How to Grow and Care for Geraniums
An easy-to-grow perennial, geranium
is often used in borders, rock gardens, and as a ground cover. Another common name is cranesbill.
Geranium is a diverse group containing types that grow in a range of conditions, from full sun to shade. Flower colors include pink, blue, white, and purple. Most geraniums blooms in midsummer, although some species will bloom in spring and fall. Plants grow 6 inches to 4 feet tall, depending on the variety. These true geraniums are not the annual flowers commonly grown in windowboxes, which are more properly referred to by their botanical name, Pelargonium.
Special features of geraniums
Easy care/low maintenance
Choosing a site to grow geraniums
Select a site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. In hot climates, choosing a site with moist soil and afternoon shade will improve vigor and prolong bloom.
Plant in spring, spacing plants 6 inches to 2 feet apart, depending on the variety. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.
Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Cut back the plant after flowering to stimulate new growth and reblooming. Divide plants every 3 to 4 years as new growth begins in the spring, lifting plants and dividing them into clumps.