Growing Guide
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Geranium, Common

Annual Flower, Houseplant

Also known as Zonal Geranium, Bedding Geranium
Pelargonium x hortorum
Geraniaceae Family

These annuals come in a wide range of bold colors that grab attention over long distances. They are the standard for containers or untended, hot, sunny spots where you want a long season of color. Readily available at retail outlets.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun
  • part shade

Soil conditions:

  • tolerates droughty soil
  • requires well-drained soil
Does poorly in clay soil. Prefers slightly acid soil. Needs regular watering and fertilization for optimum performance, but will tolerate long dry spells.

Special locations:

  • outdoor containers
  • xeriscapes
  • indoors as a houseplant - Cut plants back to a quarter or a third of their size, pot, and grow in a sunny windowsill. Keep soil moist, but not soggy. Or overwinter by making cuttings of new growth before frost and rooting in water or a damp soil-less growing medium.
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: annual

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 0.8 to 1.5 feet

Spread: 0.5 to 1 feet

Bloom time:

  • late spring
  • early summer
  • mid-summer
  • late summer
  • early fall

Flower color:

  • red
  • orange
  • white
  • pink

Foliage color:

  • light green
  • medium green
  • dark green
  • variegated

Often called Zonal Geraniums because of the distinct color zones on the leaves.

Foliage texture:

  • coarse
  • medium

Shape: cushion, mound or clump

Shape in flower: flower stalks with upright spikes

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • deer resistant
  • non-aggressive
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Native to South Africa
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed, cuttings - Geraniums can be grown from barerooted plants salvaged from the garden before the first killing frost. Remove the plants from the soil and shake excess soil from their roots. Place them in a cool, dry place where they will not freeze, and keep their roots marginally moist. Wrapping them with slightly moistened peat moss works well. In spring, 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost, cut the plant stems and roots back (roots to about 6 long), soak them overnight in slightly warmed water, and pot them for growth, placing the pots in a sunny location. Water only when new growth appears. Plant outside after frost danger has passed.

Propagate geraniums from stem cuttings taken in late summer to early fall. Some hybrids are patented, so be sure to heed any warnings and follow all laws concerning their propagation.

Geraniums may also be grown from seed, which should be sown indoors 4 months before the last spring frost date.

Germination temperature: 70 F to 75 F

Days to emergence: 7 to 14

Maintenance and care:
Deadhead to prolong flowering. Keep soil moist but never soggy. Fertilize regularly.

More growing information: How to Grow Annuals

Black leg
Black stem rot
Root rot
Parasitic nematodes
Powdery mildew
Bacterial blight
Botrytis blight
There are hundreds of cultivated geranium varieties. Look for different sized plants, flower colors, and leaf and flower forms.

'Orbit' Series grows 14 inches tall, is very early flowering, and produces large clusters of flowers in shades of red, pink, orange and white.