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Messages posted to thread:

barry05-Jan-05 11:12 AM EST 5   
Duncan05-Jan-05 07:49 PM EST 4a   
marg06-Jan-05 06:25 AM EST   
marg06-Jan-05 06:38 AM EST 5b   
Shapiro06-Jan-05 03:24 PM EST 5   
Nancy12-Jan-05 01:31 PM EST 5   
Diane 14-Jan-05 02:34 PM EST   
janine16-Jan-05 06:34 AM EST 2b   

Subject: geraniums
From: barry
Zone: 5
Date: 05-Jan-05 11:12 AM EST

I saved about 300 geranium plants in the fall. These were started from seed last year. I am trying to keep them until spring. I put them in wooden boxes about 6" deep with soil in my bsmt. I cut off all leaves, flowers and left the stem. I've been trimming them since about Oct. when I brought them in. I have been watering them every week or so just to keep them moist. Now they seem to be rather sickly. I don't want to lose them all before spring.

Would I be smart to take them out of the trays and put them in individual pots, fertilize and put a grow light on them to keep them going? Or is it too early yet to do this. I have lost about a third of them already. I thought they would stay dormant for the winter. I did the same thing last winter, keeping them in a cold garage. I lost about half of them. What am I doing wrong? Thanks for your advice.

Subject: RE: geraniums
From: Duncan (
Zone: 4a
Date: 05-Jan-05 07:49 PM EST

Hi Barry In Zone 5, it has been my experience that the best way to store graniums was to pull them up, roots-and-all and hang them upside down on a string in a cool, dark location. Geraniums in this state need to be kept in an almost-dry condition. A person would then pot them up towards the end of February. In a zone 4a we would get about a 50% survival rate due to an extended winter season. Given your much shorter winter and less risk of drying out, you could expect 80%. I know that doesn't help you out today. I am sorry I don't have the necessary experience. If no one else has any good ideas (Hello, Patricia?"), I would be tempted to take half the crop and try to put them into dormancy until March and try the other half with your grow-light idea, less fertilizer. I once tried to overwinter Geraniums up here, but the short days and low light levels made for some pretty leggy plants which spider mites/white flies managed to finish off (in our 25% relative humidity). Take care, Duncan

Subject: RE: geraniums
From: marg
Date: 06-Jan-05 06:25 AM EST

Subject: RE: geraniums
From: marg
Zone: 5b
Date: 06-Jan-05 06:38 AM EST

Hi Barry. Here's what I do to store my geranium overwinter. After I dig them up, I shake off most of the soil and then I prune back both the top and the roots. After repotting them (or leaving them in their original pot) I spray them with insecticidal soap. I also water with extra soap to kill any insects that may be in the soil. Then I move them into a cool garage for the winter. I only water a few times during the winter, just enough to keep the soil slightly damp. This is to prevent the roots from drying out completely and killing the plant. On about Mar. 1, I start to water regularly and after the first true leaves are growing, I start to fertilize. By June I have a nice plant to put outside. I've been doing it this way for 7 years and have only lost a few. Hope this helps. Marg

Subject: RE: geraniums
From: Shapiro (
Zone: 5
Date: 06-Jan-05 03:24 PM EST

Hi! This is Patricia. I must admit that I feel the same way about overwintering geraniums as I feel about trying to get poinsettias to bloom a second year and so on. My attitude is - forget about it! If geraniums are needed each year, sow or buy them. If you want a poinsettia for Christmas, buy one - they only cost $6.99 or something. Compost the darn things when the season is over. Life is too short to spend a whole winter nursing geranium stems! On a happier topic: anyone going to Canada Blooms?

Subject: RE: geraniums
From: Nancy
Zone: 5
Date: 12-Jan-05 01:31 PM EST

Hi Barry,

I keep zonal geraniums over winter quite successfully as cuttings, but have never tried the more common geranium types (with the method as described by Duncan and Marg above).

Pat, if we only had a single plant, like a pointsetta, to worry about paying for, I'd agree with you ..... not worth the effort. But if your working with a hundred or so plants like Barry, at $2.50 a pop, that's a chunk of change. I have around 100 cuttings in my basement at the moment of various container plants, in hopes that I can spend the money on new perennials, a new pond liner, etc instead.

And Canada Blooms...... you bet!! Must check the schedule and book some vacation time. Never too early to be thinking spring!!!

Subject: RE: geraniums
From: Diane
Date: 14-Jan-05 02:34 PM EST

Barry, if I may suggest a question. What was the watering of a plant that is being given no sun/light for?

Plants need water for their roots...that's true...if they are in the ground. Your geraniums are not in the ground...they are going nowhere but into dormancy.

Many plants are brought in before being hit with frost and taken to a sunny window where they can be continued to perform.....for a time before they stop.

With no sunlight, the stems will grow weak, the leaves will wilt...the overall health of the plant will go downhill.

What to do?

Bring it upstairs...into the light...cut it back to about 3" or 4". Water it as fertilizer until new leaves form.

Always water til drainage is seen...then the excess is dumped. Then allow the plant to dry down ..about 1" below the surface before watering again....and again, water til drainage is seen in the saucer. Dump the excess.

Hopefully there is still some life in the plant yet to recover. About mid-February, light levels will begin to get better and hopefully will have sufficient to re-act on the plant.

You should really do the other method. In October before any hint of frost, remove from their soil...bring it in to the ...temps near 50 to 60 F...(10 - 15 C) Hang them up, upside down.

They there are allowed to water, no light, no nothing....until mid February when they are brought out, cut back, put into new fresh potting soil with shards below the roots to keep the soil above for good drainage, taken to a sunny window, watered as described above and not until new leaves come on do we begin feeding 20/20/20...every 3rd watering at half rate.

In about 6 weeks, a good amount of foliage will be another 2 to 3 weeks, new buds will form.

When its time for the annuals to go into the garden, is the time for the geraniums to go back outside....better this year than last year....better next year '06...than '05....better in '07..than in '06.....better...

Subject: overwintering crocosmia
From: janine (
Zone: 2b
Date: 16-Jan-05 06:34 AM EST

Does anyone have any advice on how to overwinter crocosmia? I've never tried growing them, but would like to, however I don't think the garden catalogue advice to "mulch heavily" will save them during our winters. I can grow some zone 3 perrenials in protected areas. It often hits -40 C during January and frost can occurr into June (usual last date is the last week in May - but there have been nasty surprises). Thanks for any help

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