Different coloured geraniums

Grow stunning displays using geranium plug plants
Image: Geranium ‘Jackpot mixed’ F1 hybrid from Thompson & Morgan

Order geranium plug plants early in the year, and you’ll receive healthy young plants in plenty of time to fill your beds, borders, pots and baskets with beautiful blooms from June to October. To help you get the best from your geranium plugs, we’ve put together some handy growing instructions. Here’s everything you need to know to grow pelargoniums like a pro. 

What to do when you receive your plug plants

Red geranium with green leaves

Pinch out the growing tips to encourage a bushier plant with plenty of flowers
Image: Geranium ‘Power Red’ from Thompson & Morgan

Plug plants are an incredibly easy and cost-effective way to fill your garden with colour, and watching a plant you have tended suddenly burst into bloom is something to be treasured and enjoyed. Geranium plug plants take far less time than growing your own from seed, and there’s a much higher chance of success as they’ve been professionally nurtured to ensure you receive the strongest, healthiest and best quality plants. Here’s what to do when they arrive:

  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.
  2. Pot up the plug plants into 3.5″ (9cm) pots. 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 – it’s helpful but not essential!
  3. Make sure the plug plants are moist at all times, but not waterlogged. When they’re small they have a little root system so it’s only as they grow bigger that they’ll need more water.
  4. Place the plug plants in a sunny place – the warmer and drier the better. You’ll get the best results if you can give your plants ‘summer’ – so a dry, light, bright place will make them happiest. 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.

If you follow these five simple steps, your geranium plugs will begin to grow and flourish – isn’t nature a wonderful thing! And so what to do with them next? Geraniums like spring and summer, so the nearer to these conditions you can give them, the happier they will be. Find a sheltered spot in full sun, and if you’re planting in the ground, be sure to harden them off and wait until all chance of frost has passed. And for even more geranium growing advice, head to our geraniums hub page for links to other helpful posts and articles. Enjoy!

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