Skip to content

Gardener's Notebook: Gaga over geraniums

The next meeting of the Yorkton hort society will be in March.
Will geranium be in your garden this year? (File Photo)

YORKTON -  For those who have a passion for pelargoniums…in other words, go gaga over geraniums, this might be a busy time for you!

This is the time when geraniums might be waking up from their winter rest, meaning it’s time for gardeners to get to work!

A dear friend told us about bringing her geraniums up  from the cold room, and she was delighted to see the beginning of little leaves bursting forth!   Do you use this method of storing geraniums?  Let’s go back in time to fall:  all too quickly, summer flies by and it’s time to replant any plants that we might be bringing in for the winter.  For geraniums, gardeners have a few choices to keep these babies on for next year.

Our friend kept over her geraniums with the dry method.  In the fall, rather than bringing a plant in, gardeners would remove the geranium from its summer home, shake off any excess soil, put the plant in a paper bag, and store it in a cool and dark place till this time of year.  Then, when checking the plants, if there are leaves coming, we should bring the plant out, trim off the dry leaves and stems, pot it up again, and place the plants in a sunny location.

If gardeners are lucky enough to have a spacious area for plants, some gardeners might want to bring in an entire plant and get slips from it at a later date.  If the weather suddenly turns cold and gardeners feel pressed for time, this is a handy solution.  In the comfort of our homes, we can take as many slips as we like.  I can recall my Mom and my aunties eagerly trading slips from favorite geraniums in the fall.  It was never a complicated process: just cut the slip off below a node, plant it in a mixture of loose soil, put a plastic bag over top to create a little mini-greenhouse, move the container to a windowsill , and in time there was a bright new geranium waiting for spring!  Sometimes the aunties used a rooting hormone for each cutting, but not always.  Success never seemed to be difficult for those wonderful, seasoned green-thumbs!

Another possibility is that gardeners might want to keep their entire plant intact, in the container that it was growing in.  This is a dandy solution if gardeners have the space for a large container, and the strong back to haul it into the house!  Depending on the light conditions, the plant might not look as pretty all winter as it looked outdoors last summer.  But gardeners must keep in mind that this project is to keep the plant alive over winter.  Water the plant regularly.  By mid-spring, perhaps March, it is time to take a deep breath and prune the geranium.  We’re not talking about picking off the occasional dry leaf; we’re talking a major pruning project, cutting back the geranium by about one third.  It is not  a task for the faint of heart, (it seems very drastic indeed!) but it needs to be done and will result in a much more vigorous and robust plant in just a few weeks.

Some geranium varieties are just as beautiful for their foliage, rather than their blooms.  If you want to explore a new gardening option this spring, keep watch for geraniums that are labelled “fancy leaf”.  These are the geraniums that will make people stop and look at your containers in wonder, asking “what kind of plant is that?” It’s an exciting new take on an old gardening favorite.

The next meeting of the Yorkton hort society will be in March; visit our website at for details!  Thank you to our friends at YTW for their great work each and every week.  Gardeners, start thinking spring!  Talk soon!