Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Overwintering Geraniums - Part 2

Well, it's time to revisit one of my 'Garden Experiments' that I challenged myself with this winter. My geraniums...

This is what I started with in October, possibly 18 or 20 cuttings. I had 6 or 7 'adult' plants that I had removed from the soil, pruned back & dried off/out & put into a paper bag. 
Back in December I set up my 2 little mini grow-lights on a timer & arranged my poor, pathetic cuttings underneath. I watered them well & then we left on a month-long vacation in search of sunshine. By this time, I had already lost half the cuttings.
We are now into March & I've got 7 very healthy looking cuttings sitting in my front window. I still haven't really figured out the whole watering thing & I have given them a small shot of fish fertilizer, but I think they will make it through to the replanting stage sometime in April. I'm just now contemplating whether or not to put them into larger pots for the next couple of months, or let them be...
So, those were the cuttings from October. The 'adult' plants didn't fare so well - they completely died. Shriveled, rotten, dried up sticks with wirey bits of root... I did manage to find 2 plants with a very small bit of 'green' on them, so I potted them up & it looks like only 1 is managing to sprout some leaves. This one requires some serious TLC... Funny thing though, one of my hanging baskets did not get emptied in the fall - I just managed to haul it inside in December before we left on vacation & it had 2 geranium plants in it, as well as 2 small fushia plants that I thought I'd see what they'd do.
These are the fushias - doing very well after a small prune back in January. I had planted the other hanging basket fushias outside in October into a half barrel & just in an open spot in a new flower bed because they were still flowering. I checked on them a couple weeks ago - gave them a prune & it looks like they too are sprouting green shoots!! Wow - overwintering fushias?? And these are not the wild, hardy fushia bushes that also have growing around here. I wonder if these will flower again this year??
This is the geranium that remained in the hanging basket all winter. The soil is incredibly water logged & rather cold. I've just hauled it upstairs so that it will warm up & get some proper sunlight, as  those mini-grow lights just aren't doing good things for my seedlings. As you can see, the plant looks rather rotten. The other plant in the basket looks worse, so I'll probably just dig it up & toss it.
I have 3 lovely scented geraniums that I left in their pots this winter. I tried to take some cuttings, but that ended in disaster (too much water I think) & we've (the plants & I) been battling out survival all winter. They were downstairs on top of my berry freezer, in the dark for the most part, til January. I then decided to introduce water to them with a bit of fish fertilizer & gave them another hair cut. They kept putting out really leggy shoots all winter long, not strong enough for cuttings, but just enough to let me know they were still living.
This is one of the scented geraniums that did really well - it's in a smaller pot. So, this has gotten me thinking that if I want to overwinter my 'adult' plants again, I will put them into smaller pots & just reduce the watering during the winter months.
All in all - the geranium experiment was successful in that my scented geraniums survived as well as a few cuttings off the red geraniums.

1 comment:

Heather said...

This reminds me of a time I was out riding my bike in late October. I happend upon someone's old cedar hanging basket out on the side of the road for pickup. Being the thrifty person I am, I picked it up thinking I would use the basket next year. So off I went with the basket straped with a bungie cord to the back of my bike. I parked my bike in the garage leaning agains the window and that was that. A month or so later, I was parking the car in the garage and something caught my eye. There was some green coming out of the pot. Upon closer inspection I saw that there were some geraniums and fushias coming out of the pot. I gave them only enought water to keep them from wilting. In the spring I put the pot outside again and I had geraniums and fushias. I think, as you discovered that water is the key. Not to much, not to little.

Happy Gardening,
Heather