Geraniums--a lot of gardens seem to have them. Why? Simple! NO WORK! The most common kinds, red and pink (often misnamed "salmon") are available almost everywhere as 4-inch plants. Just stick 'em in, water, and you're all set.

Fertilizer? Sure, they'll take some all-purpose fertilizer. If you don't fertilize? They'll be fine then, too. A couple less blooms per season, maybe. If the soil is very, very, light sand (color-wise), though, then it would be quite beneficial to go ahead and put some down 2 or 3 times a season. Fertilizer tends to benefit this type of plant more than compost when establishing a garden. Soil which has been compost-enriched throughout the years should not need any more fertilizer for geraniums to grow beautifully.

Dead blooms? Some varieties don't even need them removed. They just fall off. Some, however, will need their dead blooms removed every few weeks. There's no need to be obsessive.

Also, they are almost impossible to kill when planted outside. They take all kinds of abuse.

To get the newer, unusual kinds, like multicolored blooms, you will probably need to start your own from seed. I haven't been able to find the dark/light pink, the coral, or the coral and red (coral is like light salmon--only really salmon, not light pink) in the garden centers. They may be somewhere, but seeds are the only way I know of to reliably get any.
The seeds are relatively expensive at about five bucks a pack. But well worth the money if you're looking for something which isn't in front of every house in America.

Geranium seeds are easy to get started. Similar to marigold seeds in starting requirements, just plant them about 1/4 inch down in potting mix. Sterile medium is often recommended by professionals, but this is usually devoid of most nutrients. If you choose sterile medium, make sure to get the kind with a few weeks' worth of fertilizer added.
After planting, keep wet, but not dripping, in a WELL LIT--BRIGHT! area until ready to plant outside. ALLOW 15 (FIFTEEN) WEEKS FOR GERANIUMS TO BLOOM! They take a lot longer to bloom than most annuals planted in this area. That's one of the reasons garden centers usually charge over $1 a plant when one seed costs about 10-20 cents.

Once they sprout, give them a bit less water. These plants are prone to getting rot diseases if they are kept too wet after they have been sprouted a while.


This type of flower may cause WORK when growing on from seed. This is due to the need to prevent disease from infecting it. Fortunately, this is pretty easy. Just keep the growing area free of dead leaves, keep moderate moisture for the sprouted plants, and keep the leaves dry. Fungi and bacteria which infect plants love to hide in dead leaves. They also love to grow in and spread by water on the leaves. You may have to apply fungicide to prevent infection. Application of fungicide is the work part. Not really much work.

Avoiding Gardening Work
The Preen Page
Marigolds, continued
Dusty Miller
Compost and other Basics
The Obligatory Rose Page

About Marilynn