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
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:
- On receipt of your plug plants stand them upright and keep a note of their name from the packaging – a plastic label is ideal.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
I’ve put my geraniums out side in the garden after keeping them in the conservatory they seem to be growing albeit slowly how often should I feed them, I water them twice a day but never in the heat of the day. They were plug plants. Would be grateful for any help and suggestions
You can give them a liquid feed once a week. Unless the compost is drying out, I would reduce watering to once a day – but give them a good soak. They wont want to sit too wet and this can even slow their growth down.
My plug geraniums are doing well but have quite large leaves for their size.can I remove some of tge largest ones as well as pinching out
You could remove the odd leaf if necessary but remember that these leaves are feeding the plant so by removing them you are inhibiting growth. If they are yellowing then they can certainly be removed, but otherwise I would be inclined to simply give them a little more space.
All the best
I received my geranium plants some weeks ago but although they look healthy they just are not growing. Should I give up on them?
If they look healthy then don’t give up on them! They are probably busy rooting in and once they have developed their root system they will start to produce top growth. Keep them warm and don’t overwater them. you should start to see some growth in the next few weeks.
Hope that helps
Same here, Kath! They are in the sun in small pots, not overwatered, but 2 months in they are still just over 1″ tall. No root system has developed.
I am growing some geraniums from plugs in my greenhouse. They are doing very well. Getting nice and bushy. I was told to pinch off any buds that are growing in order to make the plants bushier. If this is true, do I continue doing this until planting? Which probably won’t be until the beginning of June. Or do you just pinch them once?Thank you kindly
I recurve do some of my order of fuchsia plug plants but they appear to be writing after 2 days. I have potted in small plant trays and placed on window sill. Please advise what I should do .
It’s very hard to say what is wrong without seeing them. However, wilting can be a sign of dryness at the roots, but in young plants it is often an indication of over-watering, which can cause the plants to rot.Try to let them dry out slightly between waterings.
All the best
my tine plugs I am growing fall over when watered, they seem to need to be deeper in the soil as I left the seedling on top of the soil and covered with a small amount of vermiculite
It’s quite possible that they should have been transplanted a little deeper. Also try to ensure that they get plenty of daylight as they can easily become leggy if grown on a north or east facing windowsill at this time of the year, as they will naturally stretch towards the light.
Are you watering your seedlings from above? If so, try watering them by standing them in a tray of water instead. Be sure to let them drain well once the compost has become moist. Watering this way will prevent seedlings from being knocked over by falling water droplets and also help to encourage better root development.
Hope that helps
I bought 150 plug pelargoniums( I call them geraniums). Arrived in good condition, I re-potted them and have kept them moist in my greenhouse. They are growing but as yet, no buds or flowers. Will they flower this year.
Yes they will flower once they get going! At the moment they are probably still making root and top growth before initiating flower buds. Give them a little time – they often produce a lot of rapid growth all of a sudden, and then the blooms will quickly follow.
All the best
I am growing geraniums from plugs in a greenhouse. Plants are looking nice and healthy. My question is, I was told to pinch off the flower buds to make the plants bushier. (So sad to do that) If this is true? How long do I do this for? Up until planting? Which won’t be until the beginning of June. Thank you in advance
Its a good idea to pinch out the stems tips once or maybe twice while the plants are still young as this will help to make bushier plant with more stems. The more stems you have, the more flowers you will get! Leave the flowers to blooms but you can deadhead the flowers as they fade, and this will help to promote more flowers throughout the growing season.
Hope that helps
Is there any video material on pinching out and any associated actions, please?
All of the text about this seems to lack details such as plant size, stage of growth and exactly what we’re supposed to be doing. If I could see the process(es)demonstrated with an explanation, I would feel much more confident!
You may find this useful – it is the same process for pelargoniums and there is a video that you can watch too 🙂
Many thanks, Sue. I’ve taken the plunge and am hoping I’ve got it right!
Hi, l have already pinched out my Tidal Wave plug plants once already. They will be going in a tub in a few days time. Some have already got a flower bud on. Shall l remove these before planting
I received my plug plants in mid April, they were four days in the post and the some leaves were quite yellow,however I potted them up right away and put them in my large home made propagater with heated soil cable and covered them with glass at night. They have become good strong plants now without losing one plant, I’m really pleased and will be pinching out the first flowers today after reading your instructions. Many thanks to all concerned.
Hi our plug geranium plants seem to be stunted they haven’t put on any growth since purchase can you suggest what I can do?
Hi Jane, where are they being kept? it might be that they are too cold and wet and sitting it out for the moment. keep them warm, sunny and barely damp as they do not like too much water – at a young age it can cause the stems to rot away!