How to get more blooms from hardy Geraniums
Geraniums (Geranium spp.), like most flowering plants, will reward you with bright blooms as long as you care for them properly. The Geranium genus contains over 250 species, all of which vary slightly in their characteristics but generally require the same cultural needs.
Desirable for their long blooming period and ease of care, hardy geraniums, sometimes called cranesbill geraniums, will often bloom from spring to early fall. Encourage your hardy geranium to bloom by keeping it healthy and cutting back leggy growth during the summer.
Ensure that your flowers are getting plenty of sun.
Geraniums bloom best when they get at least partial sunlight, or exposure to six hours of sunlight per day. In cooler climates, a full day’s worth of sun will result in the most flowers.
2 Keep the soil moist but not overly wet. Dry, hard soil will weaken the plants, and blooms may fade as a result. Soggy soil may cause the roots to rot and the flowers may fail to bloom at all.
3 Cut the plants back in midsummer. Geraniums sometimes become “leggy” during the longest, hottest days of summer. This means that they grow long stems but develop fewer leaves and flowers. Cut them back to about 6 inches tall — or even all the way to the ground — to encourage bushier growth and reblooming. Water them afterward.
4 Apply a high-potash fertilizer, which will increase blooming. The best time to do this is in the spring and then again after you cut the plants back. These fertilizers are often sold as rose food. Follow the directions on the package for application according to the size of your planting bed.
Things You Will Need
High potash fertilizer
Scented geraniums are also fun to grow. These plants have white or pink flowers that aren’t very showy. But their claim to fame is their aromatic leaves, which come in a variety of fragrances including lemon, rose, apple, coconut, and nutmeg. Many have deeply lobed, soft-textured leaves, often in shades of grey-green. Scented Pelargoniums are perfect in herb gardens and along paths. They can also be grown indoors, trained into topiaries, and used to make herbal tea.
Mosquito, or citronella plants were developed by introducing a gene from citronella grass into a scented Pelargonium species. When rubbed or crushed, these geraniums release the citronella oil, which helps repel mosquitoes.
More Recommended Varieties
Pelargoniums offer a wide variety of flower colors and leaf shapes. You can create a strikingly varied display using geraniums alone. Many varieties with less showy flowers make up for it with their attractive foliage.
‘Frank Headly’ shines with a creamy variegated leaf sets off single, salmon flowers.
‘Vancouver Centennial’ has small, dark, maple-shaped leaves with chartreuse margins.
‘Black Velvet Rose’ contrasts unusual black leaves with thin green margins and bright rose florets. The new ‘Black Velvet Scarlet’ boasts the same leaves with flashy scarlet blooms.
For a traditional red geranium with a twist, try ‘Contrast’, which has green, cream, and red foliage.
Regal or Martha Washington geraniums are not as heat tolerant as others and are often sold as indoor plants. They are noted for their large flowers, attractive foliage and extended flowering time.