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Why Won’t My Geranium Bloom?

How many of you have asked this very question before?

You plant your Geranium, like any other annual summer flower. You think you’ve given it everything it needs, yet it won’t bloom.

Why is this flower different from others?

I had a similar situation with my Geranium plant. I started it from seed, took good care of it, then planted it outside after all risk of frost had passed.

After waiting all summer with bated breath, my Geranium plant failed to bloom.

Then I did a little digging and found out why.

Geranium flowers, as we know them, are flowers used in annual borders and pots. They have a very specific foliar scent and flowers that bloom off long, thin stems. Popular flower colours include red, pink and white.

However, the Geranium flower is improperly named. What we know of as Geranium, is actually Pelargonium, a tender perennial that originated in Southern Africa.

The true Geranium is actually a hardy perennial plant, commonly known as Cranesbill. Both Geranium and Pelargonium are members of the family, Geraniaceae.

As I previously mentioned, my Pelargonium did not bloom this summer. I waited and waited and decided to pot up my little Pelargonium and bring it inside, hoping that it might eventually bloom. If not, to hold onto it for as long as possible and perhaps plant it out next summer.

Why Won't My Geranium Bloom

My Pelargonium after living indoors for 2 weeks

After about 2 weeks indoors and next to a sunny south-facing window, my tiny Pelargonium developed a stem that popped out of the centre of the plant. Several days later I discovered it had flower blossoms.

As the week progressed, these tiny blossoms finally bloomed and revealed beautiful pink flowers.

Why didn’t it bloom outside?

This question baffled me!

The past summer was extremely warm and dry. It was an unusual summer compared to previous ones. Yet, this did not help my little pelargonium to bloom.

I decided to look into it. Here’s what I learned…

What Pelargonium (Geranium) requires in order to bloom:

Why Won't My Geranium Bloom?

Why Won’t My Geranium Bloom?

  • Needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, to build up enough energy to bloom.
  • Requires a South or West exposure, where the sun is most direct and strong.
  • If blooming indoors, it requires a window with direct light, facing West or South.
  • Requires a minimum temperature of 21-30 celsius (70-85F) in the day and 15 celsius (60F) at night. However, if the heat sets in too early in the season, the bloom period will decrease.
  • Likes moist soil, but too much watering can stop it from blooming. When the soil around the plant’s roots gets waterlogged, the roots will be unable to take up oxygen and the plant will suffer.
  • Only requires moderate amounts of balanced fertilizer (i.e. 10-10-10) every 2 to 4 weeks, to keep flowers blooming, but will bloom without it.
  • The number of flowers developed is related to the amount of sun the plant receives.

* Need these 7 requirements on the go, download the post as a PDF.

What does this mean for my Pelargonium?

  1. The first issue is location. My Pelargonium was planted behind a much taller perennial plant. When it was first planted, the perennial in front had been dormant from winter. So, this seemed like a good location for it, especially since the planting location was south-facing. However, once the perennial grew in, it blocked most of its direct sunlight.
  2. The early heat of summer and lack of rain, didn’t provide the plant enough of the water it needed to bloom.
  3. Finally, a further possible reason may have been the size of the seedling at transplanting time. Perhaps, if the seedling had been larger and more mature when planting out, it may have had a head start and bloomed outside. Rather than inside and next to a sunny south facing window.

Happy Gardening!

10 Proven Steps for a Successful Vegetable Garden

10 Proven Steps for a Successful Vegetable Garden

Having a vegetable garden that flourishes takes a big commitment. Learn how to create an enchanted kitchen garden oasis with these 10 proven steps.

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