Overwinter Geraniums without Soil: They Get Through the Winter Well In Newspaper and Wrapping Paper!
Many geraniums are simply thrown away after the end of the flowering period. A mistake, actually, because with the right method the flowers can survive winter quite well. If you overwinter Geraniums in newspaper, the perennials will survive dormant period even without soil!
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Overwinter Geraniums In Newspaper: When Is the Right Time?
Geraniums are among the flowering plants in the garden. They require hardly any care, tolerate short dry periods without any problems and bloom tirelessly. But the fall season presents a big challenge for the flowers because, originating from South Africa, the plants do not tolerate frost at all. When temperatures drop below 41F/5C, the plants stop growing. They cannot survive even a frosty night and will die.
The end of September and beginning of October is therefore the best time to cut the geraniums and bring them into their winter quarters. Even if the temperatures are still high – in fall the weather is changeable and can still surprise you.
Of course, you can overwinter the geraniums in pots. But if you lack space or for garden plants that would require too much effort to repot, the alternative is to overwinter the geraniums without soil. The best way to do this is in newspaper. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Prune the Geraniums
First, prune the geraniums in the flower bed or pot. This pruning is done on a sunny, warm day. Proceed as follows:
- Remove dead flowers.
- Remove all diseased or yellow plant shoots and shorten the plant to a third.
- Cut off a third of the leaves.
- Leave the plants alone for a few days to allow them to recover from pruning.
Some gardening experts in the U.S. recommend that you do not prune geraniums. The leaves and shoots will die and dry out. In this case, the plants are pruned in spring.
Step 2. Dig Up the Geraniums
Dig up the geraniums very carefully. Be careful not to damage the fine roots – otherwise the plant will not be able to absorb water and nutrients properly. Geraniums recover from pruning very slowly and the affected roots are likely to die. To avoid this, dig up the roots and the soil and then carefully loosen the roots from the soil.
Step 3. Overwinter Geraniums in Newspaper
First leave the geraniums at room temperature for 2-3 hours and then wrap the plants two by two with newspaper. Then place them in an empty wine box and place it in a dark and unheated room. The room temperature should not fall below 41F/5C and must not exceed 82F/10C.
The flowers must be stored in a cool and dry place over the winter. Refrigerators and cellars are not suitable – the high humidity can lead to mold formation. Most often the leaves will become moldy and the entire plant may die.
The roots must not be wet under any circumstances, but they must not dry out either. To prevent this, spray the roots with plenty of water once a week.
Step 4: Give It a Nourishing Pruning in March
In March you can prune the plants. If you have overwintered the plants and their foliage, you will have to cut them back heavily.
However, if you have already shortened the plants in fall, simply cut off all dried parts.
Step 5: Re-Plant Overwintered Geraniums
After pruning, the geraniums are first planted in a flower pot and placed on a sunny windowsill in a heated living room or in a winter garden at the end of March. Geraniums that were pruned and repotted at the beginning of spring can be planted in a flower bed after the frosts. Balcony plants can be left outside during the day from mid-April as long as the location is sunny.
Propagate Geraniums before Overwintering
Before overwintering in fall is also the right time to propagate your favorite flowers. To do this, proceed as follows:
- Cut about 4 inches/10 cm from a healthy new shoot.
- Dip the cut of the shoot in rooting hormone.
- Fill geranium soil into the pot and add perlite. Alternatively, you can take potting soil and mix it with natural clay and perlite.
- Insert the cuttings into the soil with the cut side down.
- Water the cuttings thoroughly; the substrate should become really moist.
- Discard the excess water from the saucer and cover the growing pots with plastic bags.
- Place the cuttings in a bright and sunny location. They need six to eight weeks to root. Then you can place the young plants on a sunny windowsill. They do not need to be overwintered.