How To Care for Potted Geraniums Outside (In Pots and Containers)
Potted geraniums do well outside in 65°F -75°F and struggle in cold. Water the plant 1-2 times a week and make sure the soil you use is well-draining and the plant feed is well-balanced.
Geraniums, with their vibrant blooms and lush foliage, are popular flowering plants that can thrive both in pots and in the ground. However, when it comes to planting geraniums, there are several advantages to choosing pots as their growing medium.
First and foremost, pots provide better control over soil quality and drainage. In certain climates or urban environments where garden space is limited, growing geraniums in pots offer a practical and aesthetically pleasing solution.
Now let’s come to how to care for geraniums in pots outside.
So, potted geraniums can be easily moved to take advantage of ideal sunlight conditions or protect them from extreme weather. This flexibility allows gardeners to create attractive arrangements on patios, balconies, or even indoors.
When planting geraniums in pots, select a pot that is the appropriate size for the plant, allowing ample space for root development. Ensure the pot has drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging.
In terms of soil, it is essential to use a well-draining potting mix specifically formulated for container gardening. Regular watering is crucial for potted geraniums, as containers tend to dry out faster than the ground.
Fertilize the geraniums regularly with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer to support their growth and blooming.
By paying attention to these main considerations and providing appropriate care, geraniums can thrive and bring their vibrant beauty to both pots and garden beds.
How To Care For Outdoor Potted Geraniums?
Outdoor potted geraniums should be provided at least 6 six hours of direct sunlight daily and watered regularly. The soil should be kept moderately moist.
Every two to four weeks, a balanced fertilizer should be applied during the growing season. Pinching or snipping off faded blooms promotes continuous flowering.
Let us address the topic from various angles!
A. Best pots for geraniums placed outdoors
When selecting pots for geranium varieties placed outdoors, it’s important to consider factors like drainage and the specific needs of the plants. Here are some options to consider:
- Terracotta pots: These traditional clay pots provide excellent drainage and allow airflow to the roots, preventing waterlogging.
- Plastic pots: Lightweight and affordable, plastic pots also offer good drainage. Look for pots with drainage holes at the bottom.
- Self-watering pots: These pots have a built-in reservoir that allows for consistent moisture levels, reducing the frequency of watering. However, they are not cheap.
- Hanging baskets: Geraniums thrive in hanging baskets, adding a decorative touch to your outdoor space. Opt for baskets with coco coir or moss liners for good drainage.
- Window boxes: Ideal for placing geraniums on windowsills or along railings, window boxes provide sufficient space for geranium roots to grow while adding visual appeal.
- Check the soil: Before watering, always check the moisture level of the soil. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil, and if it feels dry to the touch, it’s time to water.
- Water thoroughly: When watering, make sure to thoroughly saturate the soil until water drains out from the bottom drainage holes. This ensures that the entire root ball receives moisture.
- Avoid overwatering: Geraniums prefer moderately moist soil, but they don’t tolerate waterlogged conditions. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other problems. Allow the top inch or so of soil to dry out between waterings.
- Consider weather conditions: Hot, dry weather conditions may require more frequent watering, while cooler or rainy periods may require less. Adjust your watering schedule accordingly, always keeping an eye on the moisture levels in the soil.
- Observe the plant: Pay attention to the geranium’s appearance. If the leaves start to wilt or the plant looks droopy, it may be a sign of underwatering. On the other hand, yellowing or overly saturated soil may indicate overwatering.
- Fertilizer Geraniums need: Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer specifically formulated for flowering plants. Look for fertilizers with an equal N-P-K ratio (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium), such as a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 formula. These provide a well-rounded blend of nutrients for geraniums.
- Timing: Begin fertilizing geraniums in pots when they start actively growing, typically in early spring. Continue feeding throughout the growing season, which is generally until late summer or early fall. Avoid fertilizing during the dormant winter period.
- Frequency: Feed potted geraniums every two to four weeks during the growing season. This regular feeding schedule ensures a steady supply of nutrients for optimal growth and blooming.
- Application method: Dissolve the fertilizer in water according to the package instructions. Apply the diluted fertilizer to the soil around the base of the geranium, avoiding direct contact with the leaves. Water the plants after fertilizing to help distribute the nutrients into the root zone.
- Adjusting dosage: Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package for the recommended dosage. However, it’s always a good idea to start with a slightly diluted solution and monitor the plant’s response.
If the geraniums show signs of nutrient deficiency (such as pale leaves or poor blooming), gradually increase the fertilizer concentration, but be cautious not to over-fertilize, as it can lead to salt buildup in the soil.
- Identify spent blooms: Regularly inspect your geranium plants and look for faded or wilted blooms that have finished flowering. These are the ones you’ll be removing.
- Locate the stem: Follow the stem of the spent bloom down to the first set of healthy leaves. This is where you’ll make your cut.
- Use clean tools: It’s important to use clean and sharp pruning shears, scissors, or even your fingers to remove the spent blooms. Sanitize your tools before and after use to prevent the spread of diseases.
- Cut above the leaves: Position your cutting tool just above the first set of healthy leaves, and make a clean, angled cut. This promotes new growth from the leaf node below.
- Dispose of the removed blooms: Collect the removed spent blooms and dispose of them appropriately, either in a compost bin or as garden waste.
- Repeat as needed: Continuously check your geraniums for faded blooms and repeat the deadheading process as necessary throughout the growing season.
- Bring them indoors: Before the first frost, you can bring your potted geraniums indoors and keep them as houseplants during winter. Place them near a sunny window where they can receive adequate light. Make sure to acclimate them gradually to indoor conditions to prevent shock.
