Several Ways Of Wintering Geraniums
Wintering geraniums is not terribly hard to do. There is more than one way to go about it, but none of the ways are particularly complicated. The method you choose may depend on how much available space you have, how much attention you want to pay to the plants during the winter season, and whether or not you want to enjoy the blooms and foliage during the cold season.
Geraniums are perennials but would fall into the category of tropical perennials, and there are only a few places in the United States where the plants can be left out of doors the whole year round. Even areas which only get a touch or two of frost in mid winter don't qualify, as a touch of light frost is often all it takes to do one of these plants in. Gardeners either treat the plant as an annual, tossing the plants out in the fall, or just letting them die off, or dig them up to save for the following year. Even if a person is in the habit of throwing the plants out and starting fresh in the spring, there is almost always a plant or two which has been a showpiece while in bloom, and throwing it out may be a difficult thing to do.
Wintering Geraniums As House Plants - Keeping geraniums as indoor house plants is probably the approach that is going to take the most work, but if you want to do a touch of gardening when the ground is covered with snow, house plants, including one or more geraniums provide that opportunity. The blooms will not be as prolific as during the summer, and at times the plants may appear a little scraggly, but given good light and sufficient attention, they can still be very attractive. If there is a disadvantage, it's probably a need for adequate space in an area that gets plenty of light. A mature plant can easily require a 12 inch pot, sometimes even larger. Pots of this size won't fit on most window sills, but work fine when there is either a full-length window, or a table or bench available.
When taking this approach its a good idea to give the plants a dose of insecticide a week or two before bringing them in, and perhaps a lighter dose a day or two before, No sense in bringing an army of insects in with the plants. The plants need to be pruned back by at least a third, some people cut them back by as much as two thirds. It won't be ling before new foliage begins to emerge. The plants will need water, but will do best if the soil is allowed to dry out, at least on the surface, between watering. Keep an eye out for bugs that affect other indoor plants, but with a moderate amount of attention, the geraniums should overwinter nicely.
Wintering Geraniums By Cuttings - Through cuttings, it's possible to increase the number plants when a certain variety has done very well for you during the summer. For one thing, space can be saved, as cuttings take up very little room when compared to wintering full-sized plants. At times cuttings take root quickly, and at other times more slowly, and some choose not to take root at all. Taking several cuttings rather than a single cutting will obviously increase the probability of success. An advantage of this method, and one that is not generally known, is that cuttings will often perform better the next growing season than the mother plant may do. There are various ways to prepare cuttings, with the preferred way being to dip the stems in a rooting compound and then placing them in water. Others prefer to let the cuttings dry out overnight so the ends of the stems will heal over. You can try both ways.
Let The Plants Go Dormant - If you have a place that stays relatively cool, dark, and is slightly humid, like many basements, placing the plants there, and letting them go dormant can be the easiest method of all. The geraniums can either be kept in pots or stored bare root. When the plants are taken out of the ground in the fall, they should be pruned back by at least half. If not placed in pots, the plants can be kept in paper bags or burlap, but need to be allowed to dry out first.
Wintering geraniums really just involves weighing the pros and cons in your particular situation, and then choosing the method you believe will work the best for you.