What kind of fertilizer do geraniums like?

Answered by Frank Schwing

Geraniums are beautiful and popular plants that thrive with the right care and nutrition. When it comes to fertilizing geraniums, it’s important to provide them with the nutrients they need to grow and bloom to their fullest potential.

For newly planted geraniums, it is recommended to start with a fertilizer that has a ratio of 5-10-5. This means that the fertilizer contains 5% nitrogen (N), 10% phosphorus (P), and 5% potassium (K). This formulation is ideal for promoting strong root development in young plants. The higher phosphorus content helps in root growth and overall plant establishment.

Once your geraniums are established, a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 is suitable. This means that the fertilizer contains equal proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. A slow-release fertilizer with a 10-10-10 ratio can be applied to the soil around the plants, providing a continuous supply of nutrients over time. On the other hand, a liquid water-soluble fertilizer with a 20-20-20 ratio can be mixed with water and applied to the plants every few weeks.

When using a slow-release fertilizer, follow the instructions on the packaging regarding the application rate and frequency. Typically, you would sprinkle the granules around the base of the plants and lightly work them into the soil. This allows the nutrients to gradually release and be absorbed by the geraniums’ roots.

For liquid water-soluble fertilizers, dilute the recommended amount in water according to the instructions on the fertilizer package. It’s important not to exceed the recommended concentration as it can lead to fertilizer burn and damage the plants. Apply the diluted fertilizer to the soil around the geraniums, avoiding direct contact with the leaves to prevent leaf burn.

It’s worth noting that geraniums prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. If your soil is naturally acidic or alkaline, it may be helpful to adjust the pH level using soil amendments or additives. This will ensure that the geraniums can effectively absorb the nutrients present in the fertilizer.

In addition to regular fertilization, it’s essential to water geraniums properly and provide them with adequate sunlight. Overwatering or underwatering can stress the plants and affect their overall health. Similarly, geraniums thrive in full sun or partial shade, depending on the variety. Providing the right growing conditions along with proper fertilization will help your geraniums flourish and produce vibrant blooms.

In my personal experience, I have seen the positive effects of using a balanced fertilizer on geraniums. I have used both slow-release granular fertilizers and liquid water-soluble fertilizers with success. The slow-release granules provided a steady and continuous supply of nutrients to the plants, while the liquid fertilizers allowed for more frequent feeding and quicker absorption. Both methods resulted in healthy, vibrant geranium plants with abundant blooms.

To summarize, geraniums benefit from a 5-10-5 fertilizer for stronger root development when newly planted. Once established, a balanced fertilizer with a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 ratio is suitable for most geraniums. Whether using a slow-release granular fertilizer or a liquid water-soluble fertilizer, it’s important to follow the instructions regarding application rates and frequency. Remember to provide proper watering and sunlight along with fertilization to ensure the overall health and beauty of your geraniums.