How To Save Your Geraniums This Fall! Overwintering Geraniums

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Looking to learn the simple steps to save your geraniums this fall and successfully overwinter them? Surprisingly, although geraniums are commonly treated as annuals, they’re actually perennials. With a little care, you can safely overwinter them and enjoy their beauty again in the coming year!
Geraniums hold a special place in the hearts of many gardeners, adorning gardens with their vibrant blooms throughout the warm spring and summer seasons. They’re renowned for their ability to withstand the scorching sun and heat. What’s even better is their versatility – they thrive in containers, pots, window boxes, and flower beds alike. That is, of course, until the harsh cold weather sets in to challenge them.


How To Save Your Geraniums This Fall! Overwintering Geraniums

The vibrant blooms and lush foliage of geraniums are a delightful sight during the warmer months. The good news is, with a little care, they can be effortlessly brought indoors to thrive through the winter, ensuring they’ll grace your garden once more come spring.

Regrettably, if left outdoors late in the fall, these cold-sensitive geraniums succumb to the first severe frost or freeze. However, unlike annuals like marigolds, petunias, and zinnias, geraniums need not meet the same seasonal end. Not when you take the step to bring them indoors and keep them thriving.

With just a bit of extra TLC, geraniums can be nurtured throughout the entire winter with minimal fuss – a clever strategy to save on plants every spring. Keeping this in mind, let’s explore three straightforward methods that all prove highly effective in preserving geraniums over the winter.

How To Overwinter Geraniums – Save Your Geraniums This Fall!

Types Of Geraniums

Before you begin the process of overwintering, it’s important to recognize that there are two main types of geraniums – hardy and non-hardy varieties. Although both are perennials, they require distinct approaches for overwintering.

Hardy geraniums boast smaller, unclustered blooms and can brave the outdoors year-round without any additional attention. In fact, they can endure winter in growing zones 3 through 8 right where they’re planted.

All that’s truly necessary to shield hardy geraniums is a generous layer of mulch in the autumn. After they’ve naturally withered, you can trim them back and apply two to three inches of mulch above the plant’s base. For further insights on cultivating hardy varieties, check out “Hardy Geraniums – An All-Season Blooming Perennial For Your Landscape!”

Indeed, hardy geraniums present a distinct appearance compared to the more common varieties found in garden centers. These particular geraniums require minimal attention to brave the winter chill. Their resilience makes them a valuable addition to any garden.


Absolutely, while hardy geraniums contribute a touch of color to the landscape, they don’t quite boast the dazzling flowering display that non-hardy varieties do. This is precisely why non-hardy geraniums are a sought-after choice for annual growth.

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Non-hardy geraniums truly burst forth with impressive blooms. However, preserving these stunners demands a bit more effort come fall. The great news is, that it’s a simpler process than you might envision!

Saving Non-Hardy Geraniums – How To Overwinter Geraniums In The Fall

Non-hardy geraniums, the kind you commonly find at garden centers and stores, are distinguished by their signature long stems and large, clustered blooms that are typically associated with the term “geraniums.”

A crucial aspect of preserving non-hardy geraniums over the winter is to initiate the process before the plants face extremely cold temperatures. Waiting until a hard freeze or frost hits will result in the demise of your plants, plain and simple.

In cold weather, geraniums become quite delicate. Their leaves, blossoms, and stems all contain a significant amount of moisture, which can freeze if exposed to excessively cold temperatures. Once the plant material has frozen, it’s unfortunately too late to rescue the plants.

a killing frost to cold sensitive plants
When freezing weather arrives, it’s unfortunately too late to preserve your geranium plants. Taking action before the cold sets in is crucial to their survival.

To rescue non-hardy geraniums, it’s imperative to bring them indoors before the risk of frost sets in. The earlier you make this transition in the autumn to prepare for indoor overwintering, the smoother the adjustment will be for the plants.

There are, in fact, three distinct methods for overwintering geraniums. Each proves effective, but the decision ultimately hinges on the space available to you and what aligns best with your specific circumstances.

Save Bare Root Cuttings – How To Overwinter & Save Geraniums In The Fall

The initial method for safeguarding non-hardy geraniums during winter is highly effective for plants in flowerbeds or directly planted in the ground. It’s also a practical choice for potted geraniums, especially if you’re limited on indoor space.

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In early autumn, well ahead of any threat of frost, carefully unearth the geraniums or take them out of their containers. Gently remove any clinging soil to expose the roots. Trim the top of the plant down to roughly one-half to one-third of its original size, being mindful to protect the roots.

Once the roots are thoroughly dried, position the plants with their roots facing upwards inside a roomy brown paper bag or sturdy cardboard box. Store them in a cool, dark location like a basement, well-insulated shed, or garage.

The roots of a geranium plant - how to save geraniums in the fall

Absolutely, removing all of the soil from the geranium roots is a crucial step before overwintering. This helps prevent any potential issues with moisture retention and keeps the roots in the best possible condition for their winter rest.

As spring approaches, pot up the bare root geraniums and place them in a sunny room or near a window. Utilize high-quality, all-purpose potting soil to provide the roots with the best chance of revival. Water the plants until they are slightly moist.

Within a couple of weeks, you should start to see new growth emerging. When the weather turns warmer, you can then transplant the bare root geraniums directly into the soil or return them to containers to continue thriving and blooming throughout the entire season. Happy gardening!

Treating Geraniums Like Houseplants – How To Overwinter & Save Geraniums In The Fall

If your non-hardy geraniums are already in containers or pots, keeping them thriving through the winter is straightforward – treat them as houseplants. Simply bring them indoors!

Before moving them inside, start by giving your plants a thorough wash. Spray the soil and foliage to dislodge any attached critters or insects. Additionally, remove any dead or brown foliage to give them a fresh start.

Non-hardy geraniums will thrive indoors as long as they receive plenty of light and warmth, much like typical houseplants. If you have a well-lit, Southern-facing window, position the geranium there to benefit from bright, indirect light. In case you lack adequate natural lighting, consider placing the plants under grow lights. This way, they’ll continue to flourish throughout the winter. (Affiliate Product Link: Full-Spectrum Grow Light)

It’s crucial to steer clear of drafty areas when positioning geraniums indoors. Additionally, ensure they are kept away from heater vents, fireplaces, and any high-heat sources. Both drafts and excessive heat can cause rapid harm to the plants, making it challenging for them to thrive indoors. Providing them with a stable and temperate environment is key to their winter survival.

Allowing Geraniums To Go Dormant – How To Overwinter & Save Geraniums In The Fall

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