Did you know that you can start and grow your own incredible geranium plants from seed – and never have to worry about buying these attractive but often quite expensive flowering beauties again?
Geraniums are one of the most popular blooming plants when it comes to filling flowerbeds, containers and hanging baskets with big color. Their uniquely gorgeous blooms and beautiful foliage can fill any space with big interest.
But one thing is for sure, they can be expensive to buy. Especially when you have to do it each and every spring! Although geraniums are technically a perennial, they are grown almost everywhere as a annual since they simply can’t make it through a freeze or frost. And that means when the season is over, so are your geraniums.
Unfortunately, unlike many other annual flowers that can be purchased in flats at a significantly lower cost in the spring, geraniums are most often sold as larger plants in individual pots or small packs. And at a much higher cost!
In fact, depending on the size of the transplant, geraniums often cost $4 and up for a single plant. Which, of course, is exactly why growing your own from seed can save some serious cash. And even better – you might be surprised just how easy they are to grow from seed!
How To Grow Geraniums From Seed -With Ease!
When you can purchase an entire pack of 75 to 100 geranium seeds for the cost of just one or two geranium transplants, it’s easy to see why growing your own is a good way to go.
For years, geraniums were most often propagated from cuttings for commercial sale. Seeds at that point were not an efficient way to grow the plants quickly. In addition, the seed quality wasn’t the best when it came to producing a healthy plant with good blooming qualities.
But that has changed dramatically over the last decade. There have been advances just not with seed quality, but also in the availability of incredibly beautiful hybrid varieties. These plants grow strong and healthy from seed and they also produce plants that bloom with intense vigor and color.
Start Seeds Early – How To Grow Geraniums From Seed
The first key to growing geraniums successfully indoors from seed is to start early. Geraniums are slow growers, and they can take a long time to start blooming.
Unlike many flowering annuals that will bloom in as little as 8 weeks, geraniums can take 12 or more weeks to go into full bloom. With that in mind, it’s best to start seeds indoors about 10 weeks before you plan on moving them outdoors.
Seed varieties can be found (we’ve included a few seed links below) with blooms in white, red, pink, lavender, salmon, orange and more. In addition, there are many more that have variegated blooms that can add even more interest. Whatever you do, get your seeds early so you can start them early!
- Outsidepride Geranium Seed Mix for Containers, Baskets, Beds, & Window Boxes
- Burpee Border Mix Geranium Seeds
- Park Seed Maverick Scarlet Geranium Seeds, Heat Tolerant
How To Start Seeds Indoors – How To Grow Geraniums From Seed
The best way to know when to start your seeds indoors is to simply count back from your last average frost date. If your last average frost date is June 1st, start seeds indoors around March 30th. This allows for 10 weeks of growth, giving plants plenty of time to fill out before planting outdoors.
Listen In Below To Our Podcast On How To Easily Start Seeds Indoors!
Geraniums not only grow slow, they can be slow to germinate as well. But there is a way to help speed germination, and it all starts by soaking your seeds before planting. Soaking seeds prior to planting indoors can speed up germinating times by a week or more. And it’s a simple process!
To soak, moisten a paper towel and lay your seeds on it. Next, fold the paper towel together so that the seeds are inside. Finish by placing the moist paper towel into a plastic container with a lid or a plastic bag and seal.
Place the container or bag in a warm room or location. The moisture in the paper towel will fill the seeds with moisture, and by sealing it off in the container or bag, the seed will swell a bit. Allow the seeds to soak for 24 to 36 hours – and then its time to get them planted!
Planting Geranium Seeds Indoors – How To Grow Geraniums From Seed
Starting geranium seeds indoors is much the same as starting vegetable plants. The only difference for geraniums is that it’s best to use a larger starting size cell or container than you would with vegetable plants.
With the longer growth period of 10 weeks, geraniums need plenty of space to grow their root structure. Avoid using smaller cell flats with 72 planting holes. Although they can start a lot of plants, they won’t be able to provide enough room to handle growth until the plants are ready for the outdoors.
Instead, use flats with larger and deeper spacing that hold 24 plant – or even single larger containers. These provide plenty of room for growing indoors for 10 weeks or more. By using larger cells or pots to start your plants, you avoid the extra transplanting step.
This is important for geraniums as anytime a transplanting occurs, it slows their growth for a few days while they readjust.
Soil & Planting – How To Grow Geraniums From Seed
Once your seeds and containers are ready to go, it’s time for planting. Fill your seed starting cells with an all-purpose, loose, nutrient-filled seed starting mix. It is really important to start your seeds with plenty of nutrients for growth right from the start to allow for faster growth.
Plant seeds 1/4 inch down into the soil, planting two seeds in about half of the pots. By planting half of the cells with two seeds, you will have extra to replant if a few seeds in the other cells don’t germinate.
Finish by watering lightly, being careful not to over-saturate the soil. A spray bottle works well for this task. Cover your seed trays or cells with a plastic dome cover or plastic wrap. This is vital to keep the moisture in until they germinate. Light is not important at this stage.
Make sure to keep the seeds in a warm room or location that is 70° Fahrenheit or above. The warmth is just as important to help germination as the moisture is. With pre-soaking, geranium seeds usually will sprout within 5 to 10 days.
Once a few of the seeds have popped through the surface of the soil, you can remove the cover. At this point, it’s time to put the seedlings under the lights.
Lighting – How To Grow Geraniums From Seed
Although a sunny window might sound good like a good place to raise seedlings in late winter or early spring, it’s far better to keep seeds directly under artificial indoor light. See: The Best Lights To Use For Starting Seeds Indoors – Simple, Easy & Inexpensive!
This is actually the best way to start any vegetable or flower seed indoors. Unfortunately, sunny windows just don’t give enough light for plants to grow strong. Especially when it comes to geraniums. The good news is this process requires no special equipment or fancy lighting.
Ordinary 4′ fluorescent or LED shop lights work great. Just keep them about an inch over plants as they grow. Moving the lights up as the plants grow will encourage slow, steady and strong growing patterns.
Providing your geraniums with a bit of extra nutrients as they grow will help them fill out fast. The secret is to provide the nutrients in a lower dose as to not overpower young seedlings. Using an all-purpose liquid plant fertilizer at half of the recommended strength will do the trick.
You can also use compost tea as an alternative – and it can be used at full strength. Fertilize when plants are 4 weeks old and every 2 weeks after that. This will help strengthen you plants and have them big enough for planting outdoors.
Hardening Off – Starting Geraniums From Seed
Finally, you will need to harden off your plants before they head outside. Hardening off is simply the process of getting plants use to life outdoors.
As the weather begins to warm, take geraniums outside during the daylight hours in a protected space. Back porches and decks work well for this. When temperatures cool down at night, bring them back inside.
A week or so before transplanting, your geraniums should be able to stay out around the clock unless a frost or freeze in the forecast. With this process, your geraniums will be more than ready to thrive!
Here is to growing your own geraniums from seed this year – and saving a little cash in the process!
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