Can I leave geraniums outside over winter?

Answered by Robert Flynn

You can leave geraniums outside over winter, but it is important to take certain precautions to ensure their survival. Geraniums are not frost-hardy plants, so if temperatures drop below freezing, the plant will likely die. However, if you live in a region with mild winters where temperatures rarely dip below freezing, you may be able to leave your geraniums outside without any additional protection.

Before deciding whether to leave your geraniums outside, it’s important to consider the specific climate of your area. If you live in a region known for cold winters, it is generally recommended to bring the geraniums indoors or provide some form of protection.

If you choose to leave your geraniums outside, there are a few steps you can take to increase their chances of survival. Firstly, ensure that the geraniums are in a well-draining pot or container. Excess moisture can lead to root rot, which is more likely to occur in cold and wet conditions. Make sure the container has drainage holes to allow water to escape.

Next, consider the location where you will keep the geraniums. Choose a spot that is sheltered from strong winds and receives ample sunlight during the day. Placing the geraniums against a south-facing wall or in a protected corner of the garden can provide some natural insulation.

To further protect the geraniums from colder temperatures, you can wrap the pot with horticultural fleece or burlap. This will help to insulate the roots and prevent them from freezing. You can also add a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to provide additional insulation.

It’s important to monitor the weather closely during the winter months. If a frost or freeze is predicted, it is advisable to bring the geraniums indoors temporarily or cover them with a frost blanket or horticultural fleece overnight. Even a short exposure to freezing temperatures can cause significant damage to the plant.

In some cases, gardeners choose to dig up their geraniums and store them indoors for the winter. This method involves carefully lifting the plant, shaking off excess soil, and placing it in a container filled with slightly moist potting soil. The geraniums should be kept in a cool, dark area with temperatures around 10-15°C (50-59°F). During this time, the plant will go into a dormant state and should be watered sparingly. In early spring, you can gradually reintroduce the plant to sunlight and resume regular watering.

While it is possible to leave geraniums outside over winter in mild climates, it is generally recommended to provide some form of protection or bring them indoors if you live in an area with freezing temperatures. By taking these precautions, you can increase the chances of your geraniums surviving the winter and thriving again in the spring.