How to Plant up Hanging Baskets

Hanging baskets are a really easy to way to create a stunning display in your garden without too much hard work! Simply choose your colour scheme, buy your hanging basket plants and follow the 3 main principles detailed below and you’ll be sure to have a mass of colour adorning your walls and fences…

 

1. Choosing the right hanging basket

Any type of container can be used as a makeshift hanging basket – we’ve even seen old clothes used as planters! But the easiest way is to invest in an Easy Fill Hanging Basket. These are long-lasting and easy to plant up plus thanks to the little gates around the sides when you insert your plants you won’t damage their roots .

 

2. Choosing your hanging basket plants

If you are planting up a winter hanging basket, you can’t go wrong if you choose our Winter Hanging Basket Plant Collection. Or you could visit our annual bedding pages for a wide selection of pansies, primulas, primroses and other winter bedding varieties.

For the best displays, first you need to decide on a colour scheme, then choose a mixture of trailing and upright plants. Trailing geraniums should be planted on the outside of your basket so they can trail and tumble all summer long. You can then plant an upright geranium in the centre of your basket to give your display height.

Fuchsias also make great basket plants. As with geraniums, use trailing varieties on the outside and then upright varieties in the centre.

If you prefer a mixed display then browse our selection of other hanging basket plants for some inspiration – begonias, petunias, lobelia and verbena all make wonderful hanging basket displays.

When it comes to how many plants to plant in your hanging basket we always say the more the merrier – pack them in for a full display which will look beautiful cascading and tumbling from the baskets (one little plant won’t make much of a display!). But, as a general guide we’d say 5-8 plants in a 12″ basket but if they do not have too much of a bushy habit then 10-12 plants would create a lovely full display.

 

3. Looking after your hanging basket plants

Feeding and Watering

The main thing to remember with hanging baskets is that the plant is completely dependant on you for it’s water and nutrition – a plant in the ground can send its roots out to forage through the earth for water or nutrients – a basket up in the air can’t send a long root down to the ground.

Before planting add some Incredibloom® into the compost. This will give your plants all the nutrients they need to put on a great display all season long. Tests have shown this plant food to help your plants produce up to 4 times as many flowers!

Once planted up make sure your hanging baskets are kept moist – never bone dry and never sitting in puddles. We recommend a good soaking and then leaving them to drain and dry a little until it is moist before watering again. Best to water early in the morning or in the evening to reduce water loss to evaporation.

 

Shaping your plants

Once the plants start growing they will take on their own shape – if you think a plant looks a bit straggly then prune a bit off to tidy the shape. Some like wild baskets and some like neat so it’s to your own preference. Just make sure that you don’t get carried away though as too much pruning can also remove some of the flower buds!

To prune your hanging basket plants cut at the stem just above a leaf joint – the plant will heal over at that point. To stop your plants getting taller nip out the growing tip at a leaf joint. Sometimes we are a little fearful of cutting and trimming our plants in case we cause any damage, but there’s not much that can go wrong. I always think of it as trimming your own hair when it’s got a bit untidy – a little trim up is better than a mad chop that leaves you with a wonky fringe! Mind you, if I ever do trim my own hair, my hairdresser tells me off!

Geranium pests, diseases and other problems

Geraniums are extremely tolerant plants and known for being reliable, sturdy growers that perform well with very little care needed … which is ideal! However, from time to time problems can crop up and we have put together the following ‘troubleshooting’ section to help you get the very best from your plants. Thankfully there aren’t many pests that are attracted to geraniums and most problems are easily treatable so don’t panic if you encounter any problems – you don’t have to throw your lovely plants away!

Click on the heading below which best describes the problem:

  1. Holes in the leaves
  2. Small white flies on the plants
  3. Small green flies on the plants
  4. Small black flies on the soil
  5. Brown patches on the leaves of zonal geraniums
  6. Brown marks on the backs Ivy Leaved geraniums
  7. Grey mould on the leaves and/or stems
  8. Plants not flowering
  9. Plants not thriving
  10. Rotted stem
  11. Lower leaves turning yellow
  12. Cauliflower-like growth on the stem
  13. Plant collapses and dies

Holes in the leaves

This is usually caused by caterpillars – there is a moth that can appear about August or September that will chew the leaves of the zonals which needs catching in the evenings or eradicating with a systemic insecticide. Geraniums are rarely affected by slugs and snails.

