Deadheading geraniums keeps them blooming and this article covers the details of how to deadhead geraniums. Not many plants can top geraniums when it comes to putting out a showy display of bright flowers. The flowers usually bloom throughout the growing season. The blooms, though, can be boosted by deadheading the geraniums.
Deadheading is essentially about removing spent blossoms. You’d also want to do it so your geraniums don’t grow out of control making the whole setup untidy. So while encouraging new and fresher blooms is the primary reason for deadheading flowers like geraniums, there are lots of other benefits attached to it too.
In this article, we would focus on how to deadhead geraniums easily including some tips on the pitfalls to avoid. Fortunately, the learning curve is gentle so it’s a sure bet you would be deadheading geraniums like a pro in no time at all.
How to Deadhead Geraniums
Many gardeners grow geraniums as annuals. But they are actually perennials, especially if they are grown in tropical climates where winter months are usually mild without severe freeze or frost. This type of climate is usually found in zones 10 and 11.
Whether grown as annuals or perennials, they are easy to cultivate. The height of the matured plant can range from a few inches to a few feet tall depending on the variety. There are many colorful geranium varieties that bloom with bright red, orange, purple, pink, and even salmon-colored flowers throughout the growing season.
But without proper care in midsummer, the plants can become leggy while the blooms begin to take on a tired, sparse, and fading appearance. Deadheading is one of the core routines that ensures the blooms and each plant remains in top shape throughout the season.
Let’s run through all the awesome reasons why deadheading is crucial before going into how to deadhead geraniums.
Benefits of Deadheading Geraniums
For geraniums, deadheading is essentially the most critical factor in terms of keeping them strong all through the season. When old blooms and dying stems are allowed to remain, the plant keeps on wasting valuable plant resources on flowers that don’t need them.
Other benefits include:
Encourage more blooms – When the blooms begin to flower, frequently snipping off spent blooms is necessary to ensure continual blooming.
Aesthetics – Leaving old, fading, or dead blooms on the plant would ultimately diminish the beauty of your geranium collection. To keep the plants looking as good as new, regular deadheading is necessary.
Energy optimization – You don’t want fading or dead flowers to compete with new blooms for the plant’s limited resources. Deadheading ensures that all the plant’s energy is properly channeled into creating new blooms and flowers all summer long.
Prevents seeds production – Deadheading geraniums in the growing season is an effective way of preventing seed production. With no seeds to produce and nurture, the plant can concentrate on producing only flowers instead. A delightful bonus to this is the extension of the flowering season.
Improves air circulation – Deadheading the plants helps to keep them neat. This improves airflow around the plant which helps in the prevention of common fungal diseases such as botrytis.
When & How Often to Deadhead Geraniums
The flower heads of each geranium plant grow at the end of a stiff, short stem. Each flower cluster comprises five petals and multiple flowers in each cluster. Spring and summer are when they are expected to bloom.
If the whole flower cluster looks like it is fading or wilting, deadhead it as soon as possible.
Experts recommend that you deadhead as often as possible during the blooming season for thriving and lasting blooms. If you don’t mind the routine, check the plants daily and deadhead flowers that seem off-color.
On the other hand, if you don’t have the time to do it daily, every other day is just as good but the geraniums should not be left unattended for more than a week max. Ultimately though, the frequency depends on you.
But it bears repeating that for maximum blooming, check for and snip off spent flowers (and stems too) every day.
Generally, it is best to start deadheading spent geranium blooms early in the season using a pair of garden pruners or scissors. If you don’t have these tools, you can do with your fingers since the stems snap off easily when a little pressure is applied.
Step-by-step Guide On How to Deadhead Geraniums
Deadheading geraniums is quite easy. You’d discover very quickly that making time to do it as often as it is required is the hardest bit.
You’d need just the following items to get started:
- Bag or bin to collect the cut flowers
- sharp pruners or shears
- Protective gloves
Instructions on deadheading geraniums.
- Wear your protective gloves.
- Examine the geranium for fading and wilting blooms
- Using your shears, garden pruner, or pair of scissors, cut off the fading or wilting flower at the base of its stem.
If the whole flower cluster appears like a candidate for deadheading, find the cluster’s stem with your finger and trace it down to the base.
You should feel the node where the stem grew from as you run your fingers down. Cut the flower’s stem just above this node. This is where new growth is expected to start.
- If you don’t have shears or pruners, simply use your fingers.
Hold the target flower near the base and pull it gently downwards. The bloom should snap out cleanly since healthy geranium stems are somewhat stiff. The audible crack you hear is the sound of the stem breaking.
- Gather the cut blooms into the bag or bin. You can dispose of them in your trash or compost dumb if you have one.
Allowing the cut geraniums to remain around the base of the plant can promote fungal growth.
Tips and other Considerations
– If you are using scissors, pruners, or shears, always clean the blades with rubbing alcohol between each cut. This prevents the spread of plant diseases.
– Some stems are likely to be bare because the petals have fallen off. Cut these off.
– After deadheading, keep the soil well-watered and never allow it to dry out.
– If after deadheading in midsummer the new blooms are not vibrant, consider pruning each plant to between 3 – 6 inches. This helps to keep the plant alive during winter. Simply water the stem next growing season to get back your geranium.
– As well as deadheading flowers, it is important to cut out damaged or fading geranium foliage to help conserve plant energy.
– If deadheading isn’t working for you, prune the geraniums in the middle of summer. You can try again next growing season starting with the pruned stems.
Knowing how to deadhead geraniums is critical to maintaining a healthy plant with vibrant flowers throughout the growing season. This pretty straightforward process involves removing or snapping off fading and old flowers.
This vital part of the geraniums care routine should be done at least once a week. But, for best results, it is recommended that the geraniums are examined daily for fading and wilting flowers ripe for deadheading.
After the growing season though, geranium blooms begin to die and the plant eventually becomes dormant. Gardeners are encouraged to prune the plant to about 3 inches above the soil. This aids in energy storage in winter for next spring’s growing season. The pruning should include all foliage and remaining flowers leaving only the bare stem.