The geranium, better known as pelargonium, originally comes from South Africa. Our gardens, terraces and balconies would be unimaginable without it. The variety of colors, shapes and leaves of the geranium is almost endless. The plant is easy to care for and adaptable. Only the hibernation is somewhat difficult, which is usually due to a lack of ideal winter quarters. The geranium is not hardy, so it cannot overwinter outdoors. It blooms diligently and for a long time and is frugal, an ideal balcony and container plant, but it can also be planted out if you take it out of the ground again in winter.


Geraniums come from southern Africa, so they prefer it to be sunny. They tolerate direct sun and a lot of heat, but need a lot of water. Geraniums are suitable for balcony boxes and planters that stand or hang in the midday sun.

  • As sunny as possible
  • At least a few hours of sun exposure
  • Edelpelargonien prefer a place in the semi-shade and do not like midday sun.
  • Set up filled specimens protected from rain so that the flower balls do not stick together

plant substrate

There is special geranium soil on the market. You can, but you don’t have to use it. Earth is quite expensive. However, it has the advantage that it contains a start fertilization.

  • Plant substrate must be permeable.
  • A compost soil is ideal, at least 20% compost
  • Maximum 30% peat content in substrate


It is best to pot purchased specimens in a larger planter as soon as possible. But it shouldn’t be too big. If you propagate geraniums from cuttings, these must be planted again and again in slightly larger pots. You have to be very careful not to damage the young roots.

  • Planter not too big
  • Drainage in the bottom of the pot, at least potsherds over the drainage hole
  • Repot when roots grow out of the drainage hole
  • Repot older plants about every three years
  • Gently shake off old soil
  • Cut long, thick roots and also the shoots of the plant by half
  • Plant in the same container but in new soil
  • Do not plant too close together in balcony boxes, otherwise they will hinder each other’s growth.

watering and fertilizing

Geraniums need sufficient water and fertilizer. During the summer it needs plenty of watering to keep the blooms long. In order for new flowers to form, it should be properly fertilized. Geraniums are heavy feeders and need a lot of nutrients.

  • Never water the leaves!
  • Water in the morning and evening when it is very hot and sunny, otherwise it is best to water in the morning.
  • Rainwater is ideal for watering.
  • Absolutely avoid waterlogging!
  • Excess irrigation or rainwater must be able to drain away.
  • Short-term drought does not bother the plants, they only bloom less.
  • Limit watering during rest periods, pot balls must not dry out.
  • Fertilizer – slow release fertilizer or liquid compound fertilizer
  • Special liquid fertilizer for geraniums is ideal, but normal flowering plant fertilizer is also sufficient.
  • Fertilize with nitrogen for growth, with potassium for the formation of flowers, use magnesium fertilizer for lush, green leaves and firm stems.
  • As a rule, one application of fertilizer per week is completely sufficient.
  • Without fertilizer, the plants simply flower less.
  • Geraniums in balcony boxes in particular need a lot of nutrients, because there is little storing soil.

To cut

Geraniums don’t need to be pruned, but they can. Older plants in particular bare from below and should get a radical cut every few years. Pelargoniums usually tolerate a cut without any problems and reliably sprout again.

  • Cut in autumn before putting away, mostly for reasons of space.
  • In any case, remove withered flowers, buds and very long shoots.
  • Proper pruning in spring at the beginning of budding (usually February).
  • Cut so that the compact structure remains.
  • Do not leave too many branches that hinder growth!
  • After radical pruning, a particularly large number of flowering shoots are formed.
  • Shape cutting is also possible, so that you can also pull trunks.


The geranium from South Africa does not tolerate frost. You need a suitable winter quarters. However, leave the plant outdoors as long as possible. Although the flowers become limp after the first frost, as long as the root does not freeze, nothing will happen to the plant. Putting it away later has the advantage that vermin have found a warmer place and the plant is usually free of any insects.

  • Bright corridors, basement rooms and sheds are ideal for winter storage.
  • Temperatures between 5 and 10°C
  • Water sparingly, do not fertilize
  • Check regularly for pests
  • Pluck out wilted leaves during the inspection!
  • Regular ventilation on frost-free days is important.
  • Repot and sprout from April
  • Clear out only after the ice saints and not straight into the full sun.
  • Dark hibernation is also possible, but then very low temperatures and almost dry!


Although you can also grow geraniums from seeds you have harvested yourself, this is rarely crowned with success. Propagation by cuttings is much easier. This is not difficult and is ideal for those who do not have space for the older plants to overwinter. You can safely dispose of them and use your new ones for the coming year. Far less space is required for this.

  • Top cuttings can be cut all year round.
  • The best time is autumn, when you will already have flowering specimens next year.
  • Cutting about 10 cm long
  • Can be taken directly from the blade axis
  • Cut the stem diagonally
  • Remove lower leaves, flowers and buds
  • Stick the leaf-free end of the stem into moist seed compost
  • Autumn cuttings overwinter cool and quite dry.
  • Place warmer and very bright in early spring.
  • Break off the tips of the shoots to allow the plant to branch out.

diseases and pests

Like many popular plants, geraniums are afflicted with a number of diseases. Pest infestation is rather rare. Only the ubiquitous aphids like to attack pelargoniums. Diseases such as geranium rust are worse.

Geranium rust (Pelargonium rust) – fungal infection, contagious

  • Leaves turn yellow and brown.
  • Upper side of leaf with brown spots or rings
  • Underside of leaf pustules
  • Disease spreads quickly
  • Mainly caused by wet leaves
  • Remove the affected leaves and check them regularly

Gray rot or gray mold – fungal infection

  • greyish, black spots with a gray lawn of fungus
  • leaves rot
  • Usually caused by too much watering in cool weather, too little light or by injuries.
  • Remove the affected leaves.
  • Regular follow-up inspection.

bacteria which

  • Oily, transparent spots on the leaves
  • Affected leaves wilt, turn black
  • death of the plant
  • Occurring from injury, too much water and/or fertilizer, or wet leaves over a long period of time
  • Remove affected canes promptly before disease spreads

Cutting rot/blackleg

  • Blackening of the stems at ground level
  • Disease spreads rapidly
  • The cause is too wet soil or too high humidity
  • Dry air is important for geraniums, too much moisture usually causes many diseases

Aphids (usually striped potato aphid)

  • Using beneficial insects (ladybugs, gall midges) only works at temperatures above 15° C
  • At lower temperatures – “NeemAzal T / S” (0.5%)

thrips and spider mites

  • Spider mites at low humidity – if humidity is increased to over 60%, they disappear
  • Sprays can cause damage to the geraniums.
  • Means against Thrips – “NeemAzal T / S”
  • Use beneficial insects (spider mite) – Pytoseilulus persimilis Low RH

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