Planting flower boxes with geraniums: useful planting tips and ideas for accompanying plants for the balcony garden
In spring and summer, geraniums with their sea of flowers are a real eye-catcher on the balcony at home. Both the hanging and the standing varieties are very easy to care for and bloom throughout the summer. No wonder that the South African beauties are among the most popular balcony plants today. If you want to plant your flower boxes with geraniums, then late spring (around mid-May) is the right time for it. We give you useful tips for your balcony garden and explain when you should plant geraniums in the flower box, what distance between the individual flowers you need to plan and which accompanying plants are the perfect combination partners for geraniums.
Planting geranium in flower boxes: An overview of the two growth forms
If you want to plant a flower box with geraniums, you can choose between two growth forms. Both hanging and standing varieties are sold in garden centers and nurseries. Which one you choose mainly depends on your own preferences. Basically, hanging geraniums take up significantly more space than standing varieties. Standing geraniums can also be staged effectively with ground cover and tall shrubs, while hanging geraniums are displayed in flower boxes, especially as soloists.
Hanging geraniums in the balcony box: tips for care
The hanging geraniums (lat. Pelargonium peltatum) are hybrid plants that reach a maximum height of 40 cm. Their shoots, which are up to one meter long, hang over the edge of the flower box. They cut a fine figure as soloists in the balcony box and attract everyone's attention with their bright colors. The hanging geraniums in the balcony box prefer sunny locations. A balcony with a western orientation is perfect, lying several hours a day in full sun and several hours in partial shade.
The geraniums originally from Africa also feel comfortable on the south-facing balcony, as long as there is sun protection there. Balconies with an east or north orientation are less or not suitable at all. On the one hand because they are in the shade, on the other hand because the plants there are exposed to strong winds. Geraniums can easily handle a breeze in summer, but a windy location can damage the delicate shoots of the plant. If you want to plant hanging geraniums in the flower box, then you need a balcony roof. This will protect the delicate flowers from the strong sun rays and rain in the summer months.
Standing geraniums: Popular planting partners
Standing geraniums (Pelargonium grandiflorum) reach a maximum height of 35 cm. They form numerous flowers between May and October and are real eye-catchers, both as soloists and in ensembles with other summer flowers, in every planter. The heat-loving flowers thrive best in sunny to partially shaded locations, require little water and are extremely easy to care for. You can hibernate standing geraniums in the window box, the plants need frost protection in the winter months. Most of the breeds originating from England can thrive even with a stronger wind, but rain can damage the shoots and especially the delicate flowers. That is why a balcony roof is also useful for the standing varieties.
Planting flower boxes with geraniums: what you should consider
If you want to plant a flower box with geraniums, there are a few things to consider:
1. Choose a suitable planter. Geraniums are considered uncomplicated and easy-care balcony flowers. In order for the summer flowering plants to feel comfortable in the flower box, they need a container with a large volume of soil. Larger balcony boxes that are at least 20 cm wide and at least 15 cm deep have proven to be optimal. The length depends on how many copies should be placed in the box. Small flower boxes with a length of up to 40 cm can accommodate a maximum of 2 plants, larger vessels with a length of 100 cm offer sufficient soil volume for up to 5 geraniums.
2nd Plan for geraniums in the balcony box. The fast-growing geraniums need clearance in the balcony box. For most of the bred hybrids, the minimum distance between the individual plants is 20 cm. In any case, if they are combined with other flowers, the different plants can be placed in the soil up to 30 cm apart.
3rd Geraniums in the balcony box: what to plant? Choosing the right companion plants can be a difficult task. We will briefly explain which planting partners can be particularly effectively staged together with geraniums in the flower box.
4th Which soil is suitable for geraniums? The flowers need a nutrient and nitrogen-rich potting soil. The so-called geranium soil is sold in flower shops. The growing medium is made from bog peat and enriched with limestone and clay minerals. It has a pH of 5.5 to 5.7 and contains between 150 mg / l and 180 mg / l nitrogen.
5. When to plant geraniums in the flower box? From April you can put them in the ground, around mid-May they are allowed to be outdoors. Weather plays an important role here, because geraniums can only tolerate frost to a limited extent or not at all. That is why hobby gardeners should only plant the balcony box at the end of April. Cuttings and young plants then need at least a week to get used to the spring weather. As a rule, the temperatures during the day should be at least 15 degrees Celsius so that they can place the house plants on the balcony. During this period of getting used to, you should bring the flowers into your home overnight. Because at night the temperature often drops below 10 degrees Celsius and the growth of the flower is slowed down.
Planting geranium in flower boxes: this is how you ensure abundant growth
If you buy geraniums from a garden center or nursery, take them home in a flower pot. So you first have to repot the flowers into a suitable balcony box. Plants overwintered at home must also be repotted before the start of the gardening season. Proceed as with other plants and first lay a drainage layer made of expanded clay on the bottom of the balcony box, so that the irrigation and rainwater can drain off quickly. Then fill the flower box 2/3 with soil. Dig out the rooted flower from the culture pot. Place the geraniums in the balcony box at a distance. You need around 2.5 liters of soil volume per copy. This is how you ensure that the geraniums have enough space to develop optimally. Enrich the potting soil with slow-release fertilizer and water the flowers.
