How to Prune and Deadhead Your Geraniums

Get the most out of your plant with these two simple maintenance practices.



woman pruning flowers

Photo by: Marc Romanelli

Marc Romanelli

They are two of the biggest—and most crucial—parts of maintaining the vibrant, beautiful blooms you love to see in your geranium garden: pruning and deadheading. But, when is the best time to prune and deadhead? And what’s the best practice? Read on for quick tips that will offer success in the form of brilliant returning blooms. 

Deadhead for Continued Blooms

Without deadheading the blooms have a tendency to become sparse, and they will eventually stop producing flowers. This technique also prevents the plant from forming new seeds. You should deadhead whenever your geranium blooms begin to look brown or weak. 

To deadhead your geraniums, rather than simply pulling off the top flowers, you need to go a little deeper in the plant and snap the stem below its node or joint, where new growth begins. You can use a pair of shears—or simply use your hands. It is helpful to have a healthy plant that has been well-watered over time in order to make the stems easier to snap. 

Deadheading will encourage new, full blooms to grow in and replace any that look weak or less full. Work through your plant, doing this throughout its sections. You’ll begin to see fresh new blooms in just a few days. The entire process takes just a few minutes but can help your plants to last for weeks and even months longer. You can do this every couple of weeks, or if you have the time pull a few stems each day while tending to your plants. 

Shape the Plant by Pruning

After a perennial geranium has spent the season in bloom and begins to die back, you’ll want to prune it. This keeps the plant dormant for the winter and also helps it to store energy for spring. Depending on your zone, this might be anywhere from August to late October. Use a pair of reliable shears to trim back perennial geraniums to two or three inches above the soil, cutting at nodes or new growth points when possible. Remove any leaves or additional flowers that remain. You’ll end up with a fairly unattractive grouping of thick stems. But not to worry, next spring your blooms will be back in full display of their beauty. 

Note that if you have planted annual geraniums, you can go ahead and dig them up and discard them at this time. If you have geraniums in containers that you plan to overwinter indoors, now is also a good time to go ahead and bring them inside—marking everything off your geranium to-do list at once.

Next Up

How to Overwinter Geraniums

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

Geranium Leaves

Keep your plant’s leaves healthy and disease-free with ideas from this quick troubleshooting guide. 

How and When to Plant Geraniums

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

Rose Geranium Plants

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

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.

Zonal Geraniums

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

Geranium ‘Rozanne’

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

Wild Geraniums

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

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.

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.