 

Whitefly

Whitefly can be a problem with the regal and sometimes the scented pelargoniums, though they do not actually damage the plant. Garden Centres are loaded with insecticides to combat this pest, but it is a case of persevering during the warm weather, as they breed very rapidly. We spend a huge amount of money to keep this pest under control – and it still pops up again! Try using “Provado”, it could help here!

 

Greenfly

Greenfly are more of a problem than Whitefly, as these DO damage the plant as they can distort the leaves and spread quickly. Obtain a ‘systemic spray’ from the hardware shop (systemic just means the spray gets into the plant system and the fly eat the leaves and get the insecticide into them). Spray the whole plant, particularly under the leaves and the compost too. Best to isolate the plant if possible to stop them spreading or spray all plants so they are all protected.

 

Sciarid flies

These are small black flies which you will see on the surface of the compost, and their larvae can damage the roots. They can thrive in peat composts, but are not normally so active that they kill the plants. Once their life cycle moves on, they disappear, so are only a nuisance for about two months in the year. Drenching with a weak solution of Jeyes Fluid will usually put an end to them. Correct watering – keeping the soil moist but never wet – will help to keep them away.

 

Pelargonium rust

Pelargonium rust can affect the zonal varieties, and it is getting everywhere nowadays – it first came into the country in 1964 and has gradually spread from Eastbourne, where it was first detected. It only affects the zonal types, and particularly thrives during a damp summer or autumn. However, it is not “life threatening” to the plants, and luckily it does not seem to infect the plants very rapidly, so simply removing the affected leaves will be a good control. We would also advise spraying with a suitable fungicide usually availlable at Garden Centres. Make sure you spray the underside of the leaves and the compost too so that all spores are treated. Within a day or two take off the affected leaves and either burn or put into the dustbin – do not put them on the compost heap. We do not recommend destroying your plants, as pelargonium rust is only a fungus, much like grey mould or botrytis, and is now endemic in this country, so any new plants you get will most likely suffer from it sooner or later. Ivy leaf geraniums never have rust, only zonals are ever infected.

 

Oedema

If you see brown marks on the backs of the leaves of your ivy leaved geraniums, what you have got is not a disease at all, but a physiological disorder called Oedema. This often affects the older leaves of the ivy or hybrid ivy types and is caused by erratic watering. If the plants have got rather dry and are then watered the stomata on the back of the leaves cannot always cope, and they burst. Afterwards they callous over, so what you see is like a scar. We would suggest removing any leaves that look unsightly – the new leaves that grow will not have it. Be careful to keep the roots of the plants moist at all times, especially at the times of the year when they are growing rapidly and are transpiring a great deal. Moist, but never waterlogged, is the golden rule.

 

Grey Mould

Grey mould, or botrytis, to give it it’s proper name, is a nuisance once autumn arrives. Damaged leaves or dying flowers will begin to rot once the cold, damp days arrive, and petals falling on to leaves can cause damage. The answer is threefold, one is to make sure there are no damaged leaves or flowers on the plants, the second is to supply adequate ventilation so that there is movement of air, and the third is to visit the Garden Centre to buy a fungicide designed to combat grey mould. Smokes are preferable in a greenhouse, because they do not increase the humidity, but are not practical in a porch or conservatory.

 

Plants not flowering

If plants are not flowering, check the following:

  1. What type of geranium is it? Regal and Angels naturally flower for a shorter period than other types.
  2. Is the plant growing well – bushy, healthy and happy looking?
  3. What feed is it getting? The best feed to boost flowering is high potash – tomato feed is good for encouraging flowering.
  4. Light – the better the light, the more geraniums will flower.
  5. Watering – is the plant getting enough to drink? The soil should moist at all times but never leave the plant sitting in puddles of water!
  6. What size pot is it in? – if the plant is in a huge pot it will be filling the pot with roots and not be concentrating on flowering. Try reducing the pot size – this restricts the roots so plant put its effort into flowering.

