Darrell Blackwelder: How to winterize geraniums

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 22, 2022

By Darrell Blackwelder
For the Salisbury Post

I did a double take a few days ago when I joined my friends for breakfast at The Palms Restaurant in Salisbury. Inside the foyer was a beautiful, large container with a planting of profuse blooming pink geraniums. They were so stunning that I almost had to pinch the leaves to make sure they weren’t plastic. With snow and ice abounding, why does this plant look so good?

Geraniums (Pelargonium sp.) are actually perennial plants that can over-winter under ideal growing conditions. These are mainly used annual bedding plants during the spring and summer months. Years ago, before home gardeners had access to diverse selections of geraniums, many chose to over-winter them for the next season. Plants can be rooted from cuttings taken in the fall and transplanted in the spring. Others would take a different method and dig up the plants, remove the soil, and store them in paper bags or boxes in a dry location at about 40 to 50 degrees. The overwintered geraniums were then replanted the following spring. These plants can also be grown indoors as potted plants during the winter months. They need bright indirect sunlight in a location with cool temperatures 55-65 degrees.

The planter was outdoors at The Palms Restaurant for the summer and then moved to their foyer to an ideal winter location. The location is perfect for both light and temperature. Go the website https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/pdf/geranium-culture-for-home-garden/2014-10-13/hil-8504.pdf for more detailed information on geraniums.

Darrell Blackwelder is the retired horticulture agent and director with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Contact him at deblackw@ncsu.edu .