The Q&A Archives: Zonal geraniums

Question: I received a small zonal geranium as a gift last summer and brought in inside for the winter.It continued to produce leaves and get very leggy. How do I get it to flower again? Should I keep it as an indoor plant or put it outside? I haven't found any instructions on how to manage this plant and never had one before.

Answer: Because zonal geraniums are tender plants, many gardeners in winter cold regions such as yours take their plants indoors over the winter months and set them back outside in the spring, when the weather warms. Take your plant outdoors now and set it in a shady spot for several days, then move it to a spot with a little morning sun, gradually increasing the amount of sunshine it gets. This will help it acclimate to outdoor living. In a week or 10 days it should be hardened off enough to go into full sunshine. At that time you can cut it down. Cut each stem to just above a leaf scar (or node) and it will produce new stems from the leaf node. It should flower a few weeks after it has developed new stems. In the fall you can reverse the process by first cutting it down to a managable level and moving it into a shady spot, then indoors. It should overwinter just as well this winter as it did last winter. (p.s. to keep it from getting leggy again, remember to pinch out the stem tips every month or so. This will help it produce lots of new stems and remain bushy.)


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