 

Plants not thriving

If plants are not thriving, check the following:

  1. Have a look at the roots – Take the plant out of the pot and have a look at the roots. If white then healthy and fine. If browning then the roots are dying.
  2. What compost is it growing in? It needs to be in general purpose compost – not bark based or coir as that will hold too much moisture.
  3. Is the compost stale and compacted? Try replanting into fresh compost.
  4. What feed is it getting? The best feed for foliage growth is a balanced fertiliser – our geranium fertiliser is good for foliage and flowering.
  5. Light – the better the light, the more geraniums will thrive.
  6. Watering – is the plant getting too much water? If the plant is too wet it will ‘drown’ as the roots need to have air around them for the oxygen.
  7. Look for sciarid fly – if there small black flies on the surface of the compost, their larvae may be damaging the roots. They can thrive in peat composts, but are not normally so active that they kill the plants. Once their life cycle moves on, they disappear, so are only a nuisance for about two months in the year. Drenching with a weak solution of Jeyes Fluid will usually put an end to them. Correct watering – keeping the soil moist but never wet – will help to keep them away.

 

Stem rot

Alas, this is something that geraniums are prone to, and we find that it is more likely to happen in very hot weather. It is caused by a soil-borne fungus, and if the pot gets hot it seems to give rise to the trouble. From our experience, it also seems to occur if the plant has dried out too much, and is then copiously watered.

 

Yellowing

If you spot yellowing of the bottom leaves of your geranium plants this can occur for any of several reasons:

  1. Insufficient light is reaching the lower part of the plant. This is probably the cause of the problem if the plants are too close together, or are too far from a good source of light. If you use a photographer’s light meter, you will discover that three feet in from a window will reduce the light level by 50%!
  2. The plants are receiving insufficient water at the roots. Although all of the pelargonium family will rot in a humid atmosphere, it is a mistake to think that they need to be kept dry at the roots. They are never dormant, so require moisture all the year round to transpire, but less, of course, in winter and in dull weather. When bone dry the stems go hard and woody, and the plant never grows as well – it is always best to renew the plant with fresh cuttings when this has occurred.
  3. The plants are drowning! Too much water will exclude the oxygen from the roots, causing them to die. It is said that 90% of house plants are killed from over watering. Never be afraid of taking a plant out of it’s pot to see what is happening to the roots. Sometimes it is possible to take a cutting off the top of a plant if it is only rotting at the bottom.
  4. The plants have been moved recently and are adjusting to their new environment.

 

Leafy gall

This is a strange, cauliflower-like growth that occurs where the stem enters the soil, and can occur on any of the pelargonium family. This problem is a complete mystery, as nobody has yet found the cause, so therefore there is no cure. It occurs completely indiscriminately – the first time we found it, in our early days of growing pelargoniums, we rushed off to a nurseryman and said “Look what we’ve found!” “Oh yes,” he said, “I just break that off and throw it away.” And this is still the only thing one can do. The plants continue to grow quite normally once it is removed, and cuttings taken from those plants do not necessarily have it – it just occurs as and when it feels like it!

 

Plant collapse

Sometimes geranium plants suddenly collapse and die. This is know an ‘Plant collapse’ and has two main causes:

  1. Vine weevil. This is a pest which seems to be on the increase and is difficult to eradicate. We know that fuchsia growers are very concerned about it. A garden centre is the place to go to for advice on suitable chemicals to combat the pest. We think they will probably recommend a product from PBI called “Provado”, but they might have other suggestions. We know of one nurseryman who recommends letting bantam chickens loose in the greenhouse! Levingtons do now produce a compost that will kill vine weevil, but that would entail washing the roots and repotting everything. We are sorry there is no magic remedy to this problem.
  2. Mice! We once had a letter from a frantic customer who said her plants in the conservatory were keeling over from above the soil level. In fear and trepidation, in case we upset her, we phoned and suggested she might have mice in the conservatory. “Do you know! I think you might be right!” she said. Phew!

