You can quickly learn how to care for Martha Washington geraniums by learning proper planting, maintenance, and winter caring. These colourful pelargoniums are easy to care for because they are hardy geraniums by nature. However, you will not find them widely in the United Kingdom because of their blooming requirements, such as night temperatures of 50 to 60°F.
The good news is that you can check your hardiness zone and adjust the polytunnel for the Lady or regal geraniums’ conditions. They will thrive in the UK areas rated 5 to 10, but you can always use a heating or cooling system indoors to meet their optimal growing conditions. With proper care and maintenance, you can take pride in having these fancy and unique-looking geraniums.
How To Care For Martha Washington Geraniums For Success
You already have the edge among other gardeners in the UK when you choose to grow Martha Washington geraniums in the greenhouse. The benefit to growing in the greenhouse is because you don’t have to worry about the unpredictable weather, harsh conditions, and fluctuating temperatures that can affect the geraniums’ health. Washington State University also mentioned that these geraniums prefer being indoors because moisture can rot the petals and scorching heat tends to fade the flowers themselves.
So what are the optimal requirements for these geraniums? Martha Washington geraniums, like all plants, will thrive best in a well-draining and fertile soil. You can grow them in beds or containers in the polytunnel with 12 inches of spacing for the former and a requirement of 8 inches in diameter for the pots.
Create a mix of potting soil, peat, and vermiculite, and remember to use a pot with drainage holes. However, it would help if you used a pot without a drainage tray to avoid the mistake of leaving the plants in standing water. As for their light and temperature requirements, choose an area that receives 6 hours of sun daily.
The sunlight will create vigorous plants that will bloom well, but be careful not to let them get damaged by harsh heat. The geraniums also require 50 to 60°F at night to encourage flowering, so those in Iowa tend to get problems in blooming due to their high night temperatures in the summer.
Keeping your plants healthy and encouraging flowering also meant making sure that your geraniums are hydrated and well-fed. For starters, water Martha Washington geraniums throughout the growing season as they prefer moist soil. However, you don’t want to overwater your plants, so check the top 2 inches of their soil and water only when dry.
The geraniums might also require more frequent waterings during the summer months. On the contrary, winter watering is only once every two weeks since they will start to go dormant at this period. What about the feeding requirements of Martha Washington geraniums?
You can feed the plants every two weeks and choose the appropriate fertiliser depending on your favoured outcome. If you want the plant to grow more, then a high nitrogen level should do the trick. On the other hand, liquid fertiliser twice a month in summer should help in blooming and foliage development.
These geraniums’ beauty is that they generally won’t need that much intervention to bloom and grow. Instead, check and trim off spent flower heads when they die to encourage blooming and prevent diseases. When left on the plant, the spent flowers may rot and cause fungal infections that may present themselves as spotted or powdery leaves.
Winter care for Martha Washington geraniums is similar to other flowering plants, which involves mulching with compost. However, you can grow the cuttings you’ve collected in autumn and plant them indoors until spring. If your UK area experiences extreme winter, it will be better to bring the entire geranium plant into the polytunnel and maintain the overwintered plants in a sunny location.
In some cases, it can be challenging to overwinter these geraniums because of the need for cutting back and root pruning before repotting in a smaller pot. Until they grow much more robust, you will have to move the plant in a bigger pot, and you’ll notice new buds are forming. These practices are applicable in counties like Kent.
Rooting stem cuttings
You can make the most out of your geraniums since they root easily from stem cuttings. Trim below the node and remove all the buds, leaving two or three leaves and stipules. Place the cuttings in the shade or wrap each one in the newspaper to prevent rotting before pushing it into a pot with a rooting medium.
Martha Washington or regal geraniums are pretty hardy, but you should still grow them responsibly in the United Kingdom. Responsibly means knowing how to care for Martha Washington geraniums by knowing their ideal growing conditions when planting, maintaining them in feeding and watering, and overwintering them to propagate from cuttings. The following considerations might seem a handful, but they are straightforward to learn.
Like caring for and growing other plants, it will be more convenient for you to use a polytunnel for Martha Washington geraniums. The conditions indoors will always be optimal for the plants, and additionally, you won’t need to move them if the winter proves to be harsh.