Avoidable Mistakes That Are Killing Your Geraniums In The Garden

Avoidable Mistakes That Are Killing Your Geraniums In The Garden

Geraniums are beautiful flowers that not only add beauty to your garden but also have practical uses, such as garnishing dishes and repelling pests. With over 400 species available, they are relatively easy to grow. However, it can be disheartening to see your geraniums die, which is often caused by avoidable mistakes made by gardeners. Basic plant needs such as water, sunlight, and good soil are crucial for geraniums, and getting them wrong can lead to the death of your plants.

Most plants do not die overnight, so it is important to pay attention to any signs of trouble. You can usually detect issues before the plant completely withers and dies. Keep an eye on the leaves for discoloration, observe the quality and quantity of blooms during the flowering season, and check the moisture level of the soil. Inadequate light and overwatering are common mistakes that can harm your geraniums, but by paying attention to the signs, you can correct these mistakes and keep your plants healthy and beautiful.

Avoid full shade, water regularly, and prune your geraniums

Woman tending to red geraniums

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Geraniums need to grow in full sunlight, and one of the mistakes you can make with them is forgetting this. Most of them don’t cope well when planted in full shade. In constant full shade, garden geraniums won’t bloom to their maximum capacity — a letdown for the season. Geraniums require about six hours of sun every day with some afternoon shade, so as a plant parent, you need to position them in the right spot for this.

Not planting your geraniums in well-draining soil is another critical mistake. Geraniums are drought-resistant and strongly dislike waterlogged soil. If you overwater your plant, it will have constantly drenched roots which will lead to root rot and eventual death. On the other hand, not watering enough is equally problematic. You should water your geraniums once or twice a week. During wintertime, this can be reduced. Also, avoid the mistake of watering the geraniums from overhead instead of targeting the soil directly, as this can lead to disease.

Not deadheading your geraniums enough is another mistake people make with them. You have to get rid of the old, browned leaves to make way for the new ones. Clip off woody stems and young ones to promote branching. Finally, avoid forgetting that geraniums have pests like aphids and whiteflies that seek to suck the life out of them. Inspect the undersides of the leaves regularly to make sure they’re pest-free.

How to tell if these things are happening to your geraniums

Geranium leaves turning brown

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Once you know what to avoid when growing geraniums, you should know what to look out for in case you’re slacking on the job. When they aren’t receiving enough sunlight, geranium leaves become discolored and turn yellow. It also gives a disappointing bloom. Although full sunlight is preferred, excess heat is discouraged because it can easily overwhelm the plants.

If your geranium is looking wilted, check the roots. Overwatering your plants can cause the roots to become waterlogged. If your roots are brown instead of white and healthy, then chances are they are waterlogged and damaged. Yellow leaves are also a sign of underwatered geraniums. Step up your watering game if you notice this symptom. If the soil around the plant is warm and dry a couple inches deep, water it deeply. If it’s moist and cool, you’re all good.

If you check your geranium’s roots and they’re nonexistent, that’s a sign that you may have pests that ate them. Another sign of pests is shriveled-up, blackened leaves. This means you have aphids or whiteflies on the loose. As they feed on the leaf sap, they secrete sticky honeydew, which encourages black sooty mold. Get rid of the pests by blasting them off with cold water.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.