How to Overwinter Geraniums

If you’re planning to over-winter your geraniums & pelargoniums please “take with a pinch of salt” anything you hear from well meaning “experts” – often they know an awful lot about a wide range of plants and limited specific knowledge of each species.

If the plants are warm and in good light, they are very likely to continue to grow, and some will even flower, in the winter. So fill all those sunny windows and conservatories with all your members of the pelargonium family!

 

Over-wintering geranium plants:

    1. The first thing to consider is if the particular variety is a favourite and is worth spending time and trouble on. If not, let it “take it’s chance” and buy something more agreeable next year!
    2. You also need to think about whether you have enough space for your quantity of plants. Very few of us have enough frost-free room to keep every plant, especially if they have grown very large. There are three choices:
      • Keep the plants as they are, but put into pots.
      • Cut back the plants so that they spend the winter re-growing and bushing out.
      • Root some new cuttings and leave the old plants to get on as best they can.
  1. Before bringing your geranium plants inside for the winter make sure you examine them well first. Clean off any dead leaves or dying flowers and look for signs of pelargonium rust. This only affects the zonal pelargoniums but it is getting everywhere nowadays. It first came into the country in 1968 and particularly thrives during a damp summer or autumn. Luckily, this does not seem to infect the plants very rapidly and is easily treatable, so simply removing the affected leaves will be a good control. You could also try spraying with a fungicide called Dithane945, which is obtainable at most Garden Centres.
  2. Light is very important, which is why if indoors they must be right on the window-sill – if they are only three feet from the window they will get 50% less light!
  3. During the winter try to keep the atmosphere dry, but not the roots. Because the plants do not go into dormancy they continue to grow and therefore transpire and so need some moisture. Geraniums will often survive a drought, but will not grow and thrive – people growing show plants are careful to ensure their plants roots are moist, but never wet, in the winter. To keep the atmosphere dry it is important to ventilate as often as possible. If you do not allow the air to move, your plants will end up a mouldy, rotting heap. Electric fan heaters are best as they move the air around every time they come on as well, and need little work on your part, thank goodness for a thermostat!
  4. Geraniums are very economical when overwintered in the greenhouse as they only need to be kept frost free. However, we do recommend if your heating has a thermostat you set it at 5ºdeg;C or 41ºdeg;F. If the stems get the frost then the plant will die and not recover! A porch, sunroom or conservatory are excellent places for the pelargonium family in the winter, and sunny windowsills are suitable.

Taking Geranium & Pelargonium Cuttings

There is no particular time of the year for taking cuttings of many of the members of the pelargonium family, because they have no dormancy and grow for twelve months of the year. However, success will depend on being able to supply good light and warm compost. A propagator is a worthwhile investment for any enthusiastic gardener. It is a good idea to get going on the regal varieties first if you need more of these, as they take longer to root and longer to come into bloom than the zonal types.

Whilst I’d always encourage you to expand your collection by trying out new varieties (and of course, ordering them all from Vernon’s!), taking your own cuttings of geraniums is also an exciting part of this wonderful hobby of growing and collecting geraniums! If you’ve never tried it before then do give it a go – I still get a thrill when fresh, white roots are coming out of the base of a cutting I’ve taken. There is no such thing as 100% success but if you have a method that works for then I’d always say stick with it.

 

How to take geranium cuttings

There is no particular time of the year for taking cuttings of the geranium family, because they have no dormancy and grow for twelve months of the year. However, success will depend on being able to supply good light and warm compost.

Your requirements will be a mother plant, a sharp knife, some seed compost and some means of keeping the compost warm once the cuttings are inserted.

