Sometimes referred to as Cranesbills, Geraniums are a popular specie of herbaceous plant. There are six types of geraniums that flourish in all different colors, including white, pink, purple, mauve, reddish-black, and orange. These colorful flowers get their name from the long, narrow fruit that grows on them, said to represent a crane bill.
The good news is, if you’re trying to grow geraniums, they’re pretty straightforward. Geraniums are a great starter plant because they are some of the easiest flowers to grow. For this reason alone, geraniums are one of the most popular plants for beginner gardeners.
So how do you grow geraniums?
Let’s start with what you will need:
- Seeds: If you want to grow any plant, you’ll need seeds. You can buy seeds online or in almost any garden center.
- Pots: Geraniums aren’t complicated, so you can use almost any type of container with a sound drainage system to pot them. It’s wise to start your seeds in a smaller pot and then move them to a larger pot once the roots grow. You will need one pot per seed. You can also plant your geraniums in your garden or a hanging basket.
- The best type of soil for geraniums is loose organic soil. Geraniums don’t generally react well to fertilizers or unique soils, so keeping it natural and simple is the best method. Neutral or alkaline soil is the best.
- Light: Geraniums grow the best with 10-12 hours of sunlight per day. When growing indoors, you’ll want to keep your geraniums near a window to allow them to soak in as much sunlight as possible. You may want to provide partial shade during the hottest hours in sweltering temperatures. You can also grow seedlings under specialized gardening lights.
How to Grow Your Geraniums
As the next step, you have to plant your geraniums and wait! Here’s how to grow them:
- Step 1: Add moistened planting soil to your pots, about 2-3 inches in depth.
- Step 2: Plant one seed in each pot and cover it with a thin layer of soil. Avoid planting the seed too deep.
- Step 3: Cover your pot with a transparent cover (or you can use plastic wrap) and place them in an area with indirect sunlight. Geraniums do best in temperatures between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. You should remove the cover once a day to allow for moisture to escape.
- Step 4: Wait for your seeds to germinate. As soon as you see any green, move your geraniums to a larger pot. Depending on the types of geranium you are using and the conditions they are grown in, this process can take anywhere between 3 days to 4 weeks.
- Step 5: You’ll want to move your re-planted geraniums to an area with lots of bright light. South-facing windows work well, as do grow lights. Ten to twelve hours of sunlight per day is ideal. If the soil becomes hard to the touch, provide it with a bit of moisture. You can also use a half-strength liquid fertilizer once per week. If your plants start to outgrow their potter, move them to a larger one.
- Step 6: About one week before you intend to plant your geraniums outside, you’ll want to “harden them off .” It would be best to acclimate them to the outdoor weather by placing them outside for a few hours a day and then bringing them in at night. You can gradually expose them to more and more outdoor time over the course of a week until they are finally ready to be planted in the garden.
Other things you should know before growing Geraniums:
- Geraniums are easy to grow but require a lot of patience. They can take up to 16 weeks to grow fully.
- You can grow your geranium indoors at any time of year.
- Geraniums have a long blooming season and can last from spring into fall.
- You can bring your geraniums indoors over winter!
- Geraniums have a low water requirement, but consistency is best. Both overwatering and underwatering can cause harm to your plant. Allow your soil to be almost dry before moistening again.
- Geraniums can be poisonous to animals, including cats and dogs. Be sure to keep them where your pets cannot ingest them.
And have fun! Geraniums are a beautiful plant and a great way to start if you’re new to gardening!