If you were inspired to grow pelargoniums after reading "A Passion for Pelargoniums," here are some tips for how to care for these plants.
Start by repotting plants in larger containers (first in 4-inch containers, eventually moving up to one gallon as they grow) full of a fast-draining cactus-and-succulent mix with a bit of organic loam. Skip fertilizer. Shade outdoor spring and summer bloomers from heat but provide at least four hours of daily sun. Protect summer-dormant plants from summer rain.
Give plants water when their soil feels dry 2 inches down. As the weather cools, stop watering winter-dormant plants, and start watering winter growers. Bring them all indoors to protect them from temperatures below 28 degrees and from winter rain. Set winter growers in sunny windows (or put them under grow lights), and water only when dry.
Once a year, as plants emerge from dormancy, move them to larger pots if the roots seem crowded and replace the worn-out soil. Pests and diseases aren’t often a problem, and you don’t need to deadhead or cut back plants after blooming.
All illustrations by Brenda Weaver.