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Vermont Garden Journal: Overwinter Geraniums

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Friday, November 1, 2013 at 5:57 p.m. and Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 9:35 a.m. I'm Charlie Nardozziand this is the Vermont Garden Journal. After an amazingly warm and beautiful fall, cold weather has finally caught up with us. If you're like me and can't stand to let flowers die, you may want to try to overwinter them indoors. Tropicals, such as hibiscus and bulbs such as canna, can be brought indoors for winter. But one of the most rewarding flowers to save is the geranium. Here's how.

If you have a geranium in the ground, cut is way back to about 8 inches tall leaving just the skeletal structure of stems. Dig it up and pot the plant in a container filled with moistened potting soil. Keep it  in a cool, bright location for a week. Then bring it indoors into a sunny window to grow as a houseplant. Cut back the shoots whenever they get leggy in mid winter. With the longer days of late February and March, let the shoots grow and they will actually flower indoors while the snow still flies outside. Another way to bring a large geranium indoors if you don't have lots of room is to take cuttings. Take a 4- to 6-inch long cutting from the stem end, dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder and stick the cutting in a plastic pot filled with a moisten potting soil. Place the cutting in a bright room and it will root in a matter of weeks.

For gardeners with no room, another way to store your geranium is to cut back the plant, dig it up, remove the soil and place the root end in a perforated plastic bag filled with moistened peat moss. Check the bag periodically all winter to make sure the roots aren't rotting or shriveling up. In spring pot up the plant and let it grow.

And now for this week's tip, check any plants you bring indoors for winter for insects. Spray insecticidal soap periodically to kill aphids, mealybugs and white flies that might hitch a ride on your plant.

Nest week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about Christmas cactus. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.

Overwintering Geraniums
Overwintering Tender Perennials

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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