Geraniums that grew outdoors in summer containers can be wintered quite nicely indoors in a sunny window or under fluorescent lights. The geranium in the photo to the left was lifted from its outdoor planter before fall frost. It was healthy, and could have been potted as is, but there’s a better way.
By next spring the old, tall, larger stems are often “leggy,” somewhat bare at the base, and not as freshly branched. If large, wintered geraniums are returned outdoors in spring in this shape, they often aren’t as compact, well-branched, and well-filled as they once were, and might look like, well, old geraniums.
Here’s a method that works well instead, that we’ve used for many years with the several hundred geraniums that we bring indoors each year: Instead of potting up the large plants, cut them back quite severely before potting, to about 3 inches above the soil line, like this photo:
Here’s why I like to cut back geraniums drastically when they’re brought indoors and repotted:
- Cutting back removes the old, woody stems and forces vigorous new shoots to sprout, forming a well-branched bushy, fresh plant.
- Cutting back reduces the size, allowing them to be potted into a 4 or 6 inch pot that takes less room and can easily be grown on a windowsill or under lights.
- If this is done in fall or early winter, the plants will be healthy and husky when it’s time to return them outdoors next May. Sometimes a little additional trimming or shaping can be done in March.
- This cut-back keeps geraniums rejuvenated and gives them heavier flower capability.