Friday, November 9, 2012

Storing Geraniums

Tressa asked on my post about our weekend's work if she had read correctly: can you really pull up and store geraniums?
The answer is yes. I learned this little trick some years ago on another blog (I wish I could remember where it was). In the fall, pull or dig, if the ground is too hard, your geranium plants. Hang them in a cool, dry, dark place over the winter. A basement or root cellar works well, or a crawl space that stays above freezing.

In early spring, replant the geraniums in potting soil, water, and wait. I've had about 50-50 success; about half of my plants survive the winter and return to life. I think my results would be better if I replanted sooner, perhaps in late February.

I heard from a friend recently who said that she simply moves the whole pot into her cellar and pulls it out again in spring and the geraniums come right back. I am going to try half of mine with her method this year and see how they do.

For years I bought new plants every spring, but now I save some of that money by storing my plants.

For more information on how to do this, check out this post on Dave's Garden. He offers several storage methods, and even suggests cutting them back before storing and offers a tip for reviving them if the stems seem to be drying out too much.

(The illustration is a copy of the painting "Rubens Peale with Geranium." It is a painting by Rembrandt Peale of his younger brother and is housed at the National Gallery. Rembrandt Peale painted many famous portraits including Washington and Jefferson, portraits that are often considered the standards for likenesses of these former presidents.)

Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Jenny said...

I just heard about this a few weeks ago & wanted to try it but I didn't buy any geraniums this year. So a garden friend gave me about 7 plants that she didn't want to keep.

The method I heard says to hang them upside down in a dark place (I put them in the stairway to my basement garage) where they won't freeze. Then take them down once a month & soak the roots in water. I've marked my calendar to take them down & soak them on the same day each month. I'm anxious to see how they do.

Rowan said...

I pot up geraniums and just bring them into the garage for the winter - it just needs to be frost free. Hope your all make it through the winter.

JJM said...

My mother always just moved them into pots and set them in the basement. Far as I know, all or most survived.

One of my most treasured memories about geraniums comes from Greece -- Delphi, to be precise. Narrow (pedestrian only) street, going steeply downwards with sloped steps; bright, white-washed houses on either side, with blue doors and shutters; and lined with potted geraniums, on hooks, on the windowsill, and on the paving stones to either side, and all those colours made all the more vibrant by that peculiar power the Greek sun has ...
--Mario R.

Sue said...

Can't say this surprises me. Geraniums are so sturdy. I keep them year-round in Northern California, and I don't take any special care of them either. They are survivors!


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