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Re: Geraniums Around the World

[Karen Prytula]

>I am definitely looking forward to this article.  I have some geraniums
>(can't remember the kind right now) in a hanging pot.  I hang them outside
>for the summer and bring them in for the winter.  Currently they are hanging
>in my bedroom(which has lots of light).  My problem is that all the leaves
>are falling off and the plant looks dead.  I read once that they go dormant
>for the winter months.  Will they supposed to start growing leaves all on
>their own again, or is there something I should be doing?

If you are overwintering P.peltatum ('trailing geraniums') it is wise to prune them down to stubs and let them grow new stems/leaves as the season advances.  They will look and bloom better.  Pelargoniums are highly light-sensitive, and some species even more so than others.

>I have other geraniums (can't remember the name right now) that I had in the
>ground during the summer.  I dug them up and brought them inside for the
>winter.  I plan to put them back in the ground in the spring.  These plants
>are not losing their leaves, in fact they aren't going dormant at all and
>appear to be growing (a little)  There are definitely no blooms though.
>These are sitting in pots in my kitchen window which has just as much light
>as the bedroom and both rooms face south.

Pruning after bringing them in from the garden would most likely help the appearance of these as well (unless you want them to grow very large).  Pellies tend to develop gnarled, trunklike stems with age, and while this is natural and doesn't matter in places like California (or S.Africa) where they live outdoors year-round and become shrubs, it can be rather unsightly in a portable pot.
Or, you could take cuttings and start new plants.

As for blooms, see above.

>While at my Mother's for Christmas I noticed she has geraniums in her
>bathroom (lots of sun and faces west) and hers are not going dormant, they
>are in bloom.

There's no accounting for differences in performance sometimes.  I have a SW picture filled with miniature and dwarf pellies and seedlings, most of which are blooming their heads off despite our 16 hours of midwinter darkness (I live in Montana).  The room is kept fairly warm, and there are lots of sunny days in this area.  Of course they have been, for the most part, bred for indoor conditions.

But I have 2 large pots of a nameless red garden pelargonium sitting in a SE window, which is blooming a bit, but not in it's summer magnificence.  Some varieties are much more floriferous - under almost any conditions - than others.

Also, feeding can affect bloom performance.  You want to give a relatively low-nitrogen fertilizer to pellies, and very little (if any) of that in midwinter.


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