How can I store geraniums over winter?

Asked October 9, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT

I have heard that there is a way to "store" your summer geraniums in the basement and then they will bloom in the spring. I have no idea of how this is done.

Isabella County Michigan

1 Response

There are three methods for storing your geraniums over the winter: Potted, Cuttings or Dormant Plants.

Potted Plants: Prune the geraniums back to 1/2 t 1/3 of their original height. Carefully dig each plant and repot into a 6 to 8 inch pot. After potting, water thoroughly and plant the plants in a bright, sunny window. They prefer cool indoor temps. Daytime temps near 65 degrees and nighttime around 55 are ideal. They will become spindly in poor light and warm temps. During their stay indoors water thoroughly with the soil is dry to the touch. Occasionally pinch or prune to maintain stocky, well-branched plants.

Cuttings: Take 3 to 4-inch cuttings from terminal shoots. Pinch off the lower leaves, then dip base of cuttings in a rooting hormone. Plant the cuttings in a medium of vermiculite and coarse sand, or a mix of coarse sand and sphagnum moss. Clay or plastic pots must have drainage holes in the bottom. Insert cutting just far enough to be self-supporting. Water cuttings and medium thoroughly. To prevent wilting place a clear plastic bag over the cuttings and place in indirect sunlight. Rooting should occur in 6 to 8 weeks. Transplant rooted cuttings in 3 to 4-inch pots. Care of the rooted cuttings is the same as for potted plant above.
Dorant Plants: Dig geraniums and carefully shake all the soil from the roots. Then hang plants upside down in a cool (45-50 F) dry place. During the winter months, periodically take the plants down and soak the roots in water for 1 to 2 hours. Mot of the leaves will fall off during the winter. However, the stems should remain firm or solid. cut back the geraniums to 1/3 their original height and pot indoors in late winter or plant outdoors in May. This method of over wintering requires proper storage conditions.
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