| Aug 13, 2009

Back to HomeMaster Gardeners - August 13, 2009 Bringing in geraniums to overwinterBy Margaret Inwood, Lanark Master Gardeners

The best time to bring in geranium cuttings for over-wintering is late August before frost threatens. Select tips of firm but not woody growth about four inches in length, and make a straight cut below a node with a sharp knife. Strip off all the leaves and stipules, leaving only the terminal bud and one fully developed leaf. Soak each cutting for a few minutes in insecticide soap to get rid of disease or insects. When the cutting is dry dip the cut end in rooting hormone, and plant in a pot filled with a medium such as Pro-Mix. Water the pot and place it in a bright place but out of the sun. If the cutting looks wilted, mist it with water but do not water the plant again until the surface feels dry to the touch. Roots should develop in about 2½ weeks. When the plant grows too big for the pot, re-plant it into a larger pot with a good drainage hole. Geraniums like at least four hours of direct sun a day. Allow the soil to dry out before watering thoroughly. While the plant is growing, use 20-20-20 fertilizer and when it starts blooming, use a 15-30-15 fertilizer. To prevent the plant from growing too tall, pinch out the top to encourage it to grow side shoots.

If you want to bring in the entire geranium plant in the fall, dig it up and cut back the top and the roots to one third of their size. Pot in a plant mix and place in a sunny window. You can also dig up the entire plant and place it in a cool place or a cellar to overwinter. In March, cut back the top and roots, soak for a few hours in warm water, then plant it, water it and place in a sunny place. Do not water again until new growth starts. It is well worth saving you favorite geraniums to enjoy them for another year.

For more gardening information call Lori MacKay at 613-256-9228

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