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How to grow gorgeous geraniums

With so many amazing plants in garden centres today, it can be easy to forget some of the most obvious choices. Geraniums flower beautifully, keep a lush appearance in some of the hottest, driest conditions, are elegant in pots and can be the mainstay of low-maintenance gardens. With the recent geranium revival, it’s time to give the humble geranium a look with a fresh pair of eyes.

Position 

Give geraniums full sun for good flowering, though they will grow in light or partial shade.

Good drainage

If you have heavy clay soil, build up raised beds and fill with a sandy loam. Searles® Premium Garden Soil Mix is ideal. Alternatively, you can grow them in containers. Rose-scented geraniums don’t mind clay and are good plants for breaking up heavy soils. 

Soil 

While geraniums will grow in poor, sandy soil they do best in a well-drained sandy loam. 

Feeding

Add compost to the soil every spring and autumn. It isn’t necessary to fertilise geraniums growing in well-composted soil but you’ll get better blooms if you use Searles Robust® controlled-release fertiliser. Never use a high nitrogen fertiliser with geraniums —you’ll get lots of leaves but few flowers. Too much nitrogen can also soften the stems, making them liable to rot.

Watering

This should rarely be necessary with established plants. In very dry weather, give them a deep watering about once every couple of weeks. To make really efficient use of water, apply Penetraide® Re-Wetting Granules when planting and reapply each year before the dry season, working the granules into the soil.

Pruning Geraniums

Geraniums tend to grow straggly in hot, humid climates so if this is a problem, give yours a prune when the stems start to look long and lanky. Pruned geraniums flower better and live longer.

Pest & Diseases 

Geraniums are rarely attacked by insects and recover easily if they are. They aren’t prone to disease, either, though if rusty-coloured patches appear on the leaves, use a fungicide such as Searles® Mancozeb or Mancozeb Plus

Mulching

Soft material such as straw can be used very lightly around geraniums; don’t pack it in, and keep it well clear of the stems. In wet weather, push mulch away from the plant. A high quality mulch like Searles Premium Garden Mulch can be ideal. Gravel or pale-coloured pebbles also look good.

Propagating tip

Geraniums are very easy to propagate. Place cuttings in a jar of water until they root and then plant them out. However, if you’re looking for the newest and best varieties, such as the Geranium Calliope Big Red and Big Pink range featured below, the best place to find them is at your garden centre.

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