Geraniums and Pelargoniums forum→In-ground geraniums.

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(Zone 10a)
_Bleu_
Mar 30, 2019 6:59 PM CST
This is my first time posting to this forum. Hello all! Smiling

I love geraniums but, up until seven months ago, I was convinced that they did not love me back. Sad Last summer I bought five lovely little plants with orange blossoms. I've always kept geraniums in pots but I had heard that, in my zone, geraniums can become large bushes so I put these five guys in the ground and hoped for the best. A few weeks later they were starting to look awful and some insect (maybe bees?) had made lots of round holes in their leaves but then, all of a sudden, they took off! The five geraniums started growing, by December they had doubled in size.😀The plants looked so healthy! And then we had two and a half months of relentless rainstorms. It stopped raining two weeks ago and the geraniums are now exploding with blooms. Lovey dubby

So, dear geranium people, could you please tell me what I have to do to help these plants stay healthy and keep growing?

The ground is starting to dry now. Today I fertilized some of my plants, and it was also the first time they got watered in two weeks, but I did not touch the geraniums - I wanted to ask for your advice first.

These plants get direct sun from 11:00 to 3:00 and they are in a breezy location.

- Do they need fertilizer now (or at all)? The soil is clay and drains very well.
- Should I spray them with something to prevent insect infestation? What works best?
- I water my plants by hand and I know not to water from above. Do in-ground geraniums do better in drier soil?

These are three of them, the other two look the same:

Thumb of 2019-03-31/_Bleu_/e54997

Thumb of 2019-03-31/_Bleu_/21ab5a

Thumb of 2019-03-31/_Bleu_/5e9387

Thank You!
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Mar 30, 2019 11:52 PM CST
THey are very healthy! I would water them about once a week.
THey may need some fertilizing but use dilute.
DO they have bugs ? If not dont do any spray.
If they have bugs...maybe use an insecticidal soap.
(Zone 10a)
_Bleu_
Mar 31, 2019 1:32 AM CST
Thank You! Caroline. Smiling They are healthy, yes, but down here we go seven or more months without rain (last year we stayed completely dry from the first week of March to December) and it can get sizzling hot (115 F) in July and August.

I am hoping that someone growing this kind of geranium in zone 10 that can answer the questions I posted above. It would be very helpful to know how others manage to keep their in-ground geraniums healthy in dry and hot weather.

Edit to add: I just realized that this forum hasn't been active for quite some time. @tarev, the weather in northern Cali is much wetter than here and I know you have most of your plants in pots but maybe you know some forum member in CA who has in-ground geraniums?
[Last edited by _Bleu_ - Mar 31, 2019 1:50 AM (+)]
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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
Bulbs Region: Canadian Garden Ideas: Master Level Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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CarolineScott
Apr 1, 2019 12:46 PM CST
Yes , it is better to have advice from your Zone.
[Last edited by CarolineScott - Apr 2, 2019 9:20 AM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Apr 6, 2019 1:18 PM CST
Hi _Bleu_ saw your treemail Smiling

In my garden, my Pelargoniums are all in containers. One thing I like about them, they do not get bothered with bugs, it seems the ones I have has a certain scent in its leaves that they hate. So I have their containers in between some other containers that are prone to bugs, so those buggers do not try to cross over to the other plant.

My area is so thermally hot during summer, so it helps that the plants gets only morning sun and then dappled shade in the afternoon. It is too hot for them. Similar to how some succulents react with intensely dry triple digit heat, I find they slow down in growth during summer. They look sad actually during the long hot and dry months. They perk up again towards Fall to mid Spring with blooms coming around towards mid to late Spring. Temps in the range of 60F to 80F is what I find they like the most. At the 90F and higher range, expect the plant to slow down.

Looking around the area here, I see they plant the geraniums more in part sun/shade area even for those in ground. It only gets rainy here during winter, so like your area, we suffer similar long dry period. To some extent I find these plants drought tolerant, so I just make sure during the long zero rainfall period, the plants gets watered thoroughly at least once a week, early in the day before the hot sun shows up. I may repeat a second thorough watering during the week if our forecast keeps holding in the triple digit mark for a much longer duration. I am not much of a fertilizer person, so I hardly apply any fertilizers to them.
[Last edited by tarev - Apr 6, 2019 1:20 PM (+)]
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(Zone 10a)
_Bleu_
Apr 6, 2019 3:15 PM CST
Hi @tarev! I missed seeing your posts, glad you are back. Smiling Group hug

Something is eating mine again, just like last year. The leaves do have a scent but I guess not strong enough. I took these photos a few minutes ago:

Thumb of 2019-04-06/_Bleu_/0b6cd1

Thumb of 2019-04-06/_Bleu_/68683b

Thumb of 2019-04-06/_Bleu_/a1205a

It would look like the work of at least two different kinds of insect, wouldn't you say? I know that a type of bee cuts round holes in the leaves of some plants but I don't know if that's what's happening here. The last photo shows something else. Do you recognize the damage?

