How to grow How to: grow amazing geraniums

How to: grow amazing geraniums

The plants I'm talking about here are botanically speaking Pelargonium though commonly called geranium. True Geranium species are delicate-looking perennials, usually with blue flowers.

The Pelargoniums I’m going to call geraniums are low-maintenance ground covers that love dry conditions, are happy in windy spots, handle neglect and come in vibrant colours of pink, red, magenta and purple, and in delicate pastels. Perfect as pot plants, they also suit a cottage or perennial garden.



Photo- Taiga / 


We grow lots of scented geraniums. Brushing past the foliage releases ginger, lime, lemon, rose, orange, nutmeg, apple or cinnamon. The leaves and flowers are edible and can be used to make herbal teas, or to flavour vinegar, syrups, sauces and jellies. You can even add a couple of leaves to the pot when you're making custard or stewing fruit. My favourite use is to throw the leaves in the bathtub - before I throw myself in - for the perfect post-garden soak.


Follow our tips for success with these old favourites.


Remove old leaves and flower stems and tip prune constantly.Pinching out the growing tip results in a fuller, thicker, healthier plant, and won’t impact flowering if you pinch back to the beginning of a flower bud.

Prune after the main spring flowering flush, again in January, and then in March or April cut them back by a third to generate lots of new growth.



Photo- Ruth Black /


There are two options: apply a controlled-release fertiliser when planting and top it up sooner than recommended, (for example, if the fertiliser claims nine months, apply another dose after six); alternatively apply a complete water-soluble fertiliser every third watering. This is more time-consuming but results are great. (Water before fertilising if the plant is completely dry.)



Most geraniums won’t last forever (an exception are the ‘regal’ types) so you need to propagate. Take cuttings in autumn, using pieces that aren’t too young or too long. Trim away lower leaves and cut remaining leaves in half. Dip into hormone gel and insert into sterile potting mix.


Photo - maratr / 

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Daniel Wheatley commented on 05 Nov 15

Sorry to hear about your Geraniums, Ann. We try to answer questions here but we find it a little difficult to get to everyone's questions answered in a timely fashion. The comments section isn't the best forum for questions.
But if you are a member of the Garden Clinic Club you can call the Helpline on 1300133100 and get advice from a qualified horticulturist 7 days a week. They will identify the problem and recommend an appropriate solution for you on the spot. And there are mountains of other benefits to being a member. Check them out by clicking the "Join" link at the top of the page.
We think its scale, but difficult to say without seeing it. You could prune the effected stems off, as you've done. But then dont forget to feed them up to promote new growth.
Happy gardening,

Ann Roberts commented on 08 Oct 15

All my geraniums have raised brown lumpy spots under the leaves which are killing them.I Have sprayed with a variety of sprays to no avail. I pick off the affected leaves and end up with sticks. The climbing ivy ones don't get affected.

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Author: Linda Ross