geranium care

How to Grow and Care for Geraniums (Pelargonium)

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Gardeners love growing geranium flowers. From their colourful petals to their lovely scent, geraniums seem to be one of the first flowering plants all gardeners think about when starting to plan the landscape of a new garden. 

Here is everything you need to do when growing geranium flowers:

Basic information about geraniums flowers

  • This article focuses on the genus Pelargonium, commonly referred to as geraniums or stork’s-bills. However, another plant in the genus, Geranium, is usually known as hardy geraniums or cranesbills.
  • Stork’s-bills flowers belong to the Geraniaceae family of plants.
  • Depending on the location, you can grow stork’s bills’ flowers in USDA zones 7-10. In zone 10b, these plants can grow outdoors all year round without being too affected by different climate conditions. Yet, in most areas, geranium plants are brought indoors to overwinter.
  • The geranium flower is native to South Africa, although it has been travelling for the last 400 years all over the world. 

Geraniums or hardy geraniums?

Even though it is commonly known as the geranium flower, this plant isn’t a real geranium at all. Talk about a case of mistaken identity! 

During the 18th century, the ‘’geranium’’ plants were taken from South Africa to Europe. Botanists in the old continent thought they were related to the hardy, wild geraniums already growing there.

At a much later date, botanists began to study both plants, and they soon realized that they were entirely different. The petals, the stamens, and even their length were not the same.

As a result, the ‘’geraniums’’ were reclassified and entered the Pelargonium genus of plants. From then onwards, these plants were also referred to as ‘’stork’s bill’’, a nod made to the long and pointed shape the seedpod has. 

Yet, people didn’t get used to the new classification, and even nowadays, they are called geraniums when they should really be called pelargoniums.

How to Grow Geranium Plants

Growing the geranium flower is easy. Follow these steps and see why:

  1. Purchase the geraniums flower seeds from your preferred nursery, or cut an already established geranium plant. 
  2. Place the roots directly into the soil. You could put a mixture of potting soil on top of the plant. 
  3. Then you will need to slightly cover the geranium plant with mulch. 
  4. If everything has been done accordingly, you will see the geranium flower coming alive in a couple of weeks. Keep watering it, and keep it away from strong and direct sunlight.

Geranium Flower Care and Maintenance

Here are some basic geranium care tips you can follow:


  • Typically, a geranium flower can withstand diverse climate conditions. However, if the weather is too cold and temperatures begin to go below freezing, it would be best to dig the geranium flower and place it indoors in containers or hanging baskets. As soon as the last danger of frost has passed, you will be able to transplant the geranium flower outdoors. 
  • If, on the other hand, you are in a warm area, you can grow geranium plants outdoors. Although, it would be best to keep them underneath a shade, especially during the summer or whenever high temperatures occur. 

Light need

A geranium flower needs 4-6 hours of direct sunlight each day. However, if the weather is scorching hot, it is advisable to place it under a slightly shaded area. 

If growing stork’s bills flowers indoors, you should place the plants near a window. Alternatively, you could put some growing lights near them. 

Water requirements

  • Stork’s bills plants should be watered at least three times a week if it’s summer. If the temperature begins to drop, it is advisable to touch the soil before watering. If it’s too compacted, the plant needs water and organic matter. If it’s loose but dried, you should water it more often.
  • Make sure the soil is almost dry between watering sessions. This way, you will avoid root rot.

Soil preferences

The stork’s bills flower prefers loose soil or loamy soil with organic matter. If adding organic matter, just add compost without manure, as it is not recommended for this plant.


Choosing the proper planting site is essential for growing geraniums. Ideally, the perfect spot would be a place with morning sun and afternoon shade. But the geranium flower also needs well drained soil and a big enough area for it to spread out. This is an important factor when choosing geranium companion plants.


Purchasing an organic fertilizer for your geranium flowers will be the difference between having happy plants or not.

When growing stork’s bills flowers, you will need to fertilize each month or every six weeks, depending on the climate.

Growing Geraniums in Pots

Planting geraniums indoors is possible, especially when it’s grown in pots. The only requirement is for the containers to have drainage holes. This way, the geranium plant won’t be waterlogged, and it won’t have any diseases.

The incredible thing about the stork’s bills flower is that it does pretty well as a houseplant. It can adapt itself, but only with your help.

Pruning Pelargoniums

Deadheading and pruning should be done frequently, especially when you plant geraniums abundantly in one particular bed or raised bed. To do this, you need to wait until the geranium flowers fade, and only then are you able to remove all the dried leaves.

