Overwintering annual geraniums is very simple but timing is important. Oftentimes carry-over geraniums are thought of as the last task of the spring season when actually they are the first task of the new season.
Marking a calendar schedule would be a great help.
Annual geraniums can be overwintered successfully in a paper bag or cardboard box.
- Dig up the geraniums in the fall before a hard freeze sets in. Remove most of the clinging soil but do not rinse or wash roots.
- Leave the bare plants to dry in a shady, dry spot for a few days to dry out a bit. This helps to avoid mold or mildew during storage.
- Check the plants for any deceased or weak stems, and discard any dying or discolored leaves. Keep only the most healthy plants.
- Put the plants root side up in a paper grocery shopping bag or cardboard box. Two plants per bag fit nicely. Fold over tops but do not seal shut with tape. Upside down gives the roots more air circulation.
- Store in a cool dry place at 40-50 degrees away from heat and light.
- Check every month or so for mold and remove any fallen dry leaves from the bag or box. Stems should be firm: any shriveled, dried-out stems should be removed and discarded.
6-8 weeks before the last average frost date bring the plants out of storage.
- Snip off any extra long roots and cut the stems back to the healthy green growth.
- Fill a fresh, clean planting container with a pre moistened potting mix.
- Tuck the stems into the soil so 2 leaf nodes are covered by soil. That’s where the new roots will emerge.
- Place the pot near a sunny window and in about 7-14 days new growth will emerge. Water sparingly: geraniums like soil more on the dry side along with bright light.
- In about 4-6 weeks you will have a strong little plant ready for the outside after the fear of frost has passed.
- Watch for buds to form and then flower.
Blog written by Mary Ellen Murphy