Geraniums (Pelagoniums) belong to the same plant family as the hardy Geranium. They are are a great bedding plant and often used in summer floral displays.
However they are tender perennials and so are not frost hardy in cold regions. You may decide to buy new plants in the spring or propagate by cuttings but as an alternative you can keep your existing geraniums for next season by overwintering them carefully.
You may decide to cut the plants back to encourage regrowth in order to make the plants more bushy or you can keep the plants as they are. Prune the geraniums back to 1/2 to 1/3 of their original height. Prior to digging your plants up check them for signs of disease such as rust and clean off any dead leaves or flowers.
Before the onset of frost, around end of October, dig up your geraniums from the garden.
Geraniums require a free draining soil and do not like to be waterlogged so good drainage over winter is essential. Carefully pot them up into individual pots using a free draining compost which incorporates 30% perlite or grit and water gently.
Move to a frost free greenhouse, conservatory or windowsill. Geraniums like warm and sunny position. If the plants are warm and in good light, they are very likely to continue to grow and flower during the winter. The most important factor is to keep them frost free at all times, ideally at around 5 C/41 F.
Keep the air surrounding the plants dry to prevent the onset of moulds and rot by ensuring you have good ventilation. Continue to water when the soil becomes dry as the plants are still growing and will require some moisture to the roots. Occasionally pinch the geraniums to produce stocky, well- branched plants.
Geraniums can be replanted back into the garden in the spring after the risk of frost has passed, usually from May onwards. Remember to harden them off for a few weeks before placing them in their final positions.
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