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Your gardening answers; Give geraniums some winter TLC.

'I have kept some geraniums alive in the house in pots since last fall, but they now look kind of ratty. Are they worth saving?''

Indeed they are! You should not expect the geraniums to look great at this time of the year even if you had a perfect indoor location for them. Geraniums are high light plants from South Africa. The winter season in New England is anything but sunny South Africa.

The first step in geranium care is to groom each plant. Remove all the dead and discolored leaves.

The next operation is to shape each plant. Cut down the overly long bare branches. Your objective is to build a balanced, compact framework for the developing plant to grow from. Retain some of the green stem on the plant and not be limited to hard brown growth.

Now it is time to remove the plant from its pot. Loosen the soil, removing up to half, along with the dead brown roots that have collected at the base of the soil ball. Use a clean, new pot that can be either clay or plastic, but must have drain holes. Make use of a professional potting soil mix like Pro-Mix, Metro-Mix, Fafard-Mix or similar. After slightly moistening the mix, position the plant in the center of the pot, fill in around the soil ball firmly and water well. Set the plant in your sunniest window and enjoy the leaf development. No fertilizer is needed for a month.

Note that those pieces of stem that you pruned from the plant during the grooming process can be cleaned of debris, trimmed to 4 to 5 inches long and set into a container of moistened perlite for roots to form for new plants to use in your yard.

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Title Annotation:Weeklies
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Feb 20, 2015
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