During the first week you can store the plants in the apartment in an unheated but bright room. In this period, it is sufficient to water the tub plants once a week. During the habituation phase, when around winter in the middle and young plants are allowed to go outdoors, the summer flowers still require little water. From June, when the temperatures rise, you can water the geraniums 2 or 3 times a week as needed. Orientate yourself to the weather and try to avoid waterlogging. The floor should dry slightly before you water it again. You can add liquid fertilizer a month after you have supplied the potting soil with slow-release fertilizer.
Geraniums in the balcony box: what to plant?
A few years ago, geraniums were considered old-fashioned and boring. In the meantime, however, they have established themselves as real classics among balcony flowers and with good reason: thanks to the large variety of varieties, colors and flower shapes, numerous design ideas can be implemented in different garden styles.
Standing geraniums in the balcony box: what to plant?
You can always re-stage standing geraniums in the balcony box. We offer you some suggestions for combination partners, which together with the summer flowers result in a harmonious ensemble:
1. White geraniums in the “Allure White” balcony box form a puristic ensemble in green and white together with green lily, large evergreen and snowflake flower of the “Abunda Giant White” variety. Perfect for the minimalist balcony.
2. The next flower box presents itself spring-like fresh in bright pink and purple. You can stage geraniums of the “Moonlight Pink” variety together with violet magic bells. Ornamental asparagus and pineapple sage mediate between the strong nuances of the flowers.
3. The combination of geraniums of the “Indian Dunes” variety, colored nettle and morning glory proves to be a beautiful ensemble for late summer. The color palette in red, yellow and brown heralds the coming autumn and offers the perfect transition between the seasons.
4. Full of contrasts striking and creative: This is how the plant mix of geraniums of the “Pinto Pink” and Pentas “Graffiti Pink” varieties can be created. Brandbusch of the “Smart Look Red” variety sets accents in the flower box and decorative asparagus, ivy and verbena fill empty spaces in the flower box and give structure to the arrangement.
5. Plant the balcony box with geraniums and petunias: geraniums and petunias form a particularly charming duo. The two summer flowers are easy to care for and get along very well. The experienced hobby gardeners like to experiment not only with colors, but also with varieties. There are hybrids with very beautiful, full blossoms, with which the flower box can be designed to be particularly attractive and varied.
6. Pink geraniums and verbena go well together. Paired with dragon tree, ivy or large evergreen, they create an exotic-looking ensemble.
Hanging geraniums in the balcony box are a real eye-catcher
In addition to standing geraniums, hanging geraniums can also be effectively staged in the balcony box. There are two variants to choose from: The geraniums are either displayed as soloists or paired with ground cover and low shrubs. Lavender and hanging geraniums are an absolute highlight on the balcony. The combination with triangular milkweed and quiver flowers brings an exotic flair to the balcony garden.
Hibernate geraniums in the window box
Already at the end of summer you should prepare the flower box for the coming autumn. Because geraniums are very sensitive to frost and cannot stay outside at temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius without overwintering. At the beginning of September, you can water the flowers more economically and less often. From the end of August, you no longer need to supply the geraniums with liquid fertilizer. From mid-September, before the first frost, you can bring the geraniums to the winter quarters. An unheated room is ideal for this, where the temperatures do not drop below 10 degrees Celsius. Optionally, you can buy a greenhouse for the balcony and overwinter the geraniums there. In spring you should transplant the perennial flowers into new geranium soil.
If the flower box is not only planted with geraniums, but also with other flowers and plants, then you should take each flower out of the box and store it separately. Carefully remove the potting soil from the roots of the geranium and cut back the shoots. Then you can wrap the plant in packaging paper and store it in a warm place. Regardless of whether you overwinter or cut back the geraniums in the window box: check for pests every two weeks and spray the plant with lukewarm water. Since geraniums are propagated by cuttings, you can save the cut plant parts for propagation.
Geraniums are real all-rounders: the large variety of varieties and colors enables different designs of the flower boxes on the balcony. The blossoms of flowers transform the balcony into a rustic, exotic or modern oasis in the middle of the big city. The absolute classic among summer blooming flowers is extremely easy to care for. The right location, a nutrient-rich soil and regular watering are important prerequisites for the rapid growth of geraniums. The correct planting time for geraniums starts at the end of April. Hobby gardeners traditionally plant geraniums in the balcony box at the beginning of May. The flowers, which originally come from South Africa, have enough time to get used to the weather conditions. Geraniums bloom all summer long and are only wintered in autumn. The plants of several years can be cut back, as well as stored in the flower boxes in a warm and wind-protected place.
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