Friday, September 4, 2009

Long Live Our Geraniums!

Pioneer women found ways to bring some beauty with them into the wilderness, as evidenced by the flowers still growing around homesteads now long gone. Not far from my home is just such a place with no building evident, but perenial flowers to mark the spot a family once lived. Even in a hand-to-mouth existence, natural beauty made a difference and was a refining element in the lives of those women and their families.

We're not all that different from those women in our desire for flowers, though much of our floral beauty these days is found in pots near our front door. Pots, whose crowning beauty is most often one or more geraniums -- those gorgeous blooms that cost you an arm and a leg every single year.

Mourning the loss of my geraniums after an early cold snap last fall, I decided to find out if there is a way to preserve the plants for another year. I found a wonderful video produced by Garden Gate Magazine about how to overwinter geraniums in boxes in the house. Watch the videos linked below and learn how to do it. If you start with the first video, the rest of the videos will cycle through without having to click on each individual video.

Overwintering Geraniums

Listening to the video, I think you can do this even after the first freeze.

Addendum April 2010: It's now April of the next spring, after I followed the procedure in the video. I realized the video did not tell me where to put the repotted geraniums -- in sun? in dark? I went looking for more info and found another website that lists several different options for wintering geraniums. I like options, so here it it is. I especially like step 7, that shows how to rehydrate the roots, but I have not tried it myself yet. Still, though, nothing in that site that tells me what to do with the plants after repotting them in the spring. I did find the answer, though, on the Iowa State University Extension website, in an article appropriately named "Overwintering Geraniums, linked here. Quoting the article:
Place potted plants in a sunny window to initiate new growth. It often takes several weeks for plants to initiate growth after dormant storage.
Addendum  October 2012: Here is a Youtube video with an alternate method of saving geraniums by  doing cuttings and putting them in potting soil. This method is also supposed to work well with ivy geraniums as well as the other types. This way will be more work, as you will have to water them over the winter and keep them in the light, but you can also have more geraniums next summer than you did this summer.  Below is the link:

Great Gardens - Making New Geraniums

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