How to Grow and Care for Geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) Indoors


Geranium Plant, Pelargonium x hortorum

Botanical name: Pelargonium x hortorum
Family: Geraniaceae

Description

Geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) are popular plants due to their ease of care, large colourful blooms and a long flowering period; will bloom almost all year-round if kept on a sunny window at average room temperature.

Size

The Geraniums grow to a height of 1-2 ft but some can reach 4 ft or more.

Flower

Some Geraniums have small insignificant flowers and are grown for their colourful foliage but majority bear large flowers which may be single, semi-double or double.

The common flower colours in Pelargonium x hortorum are white, red, pink, orange and purple. The whole plant except the flowers gives off a characteristic smell.

Numerous varieties of Pelargonium x hortorum for growing indoors are available.

Origin

The Pelargonium x hortorum is a hybrid between Pelargonium zonale and Pelargonium inquinans.

Pelargonium x hortorum belongs to the group of Pelargoniums called Zonal (or common) Pelargonium. This refers to the brown annular zone around the leaves. The parent plants are native to South Africa.

Where to Buy

Various beautiful and healthy Geraniums are available online at Etsy. Buy Geranium Plants from Etsy.

Geranium Plant, Pelargonium x hortorum

Photo Credit: Gardenia.net

Pelargonium x hortorum care Indoors

Geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum) thrives in bright light with some direct sunlight, cool to average warmth, average room humidity and consistently moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Pelargonium x hortorum requires regular pruning to keep it neat, discourage pest and disease infestations as well as encourage a bushy compact growth. Repotting is only necessary when the plant is extremely pot-bound as it blooms best when the roots are confined. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how best to provide them.

Light requirements

Geranium Plant grows best in bright light with some direct sunlight. It can also grow under a grow light where natural light is inadequate.

The plant will not bloom if the light is not enough. Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.

Watering

Water Geranium Plant liberally during the growing season and allow the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moist at all times.

Reduce watering during the cold period as growth is minimal at this time but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to avoid soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.


Temperature

The best temperature for growing Geranium Plant indoors is an average warmth with a minimum of 130C. The cool nights and warm days are necessary to trigger flower buds.

Keep the plant away from cold and hot draughts as the sudden changes in temperatures can cause reddening leaf edges, leaf drop, wilting and reduced growth.

Humidity

Average room humidity is ideal for Geranium Plant. Where the air is too dry, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. Do not mist the leaves as it can lead to fungal diseases.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Geranium Plant with a phosphorous-rich, water-soluble fertilizer every 3-4 weeks during the growing season to enhance flowering.

Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and it can lead to fertilizer burn and eventual death of the plant.

Repotting

Repot Geranium Plant during the growing season only when the plant is extremely pot-bound as it blooms more when the roots are confined. Do not repot a plant that is in flower as the repotting shock can shorten the flowering period.

Use a pot 1 size larger and one that has a drainage hole and free-draining soil to avoid getting soggy soil which can lead to root-rot disease.

Soil

The best soil for Geranium Plant should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Most multi-purpose potting mixes like this quality potting mix available at Etsy are ideal for the Geranium Plant.

Pruning

Pruning Geranium Plant is easy. Remove dead flowers and leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy as well as minimize pest and disease infestations.

Pinch off the growing tips to encourage compact growth and prevent the plant from getting unruly. After flowering, lightly cut back the stems to rejuvenate growth and keep the plant compact.

Propagation

Geranium Plant (Pelargonium x hortorum) propagation can be done at the beginning of the growing season from stem cuttings or by seeds.

How to propagate Geranium Plant from stem cuttings

Take a 4-6 in. stem cuttings from a healthy Geranium plant. Strip off the lower leaves.

Insert the cuttings in moist free-draining soil. Ensure the rooting container has proper drainage to prevent the soil from becoming soggy to avoid rotting.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit spot and maintain the soil moist through out until the new Geraniums plants are well established.

How to propagate Geranium Plant from seeds

Spread Geranium seeds evenly on moist free-draining soil and cover lightly with some soil. Cover the set up with a plastic sheet to create a greenhouse effect.

Place the set up in a warm, brightly-lit place and maintain the soil moist through out by gently misting the soil surface until the seedlings are well established.

When the seedlings are a reasonable size, transplant them into individual pots.

Place the pots in a cool well-lit spot and maintain the soil moist until the new Geranium plants are well established.

Geranium Plant, Pelargonium x hortorum

Photo Credit: thessfyta.gr

Pelargonium x hortorum Problems Indoors

Geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum) problems indoors are caused by cultural faults in watering, temperature and lighting. The problems include yellow leaves, wilting, leaf drop, leggy growth, reddening leaf edges, mold, pests and diseases. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to solve them.

Lower leaves yellowing, firm and scorched

The cause of yellow, firm and scorched lower leaves in Geranium is underwatering.

Water the plant thoroughly during the growing period and allow the soil to dry out between waterings to maintain it moist at all times.

Cut down on watering in the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

Leggy growth and leaf drop

Leggy growth and leaf drop in Geranium is due to too little light; the plant is not getting adequate light.

Move the plant to a brighter spot. Geranium grows best under bright light but away from direct sunlight or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.

Lower leaves yellowing, wilted and rotten

Overwatering is the cause of yellow, wilted and rotten lower leaves in Geranium. Maintain the soil moist but not soggy.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil.

Reddening leaf edges

Very low temperature is the cause of reddening leaf edges in Geranium. Move it to a warmer spot or protect it from cold draughts like drafty windows and doors.

Blackening at the base of the stem

The cause of blackening of the stem base in Geranium is black leg disease which is enhanced by soggy soil.

Stop overwatering the plant and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil.

Water-soaked, corky patches on leaves

Water-soaked, corky patches on the leaves of Geranium are an indication of oedema disease which is promoted by soggy soil.

Reduce watering and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil.

Grey mold on the leaves

Grey mold on the leaves of Geranium are a sign of botrytis disease which is associated with soggy soil.

Cut down on watering and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil.

Pests

Common pests in Geranium are Whiteflies, Vine Weevil and Aphids. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat the pests appropriately. Read more on how to identify and control houseplants pests.

Is Geranium toxic?

Geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum) plants are non-toxic to humans and pets. They are known to be used in teas and cakes.

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