- Overwinter dormant geraniums: Another option is to let your geraniums go dormant during winter. Before the first frost, trim back the plants to about one-third of their height and remove any dead or diseased foliage. Store the dormant plants in a cool, dark location with temperatures around 45°F to 55°F (7°C to 13°C). Check them occasionally for moisture and ventilation.
- Propagate and save cuttings: If you have favorite geranium varieties, you can take cuttings before winter and propagate new plants. Root the cuttings in a well-draining rooting medium and keep them indoors until spring. This way, you can start fresh with healthy young plants when the weather warms up.
- Aphids: Small, soft-bodied insects that feed on plant sap, causing distorted growth and sticky residue.
- Spider mites: Tiny pests that suck plant juices, causing yellowing leaves and webbing on the foliage.
- Whiteflies: Small, winged insects that cluster on the undersides of leaves, sucking sap and leaving behind sticky honeydew.
- Caterpillars: Larvae of butterflies or moths that chew on leaves, causing irregular holes and damage.
- Slugs and snails: These mollusks feed on the leaves, leaving large holes and slime trails.
- Botrytis blight (Gray mold): A fungal disease that causes grayish mold on leaves, stems, and flowers, often in cool, damp conditions.
- Leaf spot: Fungal or bacterial infections that create brown or black spots on the leaves.
- Powdery mildew: A fungal disease that appears as a white powdery coating on the leaves, stems, and flowers.
- Crown and root rot: Caused by excessive moisture and poor drainage, leading to rotting of the roots and base of the plant.
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Regardless of the pot type, it’s crucial to provide proper drainage to prevent overwatering. Consider adding a layer of gravel or small stones at the bottom of the pot to enhance drainage.
B. Do geraniums in pots like full sun?
Yes, geraniums in pots generally prefer full sun or at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. They are sun-loving plants that thrive in bright light conditions. The ideal temperature for geraniums in pots is typically between 65°F (18°C) and 75°F (24°C) during the day.
Placing potted geraniums in a sunny location will promote healthy growth, vibrant blooms, and overall plant vigor.
However, in extremely hot climates, some geranium varieties may benefit from partial shade during the hottest part of the day to prevent heat stress.
They can tolerate temperatures as low as 45°F (7°C) at night, but extended exposure to colder temperatures can damage or kill the plants. It’s important to protect geraniums from frost or freezing temperatures, as they are sensitive to extreme cold.
If temperatures drop below their tolerance level, it’s advisable to bring potted geraniums indoors or provide some form of protection, such as covering them with frost blankets or moving them to a sheltered area.
It’s always a good idea to observe your specific geranium variety and adjust the sun exposure accordingly based on its response and the local weather conditions.
C. Which is the best soil for geraniums in pots outside?
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The best soil for geraniums in pots placed outside is a well-draining potting mix. Geraniums prefer soil that allows excess water to drain freely. A mix that retains moisture without becoming waterlogged is important to prevent root rot.
Avoid heavy or compacted soils that can lead to poor drainage. The ideal pH range is between 6 and 7. It’s beneficial to test the pH level of the soil and make adjustments if necessary.
You can also consider using a pre-packaged potting mix specifically formulated for container gardening, which often includes a well-balanced blend of ingredients suitable for geraniums and other potted plants.
Additionally, adding perlite or coarse sand to the mix can further improve drainage.
Remember to repot geraniums every year or two, as the soil can become compacted over time. This allows for fresh nutrients and better drainage for the plants.
D. How often should potted geraniums be watered when placed outdoors?
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The frequency of watering potted geraniums placed outdoors can vary depending on several factors, including the climate, pot size, and soil type.
However, as a general guideline, you can water them once or twice a week. Here are some considerations for watering when it comes to how to care for potted geraniums outside:
Adjust the watering frequency based on the needs of your potted geraniums, always striving to maintain a balance between keeping the soil moist and avoiding excessive water retention.
E. When and what should you be feeding geraniums in pots?
When it comes to feeding geraniums in pots, it’s important to provide them with nutrients to support healthy growth and blooming. Here are some guidelines for when and what to feed potted geraniums:
Remember to always read and follow the instructions provided by the fertilizer manufacturer. Additionally, take into consideration the specific needs of your geranium variety and make adjustments as necessary based on its growth and blooming patterns.
F. How to deadhead geraniums in pots?
Deadheading and pruning geraniums in pots is a simple process that helps promote continuous blooming and keeps the plants looking tidy. Here’s how to deadhead geraniums in pots:
By deadheading your geraniums, you’re redirecting the plant’s energy into producing new buds and flowers. This encourages a prolonged blooming period and helps maintain the overall appearance of the plant.
Geranium Winter Care – Can I Leave Geraniums Outside In Pots Over Winter?
Geraniums are easy to grow but they are typically sensitive to cold temperatures and frost. So, it’s generally not recommended to leave them outside in pots over winter in areas where the temperatures drop below freezing.
However, there are a few options you can consider that will help you with how to care for geraniums in pots outside during winter:
Regardless of the method you choose, it’s important to inspect your geraniums for pests or diseases before bringing them indoors.
Additionally, reduce watering during the winter months as the plants will be in a period of dormancy and require less moisture.
By providing appropriate winter care, you can protect your geraniums and ensure their survival for the following growing season.
Pests and Diseases That Affect Potted Geraniums Outdoor
Potted geraniums placed outdoors can be susceptible to various pests and diseases. Here are some common ones to watch out for in case of a dying geranium:
Early detection and prompt action are crucial in managing pests and diseases effectively.
Use a suitable insecticidal soap, neem oil, or fungicide for your geranium plant and spray it regularly as directed.
Additionally, practicing good plant care, such as providing appropriate watering, regular fertilization, and maintaining a clean growing environment, can help prevent many of these problems.