Keep geraniums properly in the winter - a guide

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Keep geraniums properly in the winter - a guide: plants

Geraniums can normally remain in the box until late autumn until they are ready for winter storage. If the first frost is announced or the night temperatures are close to freezing, but you should bring your geraniums to a safe place at the latest. The plants can survive one to two days in light frost, but they are not feeling well even if they still look fresh. Rather, play it safe and bring the plants to their winter quarters a few days early, rather than risk it. When the flowers are almost bloomed and the leaves turn white and begin to fall off, the time has come for geraniums to be stored. In late autumn, the geraniums should also no longer be kept moist, otherwise the roots and branches are in danger of becoming rotten.
The wintering of geraniums is not expensive and requires little space. There are many different ways to overwinter geraniums for which you can choose depending on the available space.

  • In the plastic bag, head hung over
  • In clay pots
  • As a whole in the flower box
  • Rootless in newspaper
  • In the hole

The pruning

Before storing geraniums for the winter, they must be prepared accordingly. In late autumn around mid-October, you must first remove all shoot tips with buds, young, new leaves and flowers with a sharp pruning shears. It is sufficient if two to three nodes stop per shoot. Then carefully remove all leaves and also cut the stems, as they are prone to disease and pest infestation. Dead parts should also be removed. If the geranium is bare, it can be removed from the flower box. Separate the individual plants and remove excess soil. Make sure that the fine roots are just covered and a high fine root is preserved. However, it is not necessary to hibernate much of the earth.
It is important to cut back all existing flowers, buds and leaves to remove as they need water and otherwise dry out the soil and thus the roots. In the worst case, it can even lead to pest infestation or disease in the plants. From the cut shoots you can also pull cuttings if necessary.

Preparation for storage

The wintering in the plastic bag is a method that many hobby gardeners use. Here, the root ball of the plants prepared for the winter is wrapped in a bag to avoid moisture loss. However, some air may come to the root, but it must not dry out. At the end, the geraniums are hung head-over.
In the second method, the geranium is wintered in clay pots. After pruning and removing the soil, the geraniums can be placed in the pots for three or four. Then the roots can be covered with a mixture of sand and potting soil.
You can also overwinter the plants rootless. To do this, wrap the winter-ready plants in a dry state in several layers of newspaper and bundle the plants.
Another space-saving method is the wintering of geraniums in the hole. Of course, this is only possible if you have your own garden. However, outside temperatures must not fall below -2 degrees Celsius. To do this, lift a hole about 80 centimeters deep and fill it with twigs, twigs or straw. Now put the trimmed, ungulate and foliage-free geraniums in this hole and then fill it with the excavated earth. For extra protection, you can end up covering the hole with a straw mat.

Geranium - Pelargonium - Pelargonium

The plants can also overwinter as a whole in the flower box. Also in this method, the plants are cut back, but not taken from the soil. However, this takes up more space and usually you should also in the following year exchange the soil in the boxes.
No matter which method you choose, it is advisable to cut the plants back by about a third or half. For wintering they should have a height of 15 to 17 centimeters.

Care Instructions

If you hibernate the geraniums, they will require little care. The over-the-head plastic bag method does not need to care for the plants at all. If you overwinter the geraniums in pots you have to water moderately. Under no circumstances should they dry out, as otherwise the plants die off.
If you overwinter the geraniums in the flower box or in the flower pot you have to water them every few weeks. The soil in the flower box dries very quickly compared to the end in bags and so does the roots in the then dry soil. In the spring you should then at least partially replace the earth in the boxes, which is already leached the earth after one year.


For the head-over method, the place where they will overwinter the geraniums must be frost-protected but cool and dark. Well suited for example the cellar, a garage or a frost-protected garden shed. It is important that the geraniums are protected from direct sun and the room is cold, otherwise the flowers will start to run out and in consequence be dehydrated.
If you overwinter the geraniums in the clay pot, it should be stored in a bright place with a temperature of five to ten degrees Celsius. In this method, the plants should not be too dark or warm, otherwise they drive out prematurely and long thin shoots form.
When storing roots in newsprint, the plants need a cool, dark location like the basement, the garage or a garden shed.

Wintering of geraniums

Geraniums can stay outside until the first night frosts, in a sheltered location they can tolerate temperatures of up to -5° C. Afterwards, they must be allowed, so they do not freeze to death.
  • Before the geraniums are brought into their winter quarters, all long and weak shoots should be cut back. This cut does not need to be that strong, because in the spring, the geraniums are cut again anyway, before they are brought outside again.

  • Although geraniums can also hibernate in a dark room, such as in the cellar, a bright location is better. There it should be cool to cold, but frost-free. The rule here is that the darker the room is, the colder the room should be.

The space-saving methods

Geraniums can stay in the flower box to bring them to their winter quarters, but then they need a lot of space, which may not be available in every household.
  • It is a bit more space-saving to take the geraniums out of the boxes, shake off the potting soil a little and then place several plants in a flower pot. They are easily covered with potting soil and during the winter months only very sparingly poured and not fertilized.

  • It is even easier to remove the soil and most of the leaves from the plants and then to hang the geraniums upside down in the cellar. Then they will not need any care until spring.

Geraniums in spring

After successfully wintering, the geraniums are cut again, replanted and pulled forward on the windowsill to bring them out again as temperatures rise.
  • Around February or March, geraniums are radically cut back to about ten centimeters, with each cut made just above a bud. This cut is important because geraniums blossom on the new shoots that will form afterwards.

  • Then the flowers are put back in flower boxes with fresh potting soil, placed in a bright and warm place and there they soon go out again. For this purpose, a sunny windowsill, where the plants are then poured again stronger.

  • At appropriate temperatures, the pelargonium can then be brought outside again. A safe time for this is after the Eisheiligen in mid-May, no strong Nachtfröste be expected, but this can be done sooner. Geraniums in a balcony box can also easily be brought into the house overnight if there is another cold snap.

There are several different ways to bring your geraniums through the winter. Choose the method that best suits you and re-grow the plant in the spring. So in summer, nothing should stand in the way of the colorful blooming geraniums.

Video Board: How to Overwinter Geraniums.

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