  1. Cut the mother plant just above a leaf joint on the main stem and then trim the cutting you’ve taken to just below the joint.
  2. Strip off most of the leaves.
  3. Don’t take a great long cutting. The healthiest past of a plant is nearest the growing tip, so short cuttings are best, and once rooted they will soon catch up with long ones.
  4. The cuttings need to be inserted into warm, damp sterilised compost. Do not let them dry out and keep them in a light, dry atmosphere. Never put the lid down on a propagator if you are rooting any of the pelargonium family – they are very prone to rotting in high humidity.
  5. Wait and few weeks and your cuttings should have rooted!

Some years ago someone once wrote in a pelargonium magazine that it was beneficial to use a solution of vitamin C for cuttings, so we tried it and had to agree it helped, so we have been using it ever since. We put about half a teaspoonful of powder in a couple of eggcupfuls of cold water and stir it with anything that is non-metallic (usually a plant label) and it is stored in a dark bottle. Tablets would do just as well as powder – and what you don’t use for your geranium cuttings can be made into a drink – so it will do you both good! We never use hormone-rooting powders or liquid, as this makes the ends go soft and they are more likely to rot than root.

Do not get distraught if a few do not make it – one hundred per cent success is a very high standard to try to achieve! The important thing is to enjoy what you are doing, and we think you will always feel a sense of achievement when you manage to increase your stock of a plant. We always do!

How to Grow Geranium Plug Plants

To help you get the best from your geranium plug plants, we have put together some handy growing instructions for growing your plug plants. If you prefer to print them off we have also included a pdf version of our growing instructions – you can download these to your computer and then print off a copy to take with you to your ‘potting shed’!

There are two sets of growing instructions available – one for our geraniums (pelargoniums) and one for all our other plants – including hardy geraniums and fuchsias supplied as plugs and plants supplied as bare roots. The growing instructions for plug plants below apply to both geraniums and other plug plants.

 

> Download your Geranium, Fuchsia and Hardy Geranium Growing Instructions here

> Download your Growing Instructions for all other plants here

 

What to do when you receive your plug plants

Some people seem to find plug plants scary – they seem to think the care and nurturing of them must be difficult so they don’t grow them. But you and I know that plants are one of life’s greatest pleasures – to watch a plant you have grown yourself burst into flower is wonderful. And to sit in a garden on a warm summer day surrounded by beautiful colour is to be treasured and enjoyed – and we know that it’s not difficult, don’t we!

  1. On receipt of your plug plants stand them upright and keep a note of their name from the packaging – a plastic label is ideal for this.
  2. Pot up the plug plants into 3.5″ pots (9cm if you’ve gone metric!). Use a general purpose compost, which is easily available, but do NOT use bark based composts. These hold too much moisture and will drown the roots and the plants will die. I often add about 20% perlite to the compost as this helps get air around the roots – but if it’s a loose general purpose compost you won’t need to do this to have success – it’s helpful but not essential!
  3. Make sure the plug plants are moist at all times but not waterlogged. When they are small they have a little root system so it is only as they grow bigger that they will need more water.
  4. Place the plug plants in a sunny place – the warmer and drier the better. You will get the best results if you can give your plants ‘summer’ – so a dry, light, bright place will make them happier (goodness, they’re like me – they don’t like it cold and dark!) If you don’t have a greenhouse or conservatory then a sunny windowsill will be absolutely fine.
  5. Now for the most difficult bit ready? I suggest you remove the first lot of flower buds while the plants are small. As difficult as it is to do, it does mean the plant will put its effort into growing its root system and foliage, rather than putting its effort into flowering … but, of course, it’s not at all easy to remove the flower buds as we’re all impatient to see them flowering in all their glory!

Once you’ve followed the above steps then your geranium plugs will begin to grow and flourish – isn’t nature a wonderful thing! And so what to do with them next?

Most garden plants pretty much like the same conditions so aim for the following with all of your garden display plants, but for more information take a look at our Geranium Care Centre where there are lots of growing guides to help you.

We’ll always tell you how to care for your plug plants as we think the more success you have, the more of our plants you will want to grow – we certainly don’t want anyone to lose their plants! The logical approach is that plants like spring and summer conditions so the nearest to these conditions you can give them then the happier they will be.

