Question From: MICHIGAN
Q: Dear Nancy- Each spring when I purchase my Americana Geranium hanging baskets, I see the same disappointing scenario. I live in Michigan, and the front of my house faces south. I get about 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sun each day, which is where I display my geraniums. I repot the geraniums from the hanging basket into a plastic planter with Miracle Grow potting soil layered over some styraphome popcorns for drainage, combine supertunias, vinca and maybe verbena then I insert into a 3' zinc pot. I always thought that geraniums would work well for me in a southern exposure, but I find them thinning out, their blooms are never as grand as when I first purchased them. Is it wise to plant the Americana Geranium alone, and not mix them with other flowers providing the filler and spiller effects I so desire? Or are these geraniums getting too much sun!
You may have several problems : first when repotting the Geraniums you may be really disturbing their roots and they do not have time to re-establish before hot weather hits. Unless you have huge depth I'd forego the styrofoam. How about fertilizing? The Americanas are known for their vigor. Have you talked to the folks where you buy the flowers? My sense is the disturbance issue. Try to buy them in 4 to 6 inch pots. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.
Comment: Dear Nancy, Thank you for responding to my geranium question. I never even thought about the "disruption of the root system" when I transplant my geraniums from a hanging basket to a different pot! That has to be one of the major reasons for the lack of fullness of the plant as well as the smaller blooms. Last year on Memorial weekend, it was in the 90's here in Michigan and I ended up over watering them, and I rotted the root system. When I transplant the geraniums into a deeper pot, I fill it 1/3 deep with styraphome to make sure there is adequate drainage. I did talk to the farmer I purchased them from and she concluded over watering last year and poor drainage was the problem, but this year I was running into similar disappointing results. No, this year I am not over watering, so your email to me may be right on the money with disturbing the roots. I probably disturbed the roots by adding a "spike" in the center of the plant. Since my zinc planters are so tall, maybe 3' tall, I needed drama and wanted them to look stately! Poor thing, all I wanted to do was give it a happy home! I am trying these Americana's again and I won't touch the roots, no need to now since I am trying to re-establish a nice dwelling for them. I will let the dirt dry out a little and then water with Miracle Grow plant food in the next day or so. Thanks for your comments! Have a great day! Mary Jane
Mary Jane, I recommend you switch to Jack's Classic fertilizer. Also, water the plant with clear water before fertlizing. Best and Happy Yardening, Nancy.