Removing leaves from indoor geraniums

Asked May 27, 2016, 10:26 AM EDT

I have several geraniums and have gotten conflicting information about the effect removing leaves has. 1. Does doing this make it possible for plants to put more "energy" into producing flowers. 2. Or is this incorrect and instead what removing leaves does is promote branching which in turn provides more sites for flowers to grow on? 3. One of my plants has tons of leaves. I've only removed ones drying out recently and think it would look better with fewer. So should appearance be the sole reason for removing leaves or is there some other effect that could result if I removed the "correct" leaves in the "correct" quantity. I know this is a persnickety question but I'd like to have some criterion to guide my leaf-removal strategy! Thanks for your patience and advice. Beverly Smith

Middlesex County Massachusetts geraniums horticulture

1 Response

Hello,

Leaves are where the bulk of photosynthesis happens. Removing leaves will reduce the ability of the plant to make carbohydrates, which it relocates into making flowers and other plant parts.
If geraniums are left unpruned, they will become leggy. Pinching back their growing tip will initiate buds below to grow, making more stems on which more flowers will develop. Pinching back makes a bushier plant.
Only dry or dead leaves should be removed. If you are taking off side leaves from a stem, the plant grow terminally, making a taller, leggy plant.

Regards,
Carol Quish