Mixed Geranium Hanging Basket Care
Mixed Geranium hanging baskets come in a large variety of colors and are very hardy. All Geraniums thrive in warm sunny locations. The label ‘mixed’ means that they have been paired with basket stuffers and vines that love sun too. They need a minimum of 6 hours of sunshine, but prefer at least 8. If they are grown in the shade, they tend to stretch because they are searching for more light and they will bloom poorly. Of all the hanging basket types we grow, Geraniums are the easiest to care for.
Geraniums can take a little wind, but they aren’t fans of full force gale winds or perpetually windy areas.
Let’s do a quick review of general hanging basket care by using the acronym C-A-R-E and then we’ll take a look at Mixed Geranium hanging basket care specifically.
- This is about keeping a watchful eye on your hanging basket.
- Each day, do a general top to bottom overall check of your hanging basket – inspect leaf & flower health: any curling, wilting, spotted or yellowing leaves, and old or deformed flowers. Turn the leaves over to look underneath for bugs, they love hiding there.
- Geraniums are robust plants when they are in the proper location. When they are grown in areas that stress them (like in the shade), that is when you see problems arise.
- This is all about watering.
- A good way to check hanging baskets for adequate hydration is to feel how heavy they are, lift them by pushing up on the bottom of the pot as they are hanging and check the weight. As you get more familiar with how heavy a fully watered hanging basket is, you will be able to tell when it’s time to water. If you happened to put your Geranium basket in an upright container, you can dip your index finger deeply into the soil. If the soil is dry at about 1.5 inches, it’s time for a drink of water. When watering containers and hanging baskets, water thoroughly so that water runs out of the bottom of the pot – that’s how you know you have watered effectively and that all the roots are bathed in a fresh drink of water. If you don’t let water flow out, salts from the fertilizer will accumulate causing the leaves and flowers to burn.
- Because Mixed Geranium baskets like the sun and heat, they need to be watched carefully for water requirements. On average summer days, Mixed Geranium baskets need to be watered every 3 to 5 days but during very hot spells, they may need to be watered every 1-2 days. Be sure to check the soil moisture or basket weight before you water.
- Water thoroughly so the water drains out the bottom as described above.
- This step is about fertilizing.
- The reason that replenishing nutrients is important for containers and hanging baskets is that there is a finite amount of nutrients held within the container soil and when the water drips out of the pots, some of those nutrients are lost. We recommend fertilizing weekly. Pick a regular day of the week, and make that your fertilizing day – make it an alarm on your phone. Our favorite fertilizer is called ‘Nature’s Source’. It is a natural fertilizer and we have found it to be easy to use, gentle on plants with no burning and we think it makes flowers brighter. ‘Miracle Grow’ is another good choice and other balanced fertilizers like 20-20-20 work well.
- Mixed Geraniums
- Mixed Geranium baskets have a high rate of metabolism and they are heavy feeders.
- Fertilize them weekly as you water.
- This is a maintenance step.
- Plant growth is encouraged by taking off old flowers, known as deadheading, removing dead leaves, and pinching straggly, leggy plants back. Taking off old flowers is important because the ultimate purpose of flowers to produce seeds for reproduction. By taking off those dead flowers, the plant continues to flower. Old wilted and curled leaves actually take energy from the plant in an attempt to repair itself but if they are removed, the plant can continue to focus its efforts on flowering. Plants can also get long and straggly looking – it’s ok to literally give them a haircut with scissors – it will make them branch, become bushy and thrive.
- Deadhead Mixed Geraniums as their flowers begin to dry. Follow the flower stem back to where it intersects with the larger stem and pinch it back at that point – Geraniums are fun because they make a very satisfying snapping noise when they flower stems are broken off.
- In the Mixed Geranium baskets, some of the trailing flowers may need to be deadheaded as well. If the trailers get too long for your liking, you may always cut them back with scissors to keep them stocky and strong and to stimulate fresh, compact growth.
Enjoy these baskets, they have tremendous color power and perform wonderfully with a little routine care.