April 2012

[update] June 2012

Marigolds, Impatiens, Petunias, and a host of other annuals are relatively inexpensive when compared to geraniums. But if you’re willing to overwinter geranium plants, they are a terrific bargain.

In the past I’ve tried to pot geranium plants, bring them indoors, and keep them in a window – which works, but the resulting plants are tall and frail.

Last October I read about saving the roots in a dormant state. I decided to try it. If this didn’t work and the plants died, at least I didn’t kill them. Luckily my lack of faith in the method had no effect on it. I’m pleased to announce that 12 of the 14 plants are thriving. I was able to plant my front porch planter boxes entirely with recycled geraniums. I’m still waiting for blooms; but when they bloom, my boxes should look like, kinda sort of like, Mackinac Island’s planter boxes; brimming with red geraniums.

Red geraniums are the feature annual of the island. The Grand Hotel began the tradition and much of the island has followed the theme. Maybe because geraniums are dramatic, prolific bloomers and so darn easy to save from one summer to the next.

To overwinter (bare root) my plants I followed instructions on an Iowa State University site. Only instead of placing the plants in large paper bags, I used old pillowcases. I hung them from nails in the garage. Instead of following a strict soaking schedule of once a month. I soaked them at the end of November when I was in the garage to fetch Christmas decorations. I soaked them again early in January when I put the decorations back in the garage. By mid March I soaked them once more and potted them in ordinary potting soil. The method was almost too simple – “to good to be true” simple.

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