Geraniums are one of the most prized flowering plants that gardeners absolutely love. They are hardy and easy to grow, they beautify your garden with vibrant blooms, and they fill the summer air with a lovely soft scent. But did you know that this versatile flowering plant is not a true geranium? The commonly found geraniums belong to the Pelargonium genus that is grown as an annual in most parts of the US. These cultivated geraniums are herbaceous to woody in structure and feature thick fleshy leaves. They bear flowers in clusters and come in a variety of colors such as white, deep red, violet, and pink.
Since these plants are quite hardy, they can even survive as perennials in the warmer southern zones. Plus, if you plan to over-winterize them, they require minimal care and can be grown as an indoor plant all year round. However, just like any other plant in your garden, they do require regular upkeep. Since pruning is crucial to keep plants healthy and blooming, gardeners often search “how to prune geraniums?” or “How to trim geraniums the right way?”
If you also wish to adorn your garden with this stunner and enjoy its bloom year after year, hop on the bandwagon to learn how to prune geraniums with our pro tips.
Pruning is defined as the act of cutting out any dead or overgrown branches and stems to keep your plant healthy and blooming. To learn how to trim geraniums like a seasoned gardener, you will require the following tools.
While you take care of the above two requirements, we will cover the third in this section. Continue reading to learn how to cut back geraniums in your garden.
In addition to learning how to prune geraniums, you must also practice deadheading. For those who don’t know, deadheading is a form of pruning that involves removing the spent flowers from ornamental plants.
Since geraniums are widely grown for their vibrant blossoms, this method encourages the plant to direct its energy towards producing more vibrant and long-lasting blooms. Unlike trimming, deadheading does not need any special tool, nor are you bound by any particular season, so you can pick on the spent flowers anytime you notice them.
While searching “how to cut back geraniums?” removing the dead leaf and stem is probably the first thing that you will learn. Pruning the dead parts prevents the plant from wasting energy on keeping such leaves and stems alive. This will make way for newer and stronger foliage.
Cutting back the dead foliage is especially important in the growing season, that is, spring and summer; however, you can prune the dead growths anytime you want.
Learning how to cut back geraniums also requires you to trim back any leggy stalk. The leggy stalks are the stems that have grown too long, giving your plant a sparse appearance. Such stalks should be chopped off very close to the base of the plant. Doing so will allow your geranium to grow as a mound looking fuller and bushier.
Beginners learning how to prune geraniums may find it counterintuitive to cut back healthy flowering stems during the spring season. However, doing so will activate the dormant buds, encourage the plant to bear more flowers, and develop healthier offshoots.
Before you learn how to prune geraniums, you must know why you need to prune your plant. Plants need trimming from time to time to encourage new and healthy growth. Since geraniums can grow quite vigorously during the spring and summer, pruning them during their growth season keeps their outgrowths in check.
Trimming them also ensures more long-lasting bloom. In fact, learning how to trim geraniums can sometimes give you a second bloom in the same season.
Geraniums tend to become tall or leggy, so trimming the long stem makes room for new growth and keeps the foliage denser. Cutting out the dead and overgrown stems also keep diseases and pests in check. Plus, if they are a part of your landscape, giving them a proper shape improves the overall aesthetics of your garden.
Many users who want to learn how to cut back geraniums often ask why you should prune them before winters. Since geraniums go dormant in winters, it is essential to cut them back to keep them healthy during the cold months. Pruning them in late summer or mid-fall will keep their energy conserved during the winter season and allow them to come back to life when the spring hits.
Now that you know how much your geraniums can benefit from a healthy shear, it is time to learn step-by-step how to trim geraniums the right way.
Apart from learning how to trim geraniums, you must also be aware of the right time to prune your plant. Therefore, you might notice gardeners searching “how do you trim geraniums in the spring or winters?” since different seasons have different pruning requirements.
To answer this question, the best time to prune geraniums is before the winters and early spring. Doing both is equally important to keep this plant healthy for the current as well as next season.
If you have landed here searching “how do you prune geraniums for the next season?” you will have to prepare them for their dormant state. Learn how to pinch back geraniums by one-third of their volume, focusing more on the woody and leggy stems. Doing so will help your plant to retain its energy during the sluggish colder months.
The right time to prune your geranium plant for winters is during late summer or early fall. If you live in a warm or temperate climate, you can allow your plant to overwinter outside. If you reside in colder zones where the ground freezes, you may want to dig out your geranium and transplant it in a pot indoors for the entire winter.
If you have over-wintered your plants outdoors and want to learn how to cut back geraniums in spring, the best time to prune them is when the weather begins to warm up, i.e., late March or early May. On the other hand, if you have kept them inside, you should ideally wait for the ground to thaw. Pruning the geraniums at the onset of spring will remove leggy winter growth and ensure a fuller and greener plant.
While learning how to pinch back geraniums, keep the following tips and precautions in mind to ensure that your plants stay healthy and hearty.
If your geranium has developed woody and leggy stems, cut back these stems up to a node. Make sure that you do not prune more than one-third of the plant while doing so.
To revive a geranium, you might have to prune it aggressively. Cut back ½ or ¾ of the plant and remove any overgrown stem. This severe pruning will force the plant to grow out in vengeance. Improving the growing conditions, such as providing sunlight to the wintered plant or keeping a scorched plant in the shade, can promote new growth. Watering the plant weekly and spraying a fertilizer once every month will also promote healthy growth.
The most likely reason for the leaves turning yellow is overwatering. Some leaves may also develop pale water spots. Allow the soil to dry out before you water them again.
Deadheading the geraniums will prevent seed production, which will help extend its blooming season. Keep the plant well-watered to supply it the energy to produce more flowers.
Geraniums bloom better when they are slightly root-bound and should be repotted only when extremely necessary. If you plan to keep them indoors, they can do well in small containers.
With that, we conclude our guide on “how to trim geraniums?” Geraniums make for brilliant indoor plants in small pots or hanging planters. They can thrive indoors near a bright and sunny window and can continue to stay green throughout the year. You can also go for their ivy-leafed or hanging basket cultivars to add more variety to your geranium collection.
When planting outdoors, they will continue to delight you with their vibrant blooms from May to June. These plants are one of the easiest blooming plants to maintain. Learning how to prune geraniums the right way will help you keep them healthy and enjoy their company for years to come.