Geraniums in winter
Everyone loves geraniums: with their bright colors, they embellish gardens and terraces, especially in summer. When the cold arrives, however, they need special care.
The geranium plant is perennial: it means that it lives many years, if it is found in the right environmental conditions. Geranium is also resistant to cold: however, it is a plant that does not tolerate too rigid temperatures, as its ideal climate is mild.
If we are in an area where the winter temperature drops a lot, it is therefore necessary to pay particular attention to our geranium plants, which otherwise would not survive. However, it is not a question of having to carry out complicated operations: it is simply necessary to use some care.
First of all, it is necessary to prune the plant: this is a delicate and important operation, which serves to clean up the geranium and prepare it for winter, during which it will be in a state of vegetative rest. We therefore eliminate leaves and dry branches (in order to make the plant less easy prey for insects and parasites), and we suspend all fertilization operations (which would hinder the vegetative rest of the plant). Instead, administer a fungicide treatment, to prevent the plant from being attacked by mycosis during the cold months. Now, it is time to proceed with the development of the best way for our colorful plants to survive the winter.
When it's very cold
If you live in an area where the winter is very harsh, it is better to keep the geraniums sheltered inside the house: it is sufficient to keep them in an area away from heat sources (not next to the radiators!) the earth barely moist. Better if near a window, so that the plants can enjoy natural light (but a cellar is fine too). In case you don't have the possibility to host the plants at home, you can use a small greenhouse: on the market there are different types, even small and suitable to be kept on the terrace or on the balcony. The simplest ones have a plastic structure (suitable for keeping the plants raised from the ground) and a PVC sheet that covers them, as a form of protection. There are also more complicated models, which involve glass panels to be mounted on the structure. In the event that the plants are few and there is not much space on the terrace or in the garden, the first solution is certainly sufficient. The structure (whether in glass, plastic or PVC) keeps the heat inside, forming an ideal climate for geranium plants. It is also possible to create your own greenhouse, in a very simple way: you just have to arrange the geraniums against the wall, and cover them with a fabric sheet suitable for plants (it can be found on sale in any shop specializing in gardening items). In this way, conditions similar to those found in a greenhouse will be recreated. If you choose this solution, it is good to keep the plants raised from the ground, even with a simple wooden fruit box. In this way, the earth will be oxygenated.
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When winter is milder
In areas where temperatures remain mild even in winter, and where the thermometer rarely drops below freezing, you can decide to leave the geranium plants in their place, where we have kept them during the spring and summer. In this case, it is sufficient to cover them with a bit of special fabric (the same with which you can make do-it-yourself greenhouses) so that they remain protected even in the event that the cold wind blows or a sporadic frost. It is recommended to provide the same protection for the roots by covering the ground at the base of the plant with straw, hay or abundant dry leaves. If you have the opportunity, you can also place the geranium plants next to the wall of the house, in a position where they are more protected from any cold wind blows. Even if the geraniums remain outside the house, water them sporadically: usually natural rains are sufficient, but if it does not rain for a long time, the earth around the plant must be kept moist.
Geraniums in winter: When spring comes
In the first, hot days of March, you can begin to gradually awaken the geranium plants from the winter vegetative rest. First of all, it is necessary to start watering them more abundantly, administering, together with the water, a liquid fertilizer suitable for geraniums. Also in spring it is necessary to power the plants, eliminating all dry leaves and branches that may have died during the winter period. In the event that the geranium plants have remained indoors during the winter, it is advisable to move them next to a window, so that they can receive the sunlight, which will help to "wake them up". You will see how the plants will begin to produce new shoots: after a few weeks, when the temperatures allow it, the plants can be put back outdoors.