Thinking of planting geraniums? If the answer is yes, the truth is that this outdoor plant is an excellent option to decorate our garden, terrace or balcony. There are more than 400 species of geraniums, and we can find colors like red, purple, white and pink, which is why they will look great in pots or on the floor of any exterior. Planting seeds or geranium cuttings will allow us to enjoy the growth process of the plant, an undoubtedly enriching experience that will help us appreciate our work and perseverance. Although planting this species is not difficult, it is essential to take into account the care of the geranium. This flower needs to be in full sun and we must be aware of diseases that can affect its health. For this reason, in this article we explain how to plant geraniums, in addition to giving you some tips that you will need so that the flower grows healthy and beautiful.
When to plant geraniums
The first thing to think about is the moment when we are going to plant our geraniums, either in pots or directly in the ground. The best time of the year is in spring-summer, when the temperature and the sun are ideal to help the plant grow healthy.
It is essential that the seeds or cuttings are planted after the frosty season, that is, when the winter has already ended. Otherwise, the plant will not withstand the cold and our efforts will have been in vain. This does not mean that geraniums cannot be exposed to low temperatures, but rather that during their early stage of development they are weaker. However, once the plant has passed this first stage, it will be stronger and once autumn and summer arrive it will be able to withstand the cold.
Geraniums bloom in summer, so it is recommended that the seeds or cuttings be planted in spring, so that in this way the flowers grow in summer and we can enjoy their color and beauty.
Where to plant geraniums
Geraniums are outdoor plants that need a lot of light. For this reason, they should be planted in the soil of our or garden, or in pots that we can leave on our terrace or balcony. In case you decide to do it on the ground in your garden, make sure to choose a part of the land that is usually exposed to the sun, since geraniums need intense light, as we have explained previously. Now, it is not about the sunlight falling on them during all the hours, so we must think about the location well.
How to plant geraniums
Once we are clear about the place where our geraniums will be planted, we must decide if we want to plant seeds or cuttings. The difference is that by planting seeds we will experience all stages of the plant’s development, while the cuttings are fragments of geranium that have been specifically separated for them to be planted and reproduced. If we plant cuttings, we will have a geranium that has passed its first stage of development.
Both options are valid, we just have to decide which of the two we prefer depending on whether we have more or less patience, or if we do not want to risk the seeds not growing.
Geraniums on the ground
In the case of planting the geranium cuttings or seeds in the garden soil, the most important requirement is that the ground has good drainage to prevent water from stagnating. Make holes of about 3 cm in the ground with a sufficient separation so that each geranium can develop correctly.
If we have opted for this option, we must select a suitable pot for our geranium to grow healthy. There are different species of geranium, so find out when buying cuttings or seeds of what type is yours. Take the opportunity to buy a suitable soil, oxygenated, with an optimal pH and with the necessary elements that the plant requires. In this article we explain which are the best plants for the balcony.
If you prefer to plant the cuttings directly, you can select geranium buds that you have at home or buy them in a store. In this case, you must make a hole in the pot or soil and introduce the cutting. Try to select those that have a good color and have not bloomed. If you select your own geranium cuttings, you will need pruning shears to cut the bud to a length of about 8 cm. Once the geranium cuttings are planted, we water a little to help the plant adhere to the soil.
We buy the seeds in the appropriate establishment; we make different holes in the earth and we place in each of them a seed of geraniums. In the case that it is planted in a pot, we must ask the distance that should be between each plant. Especially if it is a large geranium species, the distance between each one should be approximately 60 cm. Lightly water the soil with the seeds inside and that’s it!
How to care for geraniums
Once we have planted the geraniums, it is advisable to water them once a week, ensuring proper drainage. In the event that the water becomes stagnant, excess moisture will cause its roots to rot. During warm seasons, we must water our geraniums daily, since they are very exposed to sunlight. Once it has flowered, don’t water the plant from above, but directly from the stems in contact with the ground.
Geraniums need direct contact with light. The best thing is that, at least, they have sun 6 hours a day. Place the plants in an area with lots of sunlight so that they grow strong and beautiful.
We must remove the yellowish leaves of the geraniums, since they indicate that they are withered. Carrying out a good pruning in spring, once the plant has already developed, will help the plant to grow in better conditions. So, remove the dead leaves at the point of union with the stem.
Fertilizing the plant once a year, at least, is a fundamental requirement to enrich the soil with nutrients that help geraniums grow. It is advisable to fertilize the flowers frequently, especially during the flowering season using liquid fertilizer that you can find in florists or garden stores. In this article we teach you how to make a natural compost for your plants.
Pests and diseases of geraniums
Like all plants, geraniums are exposed to different pests and diseases that can hinder our work. Knowing the most common ones and being informed about their characteristics can be useful to prevent them and act in case they appear. Whether we plant cuttings or seeds, once the plant has developed it is more exposed to some diseases that we explain below.
The most common diseases that can damage our geraniums are those starring fungi.
- Botrytis. A layer of dark gray mold can be witnessed. The affected parts rot and during spring is the most frequent time in which it can appear, since there is more humidity.
- Puccinia. Known as rust, its action is noticeable because the leaves have small dark-colored bumps that later acquire an orange hue.
- Powdery mildew. It is characterized by the presence of a white or gray fungus on leaves and shoots. When the plant has been invaded by this fungus, it is common for the leaves to dry out and become yellowish.
- Anthracnose. We can detect it by seeing black or brown spots that are pleasing on the shoots, leaves or buds.
- Aphids. They are parasites that dig into the leaves, absorbing the sap. As a consequence, the geranium becomes weak and eventually wilts. These little insects are easy to see.
- Red spider. Their presence can be detected in the lower part of the leaves and they are very small. They cause geranium leaves to turn yellow.
- Caterpillars. The effect of this pest is the appearance of holes in the leaves caused by caterpillars. The easiest way to kill them is to remove them one by one.
- Whitefly. They are very small flies, more frequent in summer, which act in a similar way to aphids.
- Mealybugs. They absorb sage from geraniums causing the leaves to wilt. They produce a substance known as molasses that attracts the attention of bold, another fungus harmful to geranium.