hogs!
Q: Iíve got my geraniums, the perfect pot and some good potting soil. What now?
A: There are just a few more things you should know:
- Plant geraniums the same depth as they are in the pot you bought.
- Geraniums donít like cold weather! Keep them under cover until after chance of frost.
- Most like full sun; fancy leafed geraniums prefer afternoon shade. Scented geraniums will smell stronger in full sun
- Donít over fertilize Ė once a month with a balanced, liquid fertilizer is enough. Too much fertilizer will give all foliage and no bloom.
- Water when the top inch of soil is dry- poke your finger into the soil to test it. Remember: geraniums donít want to be overwatered, but they are not cactus! If the old leaves on your geraniums are drying up and turning brown, they arenít getting enough water. Geraniums only wilt if they are desperate; if water is just moderately short, they will sacrifice the older leaves to provide younger leaves with enough moisture.
- Geraniums donít have too many pest or disease problems. Remove old, spent blossoms and brown leaves to prevent problems with fungus diseases, water properly and you should be all set!
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