How to Overwinter Geraniums

Make your plants last from one season to the next with these simple ideas.



Frost Bitten Geraniums

Photo by: Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson

Geraniums are a favorite flowering plants in the garden, so it’s no surprise many gardeners want to enjoy blooms from the same plant year after year. Whether it’s a color that was grown by a beloved grandmother or a new variety that sets the perfect tone among the rest of the garden’s plants, there are a number of reasons to take the time to overwinter your geraniums. Here are three easy ways to save your zonal geraniums or pelargoniums from one growing season to the next. 

Create New Growth from Cuttings

Propagating is one of the easiest ways to enjoy the blooms of your geranium the following spring. Start by cutting a four- to six-inch piece just above the node or joint on the plant’s stem. Dip the piece in a rooting hormone solution to encourage growth, and then plant it in a small container filled with coarse potting mix. You want this soil to be moist, but not wet. You can plant multiple cuttings in one container if desired. 

Be sure to keep your cuttings in an area where they’ll receive plenty of sunlight, and water the container when the soil begins to dry out. You should start to see new growth and a root system in four to six weeks. From this point, care for the new bloomer as you would a mature geranium, and then pot outdoors in the spring. 

Store the Entire Plant in Your Basement

A second option is to overwinter the entire plant. Storing dormant plants is one of the oldest and most time-honored practices of overwintering geraniums, and it’s fairly simply to do. You’ll start by digging up the geraniums in your yard, roots and all. Shake them off outdoors to get rid of any excess dirt. You’ll then want to cut the stems back to three-inch spikes, and remove any remaining foliage, blooms, or mold. After pruning them, store the geranium stems and root systems in a cardboard box in your basement or a cool, dry area. You can pack as many geraniums into one box as will fit. Check them every few weeks. If you see mold, cut it off to prevent it from spreading from one plant to another. When spring arrives, replant the geraniums in the ground or in containers outdoors and care for them as normal. 

Plant Them in Containers to Enjoy Indoors

Perhaps the easiest way to overwinter your geraniums is to bring them indoors to continue growing and blooming. If you have geraniums that are already potted in containers of a manageable size, then you can simply bring those indoors. If your geraniums are planted in the ground or in giant outdoor containers, place them in small, easy-to-move containers before bringing inside. You’ll want to position them in a spot that gets plenty of light and continue to water as needed. It’s best to bring them inside before temperatures drop to a wintry level to give them time to adjust to the indoor climate and humidity. Note that blooms may not be as vibrant or as prolific during the winter months; however as long as the plant continues to have new growth, its robustness should return in the spring when it is moved back outdoors. 

Next Up

The Different Types of Geraniums

There’s more than one type of geranium. Find out just what you have — or would care to have — growing in your garden with this quick guide.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’

Hardy, versatile and eye-catching, these blue-violet blooms are sure to be a showstopper in any garden.

How and When to Plant Geraniums

Learn how to grow and care for these flowering beauties in your own container garden or backyard.

Zonal Geraniums

Learn more about this incredibly popular plant, which is a common choice for home gardeners throughout the United States.

Geranium Flowers

Learn more about the blooms of this classic plant and how you can get the most from them throughout the growing season.

Scented Geraniums

The leaves of these plants can add a fragrant aroma to your garden.

What Is a Geranium?

As one of the iconic blooms of summer, geraniums are often seen in home and commercial gardens throughout the United States. Learn more about them here.

Rose Geranium Plants

The scented leaves of these light-loving beauties are just one of the reasons to add them to your garden.

Wild Geraniums

Found in meadows and woodlands, these lavender-colored blooms can be equally beautifully in your home garden.

Hardy Geraniums

Also commonly known as true or cranesbill geraniums, these perennial plants are low maintenance and provide continuous color during the summer months.


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