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GERANIUMS
pruning for the winter
threaddy
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threaddy  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/14/11 2:14 PM

I keep my geraniums inside over the winter and cut them back as they get leggy. This year I do not want to deal with the constant pruning and am wondering if I can just cut them back to stubs and set them in the sun room? I always have cut them to the last "joint" but am thinking of just cutting them all the way back. Will they survive?
I have gone online but there was only one person mentioning to cut to 1 inch stubs...all the rest say cut back to half the size. Half the size is still huge as I have had these flowers for years and years. I would love to cut them to 1 inch...but am afraid I'll kill them.
Help would be appreciated.

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"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." Theodore Rubin
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." George Bernard Shaw
Dan 9:24-27

Bernina vintage and computerized, Bernina and BL sergers , BLcoverstitch (a stray Pfaff and Viking followed me home too)

jannw
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In reply to threaddy


Date: 12/14/11 3:19 PM

Since they are older, cutting them back that far may kill them. I've always kept mine in a dark, cool spot and not watered. About February, I bring them out, give a dose of fertilizer and water and keep them in the light. I generally cut back one half to two thirds...

They will look dead and dry, but perk right up and send out new leaves.

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2009-113.25 yds
2010-115.5
2011-80.25+30+donated
2012 86.3 yds..
2013 21.0
Everyone who sews seriously has a stockpile of fabrics, because it is natural to purchase more than can be sewn in any one season" Singer, Timesaving Sewing, 1987

hazelnut
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In reply to threaddy


Date: 12/14/11 3:26 PM

One inch "could" be a little low, though I've done it successlly a little closer to spring.
You don't say how many you have. Here's some methods I've used in the past for overwintering.
Cut half down to between 1-3 inches and the others the normal amount.
or, if you're really pressed for space:
Cut your most prized one(s) the usual amount and the others back to no less than 2 inches. Root at least one good cutting in from each plant - they don't have to be in individual pots, a large 8-10" pot with 6 or 8 cuttings would be fine. Keep them in a warmer place until they start to get a few roots (make sure your cuttings have the "bumps" on the stems and are healthy going in). Since I never ate my geraniums I would use a powdered rooting hormone on the cut stem end. You can grow them in one pot for several months and cut or pry the roots apart to plant in the spring or repot earlier into individual pots.
Make sure the mature geraniums you're cutting back short are kept on the dry side throughout the winter, esp. if they are in a cool place, otherwise they will rot. The less leaf and stem the plant has, the less are it's water needs. It's not putting on any growth - you want it in a state or hibernation. Watch them closely, after the first winter you'll have a better idea of what your growing (or hibernation) conditions will be for next season. I always take cuttings in case I loose a plant. I've kept geraniums 20 yrs. this way. Many were in hanging baskets. Good luck

threaddy
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Date: 12/14/11 4:40 PM

I am in Wyoming so not much sun. Since we have maybe 30 frost free nights I have to keep them in their own pots and I bring them in at night almost all year because it is just too cold. I only have 6 big pots left from the 18 or so I had. To test a few is a good idea. If it doesn't work I'll just buy new next year. Thank you so much for the replies!

------
"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." Theodore Rubin
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." George Bernard Shaw
Dan 9:24-27

Bernina vintage and computerized, Bernina and BL sergers , BLcoverstitch (a stray Pfaff and Viking followed me home too)

Miss Fairchild
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Miss Fairchild
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Date: 12/14/11 9:11 PM

I cut mine back to 1/3 their original size and keep them in the basement. I can't grow them outside year round and I have to keep them in pots. Those things thrive on neglect! Once in a while I throw a little water their way, and they stay green all the way up till April, when I bring them out again. I love the citronellas and the Martha Washingtons.

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"Play the cards you are dealt, but choose who is sitting at the table"..AARP magazine

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Michelle T

Michelle T
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In reply to threaddy


Date: 12/15/11 3:57 PM

My grandmother had geraniums that were decades old. Every fall she let them dry out, then she cut them way back (an inch sounds about right). She would place them in a cold but not freezing place for the winter.

In the spring she would water and put them in a sunny window. soon they would be back to being big beautiful plants.

Now these were not fancy or hybrid geraniums, just old fashioned red and pink ones.

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Proud parent of a Dwight International School Honour Roll Student

threaddy
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Date: 12/17/11 4:07 PM

Thank you all...the brutality is inspiring!!!

------
"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." Theodore Rubin
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." George Bernard Shaw
Dan 9:24-27

Bernina vintage and computerized, Bernina and BL sergers , BLcoverstitch (a stray Pfaff and Viking followed me home too)

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