Q How do I plant hardy geraniums?
A Adaptable, dependable and colourful, hardy geraniums deserve their popularity. They’re surprisingly tough and very diverse, with varieties for almost every situation in the garden.
Geraniums can be planted at any time of year, as long as the ground isn’t frozen. However, the widest selection of varieties will be available to buy in spring.
Plant in well-drained soil. Water them well after planting. Even the plants suited to dry soil will benefit from being watered until they’re established and growing well.
Which? Gardening magazine rated 30 commonly available varieties of hardy geraniums to find the best for our gardens. To discover our recommendations, subscribe online to Which? Gardening or call 029 2267 0000.
Caption: Geranium 'Jolly Jewel Raspberry'
Q Should I cut back hardy geraniums?
A When the first flush of flowers finishes, cut the plants back hard. Fresh leaves will soon grow and you might get a second flush of flowers.
Tidy up the plants in spring by removing any dead growth from the previous year.
Caption: Cutting back early-flowering varieties will encourage a second flush of blooms
Q How do I propagate hardy geraniums?
A If clumps grow too big, they can be divided in spring or autumn. This can be done every few years if needed. Dig up the clump and either cut it into sections or divide it with two forks, pushed through back-to-back.
Caption: Divide big clumps into smaller pieces
Q Which pests and diseases can affect hardy geraniums?
A Powdery mildew appears as a white down on the leaves. Improving air flow and watering the plants can help to alleviate it.
Rust appears as brown pustules on the leaves. Remove any affected leaves as soon as you see signs, or spray with a suitable fungicide.
Vine weevil grubs like geranium roots. If plants look wilted but don’t recover after watering, check how firmly they’re anchored in the soil and look for the white, ‘C’-shaped grubs. Use biological control containing nematodes to treat the problem and apply while the soil is still warm enough in late summer.
Caption: Control vine weevil by applying biological control