If you do this, you will be activating the plant again, as you will signal it to invest its energy wisely by growing upward.


Gardeners love the stork’s bills flower because insects and pests tend to avoid it. In fact, geranium flowers are often introduced in the vegetable garden precisely because they help protect the fruits and vegetables that may be growing there.

Types of Pelargonium You Can Grow

There are at least 300 geranium species for each gardener to choose from. Here are the most popular types of geranium plants:

Zonal Pelargonium

The zonal geraniums have orange, purple, yellow, white, and pink single or double blooms. It is usually the most recognized type of geraniums flowers. 

It tolerates different climate conditions well. However, zonal geranium cannot thrive in freezing temperatures. 


It is also called the Marsha Washington geraniums. This geranium flower is visually striking, as it has multi-colored blooms that everybody seems to love. This variety prefers cooler climates. 


As its name suggests, this Pelargonium (Ivy geranium) resembles an ivy flower. It tends to have single, semi-double, or double blooms. Ivy geraniums often have burgundy or bright red flowers. 

Scented geraniums

The scented geranium plants usually have a velvety texture. Unlike other types of geraniums, the scented geranium flowers do not have as many blooms as the rest. What’s interesting about this plant is that the scent truly resembles one of mint, apple, or even roses! 

This variety is important, because essential oils (1) derive from it. 


This geranium plant loves the sun. In fact, it will thrive when cultivated in a hot climate. It has magenta-pink flowers and can grow up to 12 inches tall.

Candy cherry 

This type of plant is gorgeous! It has bright cherry-pink petals and dark green foliage, which creates a huge contrast. It can grow up to 14 inches in height, and it will thrive in a hotter climate.

Graffiti white 

Interestingly, this plant has spidery white flowers that are very striking. It can grow up to 14 inches in height. 

Patriot lavender blue 

One of the most beautiful types of geraniums, this plant can grow up to 16 inches tall. It tends to spread rapidly, and it has lavender-pink flowers.

How to use Stork’s bills flowers?

  • Stork’s bills are often used for minor cuts. Just crush its leaves and place them where the cut is. This will make the bleeding stop almost immediately. 
  • Growing geranium flowers help gardeners in the garden as the plants deter Japanese beetles away. This is an excellent strategy for bringing an essential flower to the garden to help take care of the vegetables. As a result, geranium plants are called ‘’beneficial companion plants’’. 
  • Geranium flowers are known for their antibacterial, anti inflammatory, and antifungal properties (2). 
  • If you’re looking for some good plants for hanging baskets, pelargoniums should be on your list.


Do geraniums prefer sun or shade?

Geraniums prefer full sun, although they can tolerate some partial shade, especially in hot climates. Providing them with at least 6 hours of sunlight per day will help promote healthy growth and abundant flowering.

How do you keep geraniums blooming?

To keep geraniums blooming, deadhead spent flowers regularly to encourage new blooms to develop. Additionally, fertilize them with a balanced fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season and ensure they receive adequate water and sunlight.

How long do potted geraniums last?

Potted geraniums can last for several months to a few years, depending on growing conditions, care, and the variety of geranium. With proper care, they can continue to bloom profusely throughout the growing season and even into the fall.

How often should geraniums be watered?

Geraniums should be watered thoroughly whenever the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. In general, this may mean watering them every 1-2 days, depending on factors such as temperature, humidity, and the size of the pot. Be sure to water the soil directly and avoid getting water on the leaves, as this can promote fungal diseases.


Growing geranium flowers is therapeutic because it is a classic garden plant everyone loves to admire. A stork’s bill plant brings joy to any landscape, mainly due to its fantastic, vibrant colors, shape, and scent. Additionally, garden geraniums are also known for their supportive roles in the vegetable garden beds, as they bring beneficial pollinators to the area. 

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  1. Fekri N, El Amir D, Owis A, AbouZid S. Studies on essential oil from rose-scented geranium, Pelargonium graveolens L’Hérit. (Geraniaceae). Nat Prod Res. 2019 Nov 4:1-5. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2019.1682581. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 31679416.
  2. Jekabsone A, Sile I, Cochis A, Makrecka-Kuka M, Laucaityte G, Makarova E, Rimondini L, Bernotiene R, Raudone L, Vedlugaite E, Baniene R, Smalinskiene A, Savickiene N, Dambrova M. Investigation of Antibacterial and Antiinflammatory Activities of Proanthocyanidins from Pelargonium sidoides DC Root Extract. Nutrients. 2019 Nov 19;11(11):2829. doi: 10.3390/nu11112829. PMID: 31752295; PMCID: PMC6893413.


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