Haliburton County Master Gardener
They usually have big umbel style blossoms, often red, frequently grown in pots, do well in dry sunny conditions, and do not winter over outside in Canada. They come in many colours, can have a trailing aspect and may have variegated and/or scented leaves.
They are known as Geraniums, or the latin Pelargoniums. True Geraniums, in Canada, are really perennials such as Bloody Cranesbill.
To overwinter geraniums bring the mother plant inside in a pot before frost. Cut back by half. Keep the mother plant minimally watered in a cool environment with some sun. Some people take the plant right out of the soil & store it in a dark cellar. If your basement is not damp, put the roots in some moist peat moss enclosed in a plastic bag.
In either case, in the spring (February) new shoots will appear. Cut these stems off below a leaf node (remove any buds) & plant into peat moss, water, cover with a plastic bag and place in a sunny location for 3 weeks. Transplant the rooted shoots into growers mix in individual 4 inch pots. Fertilize with 15,30,15 every 3 weeks. Remove any blossom buds. When about 6 leaves have appeared pinch out the growing tip. Do this 2 more times to produce a 3 stemmed plant.
In early May begin to harden the plants off (shade outside, then more & more sun and less frequent watering). Transplant to final larger pots outside or to the garden after danger of frost is over.
Many people keep tending their potted mother plant (cut back by half overall when obtaining the slips) and put it outside after danger of frost is past. They survive this way for many years.
Deadhead geraniums throughout the summer.
Fact Sheets >