Trouble Shooting your Geranium growing problems


As we have all been basking in this glorious sunshine our geraniums have been enjoying it too – it’s their perfect weather conditions, hot and dry. Whilst tempting at times to have exclaimed “it’s too hot!” I very much appreciate the burst of warmth because this year we have certainly waited a very, very long time for it. The geraniums have all perked up no end following the long, rainy month of April and are all bursting into bloom and at last we can get everything planted up outside … and our plants as well as us, are hopeful of having a long, warm summer.

I popped round to a neighbour at the weekend to help them with their garden … although I hasten to add they wanted some help with their geraniums and I certainly wasn’t out digging or weeding their garden for them … not in that heat! As we chatted away, a few interesting questions came up as we looked through their collection of geraniums – some were doing very well and looked very happy and sadly some looked like they were struggling somewhat.

My geraniums aren’t looking very well – why?

The first thing to look at is whether it is just a few leaves going yellow or whether the whole plant is looking a bit sick. If it’s just a few leaves and the rest of the plant is looking robust enough then I’d suggest it could be a sudden change in temperature or some other harmless occurrence. At this time of the year when we move plants from greenhouses to outdoors they can have a bit ‘shock’ at the change in temperature and losing a few leaves is nothing to worry about. If the whole plant is looking poorly then the first thing I always do is to get it out of the pot and have a good look at the roots and they tell the whole story as to what is going on with the top of the plant.

  • If the roots are pretty much nonexistent then I’m afraid that would suggest something has got into the soil and eaten the roots and this is most probably vine weevil. Have a look for the grubs although they are not always apparent and nowadays it is not the panic it used to be as there are now treatments available so it’s off to the hardware store to buy a remedy. If there are any healthy bits still on the plant you could nip a cutting and root this but if the whole plant has collapsed then there is little that can be done.
  • If the roots are there in abundance but are brown then the root system has died and the most common cause of this is overwatering. Before you yell “I don’t overwater my geraniums!” please see the question on compost below and see if something in there might be the cause. As before there is little that can be done and again, if there is a suitable part to nip a cutting from that is healthy enough then that’s what I’d do.
  • If the roots all look lovely and white and there are plenty of them then … hooray … we have a chance! If the plant is looking sick but the roots are white then there is something the plant is not happy about, causing it to look not quite right. In this situation I’d follow basic steps and follow my usual line of attack in which I think ‘these plants originate from South Africa so let’s give them the nearest we can to those conditions’ which will give them the best chance of recovery. So I always take as much of the old compost off as I can without disturbing the roots too much – repot and replace the compost with fresh compost, put the plant somewhere very warm and very light, give it a drink so it is moist and not waterlogged and then leave it for a day or two. After that I give it a feed and usually the plant bounces back to life and all is well.

Even when you do manage to get a plant to recover you should always take the opportunity to review your general growing conditions and watering as there might be something in the general care that is slightly amiss. However, don’t get blame yourself when you lose a plant … these things do happen and there is no such thing as 100% success rate – we can only do our best!

Is the compost very important?

Well the straight answer is yes … but that wouldn’t make much of a newsletter so I’ll expand (and as you might have gathered if you read my newsletters regularly … I can rabbit on about geraniums at great length!). Two aspects of compost are important – choosing the right one to start with and changing the compost.

Firstly, I’ll talk about changing the compost as that ties in with the question above about sickly plants. It is always a good idea to replace the compost every year. I know what it’s like – we grow a geranium in a big pot and we bring it out in summer and keep it in the greenhouse or conservatory in winter and we can go on doing this for years on end. Geraniums will grow for years if we keep them out of the frosts. So over time the compost becomes compacted and crushed down and also through the constant watering which is needed to keep the plant alive, the compost tightens down. The root system of the plant needs oxygen flowing freely around it as, like us, they need oxygen and if they are growing in tight, hard compost they will really struggle to get any oxygen at all. So a fresh lot of compost will not only have plenty of nutrition in it, which the plants need, it will also be nice and light and the plants will be able to spread their roots happily.

