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Geraniums in winter
Everyone loves geraniums: with their bright colors, they adorn gardens and terraces, especially in summer. When the cold comes, they need special care.
The geranium plant is perennial: it means that it lives for many years, if it is in the right environmental conditions. The geranium is also resistant to the cold: it is however a plant that does not tolerate too rigid temperatures, as its ideal climate is mild.
If we are in an area where the winter temperature drops a lot, it is therefore necessary to pay particular attention to our geranium plants, which otherwise would not survive. It is not a question, however, of having to carry out complicated operations: it is simply necessary to use some precautions.
First of all, it is necessary to prune the plant: it is a delicate and important operation, which serves to clean the geranium and prepare it for the winter, during which it will find itself in a state of vegetative rest. We therefore eliminate leaves and dry branches (in order to make the plant a less easy prey for insects and parasites), and we suspend every fertilization operation (which would hinder the vegetative rest of the plant). Instead, administer a fungicide treatment to prevent the plant from being attacked by fungal infections during the cold months. Now, the time has come to proceed with the development of the best way to make our colored plants survive through the winter.
When it's very cold
If you live in an area where the winter is very rigid, it is better to keep the geraniums repaired inside the house: it is sufficient to keep them in an area far from heat sources (not next to radiators!) And keep the earth barely damp. Better if near a window, so that the plants can enjoy natural light (but a cellar is also fine). In case you do not have the possibility to house plants at home, you can use a small greenhouse: on the market there are different types, even small and suitable to be kept on the terrace or on the balcony. The simplest ones include a plastic structure (suitable for keeping plants above ground) and a pvc sheet that covers them, as a form of protection. There are also more complicated models, which include glass panels to be mounted on the structure. If there are few plants and there is not much space on the terrace or in the garden, the first solution is certainly sufficient. The structure (whether in glass, plastic or PVC) keeps the heat inside, forming an ideal climate for geranium plants. It is also possible to make your own greenhouse, in a very simple way: you only need to place the geraniums against the wall, and cover them with a special fabric cloth for the plants (it is sold in any shop specializing in gardening items). In this way, conditions similar to those found in a greenhouse will be recreated. In the event that this solution is chosen, it is good to keep the plants raised from the ground, even with a simple wooden fruit box. In this way, the earth will be oxygenated.
When winter is milder
In areas where temperatures remain mild even in winter, and where the thermometer rarely falls below zero, you can decide to leave the geranium plants in their place, where we kept them during the spring and summer. In this case, it is sufficient to cover them with a bit of special fabric (the same with which you can make the do-it-yourself greenhouses) so that they remain protected even in the event of a cold wind blowing or in which a sporadic frost. It is recommended to provide the same protection to the roots, covering the earth at the base of the plant with straw, hay or abundant dry leaves. If you have the chance, you can also place geranium plants next to the house wall, in a position where they are more protected from icy wind. Even if the geraniums remain outside the house, water them sporadically: usually the natural rains are sufficient, but if it does not rain for so long, the earth around the plant must be kept moist.
Geraniums in winter: When spring comes
In the first, warm days of March, you can begin to gradually awaken the geranium plants from the winter vegetative rest. First of all, it is necessary to start again to water them more abundantly, administering, together with water, a liquid fertilizer suitable for geraniums. Also in spring it is necessary to power the plants, eliminating all the dry leaves and branches that may have died during the winter period. If geranium plants have remained in the house during the winter, it is advisable to transfer them next to a window, so that they can receive sunlight, which will help "wake them up". You will see how the plants will begin to produce new shoots: after a few weeks, when temperatures allow, the plants can be returned to the open air.