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Pruning Geraniums

Why is Pruning Geraniums Important?

A novice gardener, who has started experimenting with the gorgeous geraniums, should remember that pruning geraniums is a critical part of the care and maintenance of these plants. While seasoned gardeners know this, even some of them are not sure about the right time and appropriate technique for pruning and some times have to adopt a method of trial and error to figure out effective pruning techniques. So, here are some important tips about geranium care, including the pruning of geraniums, for the new and the established geranium lovers.

Geraniums are popular because they are vibrant and attractive and look good in pots and in-ground in a landscaped garden. There is some ivy-variety of the species that work well in hanging baskets also. The fact that the natural oils of the geranium make it bug resistant and even deer repellent makes it an effective pest control addition to many a garden. So, by having a border of geraniums, you can create an organic fence against pests and deer.

These plants can be a glorious addition to a garden of any size but it does take some active maintenance. If you do not prune geraniums at the right time and in a proper manner, you will be left with a leggy plant. What this means is that the plant will have leafless long branches. So, while the plant is technically alive and growing it will not be the colorful flowering plant that you planned on when you got your geranium. To avoid this and to keep it compact and dense with flowers, you should periodically snap or pinch back some of the buds. This is a way to encourage the plant to grow back with a greater density. Other than this periodic maintenance, you should also have a more comprehensive pruning in the winter months, around January or February. This is the time to locate and remove dead shoots, pull away the decaying or dead branches and to thoroughly clean the dead leaves. This cutting back of the plant in winter is a big part of helping it re-emerge as an active flowering plant in the spring. Typically, geraniums are in full bloom from May well until the first sign of frost in November. So, with a little amount of time investment, you can have long-lasting impact in your garden.

As part of the winter preparation for geraniums, some experts advise that the plant should be dug up and trimmed to about half its original size. Another tip offered by some gardeners is that the plant be dug out and left hanging upside down in a dry and cool place. Either way, you should provide your plant fresh soil, adequate water and clear sun light by March for it to start preparing for the flowing months ahead.

By pruning geraniums in the winter months, you help the plant deal with the slowed growth period and can have the benefit of having a plant ready for the next spring without having to go out and buy a new one for the season. Also, geraniums are propagated from cuttings. So, if you are pruning some healthy branches, you can dip one end of the cutting in a growing hormone and help it stand up right in peat moss and sand. With adequate light, this cutting will sprout roots in approximately eight weeks and it this point it can be planted in a pot and you will have a whole new plant ready to go. So, pruning can help in more ways than one in keeping your garden lush and vibrant and can help you do this without blowing your landscaping budget.



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