Thursday, November 21, 2013

Saving Geraniums Through Winter

Last year, I was successful in keeping some of my geraniums alive outdoors over winter. You can see what I did here. Two of the four roots survived and regrew into beautiful big plants with large blossoms. This year I had even more geraniums, so I decided to try again.

I trimmed back and dug up all nine of my plants (including the two survivors).  The soil was dry and the roots came out in balls that I tried to leave undisturbed. I replanted all of them close together in one large blue barrel on the transition float.

To make a mini-greenhouse, I bought a clear plastic paint drop sheet at Canadian Tire. There was plenty left to use in case a replacement is needed later during the winter. I also bought a long heavy weight bungee cord to hold it in place. I poked small slits around the edge about 5 cm (2 in) apart to allow the plants to "breathe."

The blue barrel is in direct sunlight (if we get any) for most of the day. My plan to periodically open the top on warmer days so the plants can get more air circulation. After the leaves die back, and before long freezing nights arrive, I will mulch the surface of the soil with crumpled newspaper like I did last year.

Last year's survivors ready for a new winter.
Hopefully this will help prevent the roots from freezing to death. I'll let you know in the spring how my experiment turns out. Hopefully there will be more survivors to tell the tale. -- Margy

8 comments:

  1. You are hard-working, clever and creative!

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  2. Wow, Jenn is right, you certainly are creative. I was also thinking you know what will work and what won't work. I'll be looking forward to seeing how they are next year.
    K

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  3. Jenn and Kay - I just keep experimenting. Two plants survived last year, so I am hopeful some will this year with a better cover. The leaves froze last night, the the stems look OK so far. I added newspaper mulch when I heard it was going below freezing overnight. I think I'll add even more now that the leaves are going. I still open it on nice says to let them breathe better and see the sun. - Margy

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  4. Good luck with your over wintering geraniums. I tried, unsuccessfully, a few years ago and haven't tried since. Maybe next year I'll try again.

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  5. I might try that too. Hope they survive the winter for you.

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  6. What a clever idea - but mine are already frozen. It hasn't gotten above freezing up here at the top of Alabama Hill in Bellingham - we are in the trees and get no direct sun this time of the year. Besides I don't have a place to keep them over the winter - but it is definitely a clever idea.

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  7. Hi! Love your blog! The pictures are so pretty! I hope you get beautiful geraniums flowers next summer! (I came here for the "S" letter, but didn't know what to say about radio! :) I'm still glad I got to see your beautiful pictures)

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  8. JoAnn - I read in Sunset magazine that you can pull the plants, remove the dirt from the roots and let the plants stay dormant until Spring. I didn't want to try that because when we leave the cabin, it can freeze indoors. But if I lived in town with a climate controlled spot I might try that instead. - Margy

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