5 fundamental tips for geraniums that will provide you with splendid blooms

by Mark Bennett

May 23, 2024


The indisputable beauty of geraniums can be enjoyed when these flowers bloom from late spring and throughout the summer. Pelargoniums (the botanical name for geraniums) are very popular and can be found growing in a wide range of locations - from private balconies to public parks. There are many varieties of geraniums and each type is fascinating in its own right. So, how best to care for your geraniums? Well, here's some important geranium-cultivation tips:

1. The best location for geraniums: sunny spots


The fact that geraniums are native to South Africa should tell us something about their location needs: geraniums like to have direct sunlight for several hours every day (which will encourage them to bloom). In the main, geraniums can tolerate intense heat during the hottest times of the day (although some slightly more delicate varieties will need to be shaded at peak heat times). 

Geraniums also grow quite well in partially shaded locations, just as long as they get direct sunlight for a few hours each day. To this end, you can place your geraniums facing south-east, south or south-west (and it's best to avoid locations facing north).


2. Watering: less is more


"Less is more" is the motto you need to remember when it comes to how often to water your geraniums. Geraniums cannot tolerate stagnant water and, being drought resistant, need only modest watering. Check the condition of the soil by inserting a finger into it to determine if all the soil is dry and not just the surface layer. If the soil is dry to a significant depth, it's time to water your geraniums.

Irrigate the geraniums until water begins to drip out of the bottom of their pots.

Typicall, you will water your geraniums like this once a week in spring and twice a week in summer. Obviously, in cooler periods (and/or if it has rained), you should cut back on this watering frequency.

3. The ideal soil for geraniums

Geraniums need well-draining soil. To this end, place a layer of expanded clay on the bottom of their pots and then fill the top up with potting soil suitable for geraniums.

Soil for geraniums can be bought at nurseries and is rich in nutrients. This soil is also "lightened up" with perlite, vermiculite or coarse-grained sand.

The ideal pH for geranium-friendly soil is between 6.0 and 6.5 and its important to bare this in mind when purchasing your soil.

4. Fertilizing geraniums


Fertilizing geraniums will ensure they bloom and remain lush. Fertilizing is usually done every two to four weeks during the growing season, which spans from spring to fall. When applying the fertilizer, ensure the soil is moist to prevent root burn. It's also beneficial to incorporate organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, into the soil before planting to improve soil structure and nutrient availability.

As for the type of fertilizers to choose from, the proportion between nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium can be as follows: 15-15-15, 15-16-17 or even 20-10-20. The most important element, however, is nitrogen (generally around 200 or 250 milligrams per liter is recommended).

5. Don't forget the dried flowers


The last thing to take care of it not to forget to remove any dry leaves or flowers. For common geraniums, the dried flowers are easily spotted and can be removed by hand without cuttin (and the same is true for the leaves). However, if you must remove a flower or leaf that is not completely dead and dried out, you need to be careful. Avoid damaging the branch itself by inflicting unnecessary wounds: either wait for the leaf/flower to dry out completely, or cut the stem at the base with sharp, sterilized scissors.

Removing dead flowers and leaves will stimulate the geranium to "push" its resources to its lush, healthy foliage.

Will you be planting geraniums this year?