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Connecticut Garden Journal: Prep geraniums to overwinter indoors

Bill Barber
Flickr / Creative Commons

As the colder weather settles in, many gardeners wonder what to do with annual plants that are still alive. One of the tougher annuals is the geranium.

Geraniums or Pelargoniums are mostly grown as potted plants because of their penchant for flowering non-stop all summer and fall. If you have a variety you particularly love you can easily overwinter it indoors. Here's how.

The first way is simple. Bring the potted geranium indoors to a sunny, South facing window and grow it there all winter. Before you bring it in, cut back the foliage to 1/3rd and spray with insecticidal soap and Neem oil. This will kill any hitch hiking insects. Quarantine the plant for a few weeks indoors to check for any insects you missed.

Of course, the plant has to be small enough to fit in the window. If not, consider taking 4- to 6-inch long cuttings. Remove all but the top leaves, dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder and stick the cutting in a pot filled with moistened potting soil. In a few weeks they will root and last all winter indoors.

If you don't have room in your house for plants in a window, you can overwinter geraniums in the basement. Cut back the tops and cover the plant with a paper bag, and place in a cool, dark basement. Or remove the plant from its pot, remove all the soil and place the bare rooted geranium upside down in a paper bag. Check monthly and mist if it's drying out. It will stay dormant until spring, then start growing.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.