CO-Horts Blog

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Wintering over geraniums

by Irene Shonle, CSU Extension in Gilpin County

Up here in the mountains we've already had several killing frosts (and even though it's been a VERY late fall, you flatlanders will get frost soon, if you haven't already).
I've recently figured something out that probably has occured to many of you already, but for me was an epiphany.
It's the answer to dealing with geraniums.  I love growing them for their bright blooms, but it was getting hard to manage them.  I kept having to put them in bigger pots, and I was running out of space in my sunroom when I brought them in for the winter.  Plus, since I had a number of them for years, some of them were starting to get woody and less productive, despite pruning.  But I like my geranium assortment, so I don't want to dump them at the end of summer and buy new in the spring. What to do?
Make cuttings in late summer, and take them inside in much smaller pots, that's what!
Overwintering geranium cuttings
By next summer they will have lots of fresh, productive new growth (and will even have given me some much-needed winter blossoms),and I will plant them outside in larger pots. Perpetually youthful geraniums! (Would that we could do that for ourselves).

Another tip:  instead of saving tomato seeds (which of course does have the virtue of creating a line of plants adapted to your specific garden), just take cuttings of your favorite plants.  Put them in water until they develop roots (you can even keep them in water for quite some time), and then pot them up in a container.  Since the idea is not necessarily to produce tomatoes in the winter, they don't need to occupy your sunniest or warmest spot - they just need to hang out and be healthy. As spring arrives, put them in the same conditions you'd use for seedlings -- but you'll have much more vigorous plants than ones grown from seed. You'll also have the satisfaction of knowing this is the exact same plant as the one you enjoyed all season!

Tomato cuttings developing roots in water


  1. Great ideas! Your timing is great. I have two spectacular geraniums that I bought this year that are on their last legs in containers on my entry. I am going out now and bring in a few clippings to winter over. It is sad when you find a plant you really like and then the next year you can't find it in the garden centers again. THANK YOU!

  2. I guess I just have no sympathy to my geraniums--they went out with the trash this morning :) But they are easy to propagate!

    1. I think cutting and dismembering all of those Callery pear for her Ph.D. has turned Alison into a horticultural Dexter Morgan (for those of you saying "Huh?", you'll just have to Google him). Poor geraniums... Irene would have taken you in. Well, parts of you anyway :) Great blog Irene!

  3. My Mother use to take geranium cuttings in the fall and they would sit in the windows surrounding our kitchen table all winter. Every time someone squeezed by to get to their seat they would get brushed, releasing the geranium smell. As a result, as an adult, I have never liked geraniums! In recent years I have acquired some that have other smells but don't have particularly nice flowers. As I'm writing this I'm thinking that I typically don't have to rub against them...