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The first step
Before you start the actual pruning you should remove the geranium leaves. It should be noted that you should remove not only the dried leaves, but also a large part of the juicy green leaves. Some gardeners or florists even go so far as to remove all leaves without exception. One reason for this is that geraniums need less fluid and nutrients during the winter, the less leaves they have. On the other hand, leafy geraniums are more susceptible to disease. In addition, dense foliage favors the infestation by pests. Regardless, foliage-free geraniums take up little space, which is advantageous at the latest when you want to let several plants hibernate together in a single bucket.
The actual pruning
It is generally advised to cut back all geranium shoots without exception by a good two-thirds to a total length of no more than 10 to 15 cm. However, it should be kept in mind that the geraniums should be cut again in the spring to be able to drive out as soon as they come out again. As a result, it is best to trim the geraniums by half or one-third in the fall. In general, it should be ensured that approximately two to three nodes remain per side shoot. But more nodes should not be left, as the geranium would get too many fresh shoots next year. Incidentally, you should use as sharp a pair of pruning shears as possible, which should be thoroughly cleaned in advance. Otherwise, there is a risk that the scissors will still adhere to any pathogens from previous cuts that could be transmitted to your geranium. Tip: From the truncated shoots, you can attract new plants by simply placing them in clear water on the bright windowsill in the light and later repotting them as soon as the so-called cuttings have formed their first roots.
Beware of supposedly dead shoots
When cutting the geraniums, it is important to remove all dead shoots completely. However, you should take special care, as the wooden main drives often look dead without actually being. In order to find out which shoots are really dead, it is usually sufficient to press them lightly between the index finger and the thumb. If the shoots feel unusually soft or even rotten, that is a clear indication that they are indeed dead. Tip: If shoots are only partially dead, it is usually quite enough to shorten them to the trunk about 1 or 2 cm deep in healthy wood.
The roots trim
Before you bring your geraniums into the house for the winter, it's best to repot them to make sure their soil is free from pests and potential pathogens. Apart from that, it may be advisable to prune the roots in addition to the shoots, for which you would have to remove the earth completely anyway. When trimming or thinning the roots, primarily fibrous thin "rootlets" are removed by either plucking them off by hand or cutting them with pruning shears. However, you should make sure that a sufficiently large proportion of the so-called fine roots remains, as your geraniums need these absolutely to survive. Finally, if necessary, you can cut back the actual root or main roots a bit, although here, too, a certain restraint is required, otherwise there is a risk that your geranium no longer grow properly. Tip: Always repot geraniums after cutting back the shoots, as they are much easier to handle.
Further tips on wintering geraniums
Probably the most important criterion for wintering geraniums is the location, which should be as bright as possible. In addition, the ambient temperature should be at least 5 to a maximum of 10° C. It should be noted in this context, however, that in moderately lighted winter quarters tend to be cooler temperatures, otherwise the geraniums could drive out prematurely. In addition, it is important that the geranium soil is kept slightly moist throughout.
The spring cut
As noted earlier, you should prune your geraniums again in the spring. Of course, how many centimeters you should trim your geraniums depends on how far you cut them back in the fall. As a result, no binding information can be given to you at this point. In principle, however, all dried-up areas at the cut edges of the previous pruning cut without exception must be cut off in autumn.As a result, at cut-off, you should be careful to leave at least a minimum of one centimeter or more between the thickened plant buds and the interface. In addition, it may be advisable to re-supply the geraniums with fresh soil after the spring cut to ensure that they are optimally nourished during their budding phase. It should be noted that plants reduce their nutrient uptake during the winter so much that the fresh soil from the previous repopulation in the fall should be sufficiently nutrient-rich enough to meet the rapidly increasing nutrient needs of your geranium in spring.
First, the geraniums are (almost) completely freed from their leaves. Then all shoots are trimmed to the desired length with as sharp and pruned pruning shears, whereby a minimum distance between buds and interface must be observed. After that, the geraniums can be put into fresh garden soil, but also the roots should be thinned a bit and shortened if necessary.
frequently asked Questions
- Do I have to fertilize my geranium after cutting it back? - No, because your geranium's nutrient needs are generally very low throughout the winter, and will not increase again until next spring with the next phase of growth, you do not have to fertilize extra. In fact, it is even advisable to do without fertilizer throughout the winter.
- Where do thin shoots come from? How could it be that my geraniums, after pruning in autumn, got over weak shoots with pale green leaves? - In all likelihood, the location was too dark and warm, causing your geraniums to start exorcising too soon.
- Do I have to handle the fresh interfaces somehow after pruning? - No, as a rule, the interfaces do not need to be treated because they usually dry out quickly, which provides some sort of natural protection.
- Spring cleaning keeps geraniums healthy and flowering. Remove withered and damaged leaves.
- Shorten the green, firm shoots to three to four leaves to make them branch out and remove damaged shoots.
- Well rooted plants get a new pot in spring, which leaves 2 to 3 cm space for new soil around the bale.
- Use fresh balcony potting mixed with some gravel or sand. Leave a 2 cm high pouring rim.
- Once a week you should supply geraniums with liquid fertilizer, which is mixed into the irrigation water.
- Alternatively, at the beginning of the season you can release long-term fertilizer or fertilizer sticks that last for several months.
Well-formed geranium stems are a feast for the eyes. However, they are not cheap if you buy them from the gardener. But there are alternatives. You can pull high trunks yourself:
- Choose a healthy, vigorous pelargonium and cut off all shoots except for one main shoot at the base.
- In order for the tree to grow nicely straight, the shoot is tied to a support rod. Cut off the lower leaves.
- Remove all regrowing side shoots except for the crown area.
- When the desired height is reached, all main and side shoots are pinched out until a compact crown has formed.