Yes, you are right, they seem to do great in that temperature range. Last summer, they looked terrible during the heatwaves, poor things. I planted them in the shadiest and breeziest part of my yard. We'll see what happens this year that the plants are twice as large and have an established root system. Hopefully, they'll cope better.

But I need to find out what is eating their leaves so I can treat the problem as soon as the plants stop blooming.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Apr 8, 2019 9:38 AM CST
The leaf damage on your plants somehow looks like slug/snail damage to me. Try to see at night if they show up.

I am eagerly waiting for the return of my garden friends, lady bugs and praying mantids. Smiling
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Apr 9, 2019 10:49 AM CST
_Bleu_ I forgot to say, I love the way your plant grows such a nice clump! And you are ahead in the bloom aspect. Mine is just starting to make some blooms. I think the duration of light your plant gets is okay. As I mentioned earlier, try to water thoroughly once a week.

Here are two of mine right now. My awkward garden is angled a bit, so as you can see the plant tries to seek a bit more light as it grows towards the light. In some ways makes it grow unruly, but eventually it will temper itself when the super dry and hot weather returns and as more tree foliage grows, giving it more dappled shade. For now, I am just enjoying the bloom formation it does. My garden is extemely messy right now, the trees dumping lots of catkins and leaf kernels..my annual springtime woes!

Pelargonium crispum 'Prince Rupert'
Thumb of 2019-04-09/tarev/ba413c Thumb of 2019-04-09/tarev/0112fe

Pelargonium hortorum 'Tricolor'
Thumb of 2019-04-09/tarev/f13263 Thumb of 2019-04-09/tarev/366ffc Thumb of 2019-04-09/tarev/c3c241

(Zone 10a)
_Bleu_
Apr 11, 2019 12:20 AM CST
Tarev, when I put them in the ground, last April, they were less than a foot across, now the smallest one is 3 feet wide and the largest (photo #3 above) is almost 4 feet wide and they are starting to climb that wall. I guess I'll have to start trimming them after they are done blooming. I haven't seen any snails or slugs but they must be hiding in there. Black widow spiders are not uncommon here, they are on the lizards' menu (thankfully); some of the lizzies spend a lot of time under those geraniums and I can see spider silk between the plants. This makes inspecting these plants rather difficult/dangerous (a black widow bite sent my neighbor to the ER last spring, she was watering her plants and the spider bit the side of her foot) and because I don't want to harm the lizzies, then I'll have to find a natural way to control whatever is making those holes in the leaves.

Your Pelargoniums are very pretty. What's the name of the one in photo #1?

Re: watering, these ones are thirsty creatures. For the past two weeks I've had to water them twice a week.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Apr 11, 2019 9:26 AM CST
Oh yes, those black widows, have them here too. Thankfully they are more nocturnal too. Photo #1 is Pelargonium 'Prince Rupert'.

This is the time of the year I am still cautious with watering since early mornings are still quite cool. But it has been so dry now and been windy.

Later on my problem will be grasshoppers. Rolling my eyes.

Got to enjoy the cool month of April, 80F's and higher coming soon!
Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
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ShawnSteve
Apr 15, 2019 12:10 PM CST
Leaf cutters & army worms can do leaf damage.
As for triple digit heat, I recall a woman used to hang hers from the edge of the patio roof, tied upside down, until it cooled off. Then simply replanted, once summer had adequately started to cool down enough, for actual growth & flowering.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Apr 15, 2019 12:24 PM CST
Hey @_Bleu_, we got some rain forecast later tonight..hope you get some rainshowers too!

The weather is warming up faster too, I hope your geraniums are doing much more blooms now.
Just sharing Pelargonium 'Prince Rupert' again, with the warmer temps, it quickly showed nice cascade of blooms Lovey dubby
Thumb of 2019-04-15/tarev/c3ca55 Thumb of 2019-04-15/tarev/dbe247
(Zone 10a)
_Bleu_
Apr 15, 2019 5:42 PM CST
40% chance of rain tonight but that usually means no rain. Big Grin

My geraniums continue to bloom (and leaf) like crazy. Here's one of them, just took this photo:

Thumb of 2019-04-15/_Bleu_/66815f

All those leaves want lots of water...
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Stay Home-Save Lives-Wear a Mask!
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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tarev
Apr 16, 2019 7:19 PM CST
So pretty! Lovey dubby Lovey dubby
Tunisia
Potato01
Oct 29, 2019 6:37 AM CST
I always see those holes in my plants during some times of the year, I think those are caterpillars that later become butterflies, I don't mind and I don't spray them with anything, unless there's too much damage to the plant, those are only few holes don't worry about it, that's just the life cycle.

I planted once some leafy vegetables and they were fully eaten, so unless you have vegetables you have nothing to worry about, but keep an eye on your plants anyway, so if there's too much damage to risk killing the plant then you should spray.

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