Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine
Geraniums for gardeners with deeper pockets
It’s time to order geranium seeds, which like cooler temperatures, ready to sow from December to March.
I read that advice this week and thought: why do people continue to try to grow geraniums from seed when the modern – and often cheapest way – is to wait until early spring and then pop down to the garden centre to buy plant plugs?
These perfectly-formed little geraniums just need tending until the threat of frost has passed and they can go outside, into the soil or containers.
And then, come autumn, dig up the healthiest, repot them and bring them indoors somewhere light and frost-free. You should see them flowering again before next spring when they can be trimmed and tidied and prepared to go outdoors yet again.
And yet... the lure of sowing from seed never dies. One of the main reasons is that there are far more varieties available than what’s on offer as plugs, but seed is expensive, so gardeners need to make sure they get it right first time.
Some aficionados sow geranium seed on New Year’s Day, although it is far more common to wait until the end of February. You want every single one to germinate, so you need to have somewhere where you can keep a constant temperature of at least 65F – either a centrally-heated room or a propagator or heated greenhouse.
Sow the seeds into a pot or tray filled with proprietary compost, then water, and either cover each pot with clingfilm or stick them in that propagator.
Allow two to three weeks for the first green shoots to appear, then take off the film. When the first set of leaves have developed, repot each tiny geranium into its own 3in container filled with compost.
From then on, it’s a case of giving them plenty of light (but not hot sunlight), watering them and potting them on as their roots expand until the threat of frost has passed.