What am I going to do with the geraniums over the winter?

Date Posted: 10 November 2017

This blog is written by an average amateur gardener. This means that I do not necessarily have all the answers and what I say should not be taken as read. The information given in this blog should not be interpreted as advice as in essence it represents the musings of a gardener about some of the issues faced in dealing with the problems and opportunities encountered throughout the seasons. The joy of gardening is what this blog is all about. The advantage I do have is that I have the advice of my very professional gardener Gary, so Gary the Gardener’s thoughts will very much form part of what I write.

What am I going to do with the geraniums over the winter?

Do I take cuttings or leave them in the ground and hope that all will be well? This is another conundrum for the amateur gardener – curiously enough for those with gardens in the South. 

My garden is on the South coast where the winter weather is generally very mild. So, the temptation is to leave them in the ground and maybe chuck some dry mulch or straw over them. However, the problem with this approach is that sometimes we get a spell of very cold weather and if that spell freezes the ground over a few days the mortality rate for my geraniums can be very high.

The other route to follow is of course to take cuttings. This has the advantage that if suitably nurtured over the winter the cuttings will not only provide new plants in the spring but will allow me to choose where I put the new plants in the garden when all the frost have gone in the Spring.

Naturally a frost-free greenhouse is the ideal place to keep the cuttings but if this is not available a shed or conservatory will work. Once again this process is not guaranteed to achieve 100% growth of cuttings as however much care you may take in taking the cuttings and planting them there will often be some failures.

Taking the cuttings is a fairly straightforward process which with a sharp knife, rooting powder, some trays of young plant compost and some care and attention will result in a whole new tray of geraniums the following spring.

I am going to use the cuttings method this winter because there are a lot of berries on the holly trees and I am superstitious and think that they presage a cold winter.

I am pleased to say that Gary the Gardener agrees with this approach but would also keep the plants from which the cutting have been taken to add to the numbers the following year.