Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

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How do I grow geraniums?

Geraniums of the genus Pelargonium generally do best in sunny locations, but some of the large flowered varieties grow and flower best if they receive light shade in the afternoon.

Select a fertile well drained soil. Work in a complete fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, before planting, especially if the soil is low in fertility. You can also improve the soil structure by working in a two inch layer of peat moss before you plant. This is very important if the soil is mostly sand or clay.

Once established in the garden, geraniums require little care. To encourage flower production, remove spent blooms regularly. Also, remove yellowed leaves and pinch or trim back stems to encourage branching.

Geraniums will do quite well during dry periods. However, they will flower better if they receive regular watering. Water in the morning as evening watering may promote diseases.

Geraniums are easily propagated by taking three to five inch long stem cuttings. Select strong healthy shoots for cuttings. Dip the base of the cuttings in a rooting hormone powder to speed rooting. Set the cutting two inches deep in sand, vermiculite, perlite or a well drained potting soil. Keep the cuttings in a bright location but out of direct sunlight. Cuttings usually root in three to 4 weeks.

Geraniums will not over winter outside in Missouri. In the fall, take cuttings and start young plants for over wintering or plant a few healthy plants in pots and put them in a sunny window in a cool room. If you have a cool, but frost-free location, such as a root cellar, protected garage, or unheated basement, you can keep your geraniums over winter by storing them without soil. Simply lift the plants out of the ground before frost. Shake the soil from the roots and hang plants upside down from the rafters. Take the plants down several times during the winter and place the roots in water for several hours. This will prevent them from drying. Keep plants inside until all danger of frost has passed in the Spring.