How to Grow Better Annual Geraniums Than Your Grandmother

Growing annual geraniums or pelargoniums isn't a complicated bit of gardening.

Growing Conditions

They require full sun.

They appreciate regular watering – although they will tolerate some dryness, they do best if the soil is moist but not waterlogged.

Feeding.  These are greedy feeders and if you want blooms, you're going to want to feed them at least weekly with fish emulsion fertilizer or a liquid plant food.

 Overwintering geraniums so you'll have lots more next spring</a> and full instructions are here.

cleome pink

Geraniums fit all kinds of garden situations. :-)

Difference Between Single and Double Flowering

The devil is always in the details isn't it?
There are single flowering and double flowering annual geraniums on garden shop shelves. 

The doubles are wonderful for closeup viewing while the singles will outbloom the double-flowering geraniums by a wide margin. 

The doubles require daily pruning and deadheading to keep the flowers coming while the single flowers shatter when they are done and a weekly cleanup of dead stalks will keep them looking good. 

The doubles are cloned or propagated by cuttings while the singles are seed grown. 

The doubles are more expensive than the singles but come in a wider range of exciting colors.

When To Use Singles or Doubles

The rule of thumb is that if you're going to use the geranium for close up viewing – use the doubles. But if you're using them for mass color and reduced maintenance gardening – use the singles.  Doubles are mandatory in containers because of the close up viewing.

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What do I mean by deadheading or pruning of flower stalks?

The double-flowering geranium produces a flower on a long stalk and once that flower starts to fade, the petals will rot and get a grey mold called botrytis on them.  The flower has to be removed before it infects the entire plant.

Once the flower is spent, the stalk will cleanly snap away from the main stem if you reach down the stem and twist the stalk back against the direction it is growing.  It will cleanly break away without leaving any damage behind.  If you need to see this work a little better – wait a day or two until the stalk starts to wither or yellow and you'll quickly see how it breaks away.  The only thing you need to be careful of is that your hand doesn't snap the main stem off.

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