By Lee Dobbins
The geranium has long been a favorite plant for both garden beds and containers. This common geranium is actually a member of the genus Pelargonium while the wild geranium is a member of the genus Geranium. Both look great in gardens! Both the wild and common geraniums are suited for outdoor living, but the Regal or Martha Washington geranium is best kept in containers indoors.
Geraniums can be grown in planters on the porch, patio or garden. The ivy type geraniums are great for hanging baskets and window boxes. Make sure you use a container that is big enough for the plant or it will wilt (you may need to replant to prevent wilting as the plant grows). Use a soil that has enough aeration - either a commercial made mix or garden soil mixed with peat moss or perlite. Plant in a spot that is protected from strong wind and gets 6 hours sun a day. Make sure you water it frequently but do not let it sit in water.
The Regal or Martha Washington geranium is not suited for outdoor use but perfect for the indoors! Put your plant in a sunny window for best results. Perfect temperatures for your indoor geranium are mid 60's during day time hours and mid 50's at night. Fertilize once a month in spring and summer and every 2 months in fall and winter. Water weekly and use a container that has good drainage.
Some pests you might find making a meal of our geraniums
Most of these can be controlled with sprays, the aphids can be controlled with ladybugs and the slugs can be captured in a shallow dish of beer. Also, watch for subterranean termites that tunnel through the stems of your plant causing it to turn yellow and die. If you suspect these, treat the soil with special treatment.
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