The choice of compost is very important and you should always go for a general purpose compost – if you have a favourite with a good success rate then I’d always say stick with it. I prefer a peat based compost and that is personal choice but you must avoid bark based compost and coir compost for geraniums as they hold too much moisture. Some years ago at the nursery a compost salesman (I’m sure that wasn’t his job title!) came along and told us of a new compost that had been designed especially for geraniums and that it was cheaper than the one we were using … “yippee” we all exclaimed and set about potting up a test batch of plants into the new compost and then stood back and watched the results. We watched … and watched … and watched … as about half of them keeled over and dropped down dead. Back to the old compost for us! So the lesson for all is that, if you do change your compost then test it on a few plants first! A good test to see if a compost is light enough is to squash a ball of damp compost into your hand in a tight fist – when you open your hand it should fall away freely and not stay in a tight hard ball. Most modern composts don’t need any additional drainage material added as they are designed for general use.

My geraniums are very leggy and getting unsightly – what can I do?

Modern geraniums are bred to be short jointed (that is, the stems don’t grow very long between the nodes) and this means most modern geraniums are short, bushy plants which don’t need much attention. An exhibitor growing for showing will spend a lot of time pinching out the growing tips of his (or her!) plants to make them grow in a compact manner. However older varieties or more mature geraniums, left to their own devices, can just keep on growing upwards and upwards and upwards leaving tall stick like plants with little bushy green bits on the top. And these need sorting! If you aren’t too worried about a show of flowers from the particular plant this summer then you can give it a good chop now – if you are then leave it until later in the summer when the main display is over. Grab a sharp knife and cut it back as much as you like – always cut just above a leaf joint in a straight line and the plant will heal over at this point. By cutting the plant back you are forcing it send out more growing shoots and it will do this from lower down and make a bushier plant – it’s a battle of survival for the geranium and you won’t do it any great harm by cutting it back. I’ve seen plants cut back to only 5 inch sticks and a few weeks later they have started sprouting a whole lot of new, fresh growth and the resulting plant has been superb. But please do this with caution as I’d hate to be the cause of you ruining your display! Try it on one plant and if it works then you can do it on your others late summer.

How can I get more flowers from my geraniums?

If the geraniums are happy in their conditions then they’ll flower away without much attention from you – their best conditions are a warm, light place with good compost and being kept moist and not waterlogged. Pots must have drainage holes in them so that they are not sitting in puddles of water – as before, they need oxygen around their roots and this is why overwatering can kill the plant – the poor thing can’t breathe! (Which is a horrible thought!)? Without any doubt, giving your plant a regular feed of fertiliser will significantly increase the number of flowers you get. My neighbour thought this should be done monthly – “no!” I said “give them a feed every week and watch the results”. The fertiliser contains high potash and this encourages flowers to be produced so pop some feed in once a week and your plants will flower even more. It doesn’t take long to do and the results are well worth the little effort involved. Having gone to all the trouble of planting out a display then it makes sense to get the best show possible from it. The same goes for all your flowering plants and our fertiliser can be used for all your garden plants to get more flowers – all your hardy plants, fuchsias, patio plants, border plants … they’ll all flower more with a weekly feed.

Where is the best position to put geraniums in the garden?

As I’ve said before, geraniums love warm, sunny positions but they are a very tolerant and resistant family of plants and yet will still do very well in more shady parts of the garden – we can’t knock down the garden fence to make sure the light is at maximum levels all day long! Some parts of our gardens are shadier than others so the geraniums can be spread around and will be happy out in the garden with some sun, some shade or in full sun all day long. Some plants flag in the heat but not your geraniums … they love it!

As we head towards the long weekend of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations it’s a great time to get the garden looking its best and to have a review of all our plants to make sure they are happy too! To add last minute plants to your displays and to boost up the show then do visit our website today and have a look at all the special offers we have available for delivery to you soon … there is always room for a few extra plants in the garden and the more plants we have, the more flowers we will have to enjoy all summer long so grab some bargains and pop them in all around the garden. I wish you a very happy celebration weekend!

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