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10/12/2013 at 14:32

Hi All,

I'm new here but love looking through all the fantastic threads on here. I'm looking for some advice about overwintering Geraniums. I've heard people say that it's not worth overwintering them and that they should be treated as an annual, but I really loved the colour of my Geraniums last year and so wanted to see if I could keep them in the greenhouse and get another year out of them.

I didn't water them for a week or so prior to placing them in the greenhouse, then cut them back and pulled off all the foliage. Then just left them in the greenhouse to go dormant. They had been in there a good 2 months or so andI hadn't touched them at all (hadn't watered them as I assumed if they were dormant they wouldn't need it), but when I checked on them last week, there was a fine white powdery dust all over them. I was wondering if it was powdery mildew. I read online to spray them with a fine mist of diluted milk to prevent the spread of the mildew. So I did this. But when I checked on them this afternoon, all the stems are turning brown and seemingly rotting. I'm so disappointed.

Does anyone have a way to resolve this? Is there anyway I can revive these plants or are they goners? What's the best way to store them over-winter? Would it be best to up-root them, shake off any excess soil and let them dry out (out of compost) in the garage?

Any advice would be much appreciated,

Cate  

10/12/2013 at 14:51

Pelargoniums  (non hardy geraniums) need to be kept on the dry side in winter but not bone dry. They need to be kept frost free. They don't go dormant like hardy geraniums. If they get too cold and wet they will rot off. They would be best on an indoor windowsill to overwinter if you have no heating in your greenhouse.

10/12/2013 at 15:38

i have same dilema. have mine in outhouse which is frost free. my pelargoniums are too big for indoors, guess we have nothing to lose by leaving them!!

10/12/2013 at 16:54

The idea is to overwinter cuttings and not the full size plant

10/12/2013 at 17:35

Agree with fidget - they're best cut back and kept inside a sheltered porch or somewhere bright but where it won't freeze.

I leave mine in the garden (no sun in Winter, so can go down to -5 some days) but I cover them lightly with white carrier bags and chuck all the fallen leaves around the base. They are right next to a brick wall, planted in open soil, not pots. They overwinter fine. I tend to leave all the leaves on, as I find that as soon as they are cut, the water-filled stems will freeze very easily.

It may be too cold where you aren to do this though.

10/12/2013 at 20:01

if its a help, I keep some of mine in the garage up against a window, flanked on 3 sides with white polystyrene plant trays to reflect the light back onto them.

Just come back from the garage, all still looks well. I only keep mine moist, small amount of water once a month now until spring

10/12/2013 at 22:45

What a wonderful site! I wasn't expecting so many great replies!

I think I'm going to bring them inside into the conservatory. I was planning on doing this anyway but last year all my seedlings got damping off in my conservatory and so I was worried my Geraniums might suffer similar fungal problems this year. Still, I suppose watering sparingly might prevent this.

Going to bring them indoors and see if any of them can be salvage. Thankyou for your great replies,

Cate 

11/12/2013 at 12:46

have taken cuttings of them all. like my penstemon cuttings they have a stem fungi

11/12/2013 at 13:14
Catie wrote (see)

What a wonderful site! I wasn't expecting so many great replies!

I think I'm going to bring them inside into the conservatory. I was planning on doing this anyway but last year all my seedlings got damping off in my conservatory and so I was worried my Geraniums might suffer similar fungal problems this year. Still, I suppose watering sparingly might prevent this.

Going to bring them indoors and see if any of them can be salvage. Thankyou for your great replies,

Cate 

They'll hardly need watering at all 

11/12/2013 at 18:32

Welcome Catie.

I don't remove the leaves from the geraniums, just give them a bit of a haircut. The ones I really need to keep go on the shelf, not the ground in the slightly heated greenhouse.

12/12/2013 at 03:12
Thankyou all.
Unfortunately I've already cut back them all to just their stems. Have brought them indoors. Some into our unheated porch and some into our central heated conservatory. Both get lots of light.

Yes, I intend on giving them very little water - thankyou for the tip

Will keep everyone informed, I'm hoping to see some sins of life and some little leaves spouting. Just to reassure me that they're still alive! Fingers crossed!

Thanks all,
Cate
12/12/2013 at 08:19

Don't worry if you don't see signs of life until the spring - you may do, but don't worry if you don't 

13/12/2013 at 00:22

Oh thankyou Dovefromabove, I never thought of that. 

They seem to be looking a little better. Stems are seeming abit sturdier. Will keep you updated. Think I'll definitely try taking cuttings next year!

Best,

Cate 

13/12/2013 at 02:04

you must remove any dead leaves regularly including the little bits on the stem, to avoid fungus, you can cut them back and de-pot them, in order to pack more into a smaller space, i've even packed dozens, like this into a 2 ft x 6 in window box, but you can keep them entire if you want, water them occasionally but keep them on the dry side, in a well ventilated room frost free room (this may be where you're going wrong), they come from south africa and hate the cold and damp.  in spring pot up/on into fresh compost and as these plants look a little untidy take cuttings from sturdy shoots when they start growing.  

13/12/2013 at 06:08

Hi Cate,

I agree with everyone's advice about removing brown leaves. The fungus on yours would probably be botrytis not powdery mildew so spraying with milk wouldn't have helped but make it worse as the leaves should be kept dry. Hope you get them through the winter.

I've still got a few outside so must get them in before I get caught out. It's been so mild that I forget we are in the middle of  winter.  

21/03/2014 at 17:45
Hi All, just an update to say that I brought all geranium plants indoors inside our heated conservatory and all but one have failed to really do much. However, the one that has done something had really thrived. In fact, it started re growing pretty much weeks after I initially posted and had gone mad since.

Since posting I have noticed a lot of geraniums in people's porch windows, still with full foliage. So next autumn, I shall either take cuttings to over winter or just bring all plants inside the conservatory having just had a haircut!

I tried to take some cuttings from the plant that is thriving but they have all pretty much wilted - could anyone tell me what I did wrong? I will try and post some photos of said thriving plant and also my failed cuttings.

Thanks for all your help,
Cate
21/03/2014 at 18:59

Have a few pelargoniums outside ...some still flowering.....and looking healthy.  I keep cuttings on the very dry side but then watch when some water is needed.  Trouble is its been so mild they just want to grow.  I cut plants hard back in autumn....tidies them, removes dead foliage, etc. and gives me a chance to inspect them for problems. Cuttings I took in September are now filling 9 cm pots.

Watered my pelargoniums......got quite a few of them....today cos they are drying out and they need it.  However, a cold night or two in the forecast ....

Lyn
21/03/2014 at 19:19

I took this photo today of some of my over wintered geraniums, I have several cuttings from them as well.  If they look any worse than these they get composted.  I still have the cuttings if needed

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/39974.jpg?width=307&height=350&mode=max

 

21/03/2014 at 19:22

Is that a vine weevil there Lyn ?  Look at the bottom right near the left side.    

21/03/2014 at 19:23

Oops!  Sorreeeeeeeeee Lyn 

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