Geranium leaves turning red may look pretty, but you should immediately find out why this is happening as your plant may be stressed. There are so many reasons why geranium leaves can turn red, so you need to carefully examine your plant to make sure that it is not in danger.

Geranium Leaves Turning Red

Continue reading to discover the signs and symptoms of sick geraniums and how you can help them thrive again.

Why Are My Geranium Leaves Turning Red?

Your geranium plants may look prettier when their leaves turn red, but red leaves can be a cause for concern as they indicate a stressed plant. There are so many reasons why geranium leaves can turn red, and here are the most common ones:

– Fluctuating Temperatures

The most common problem your geranium plants face that will give them red leaves is low temperatures. Geranium leaves mostly turn red in early spring or fall. As a heat-loving plant, a geranium can become shocked when the temperature starts to fluctuate or when it gets cold at night.

Geraniums do not like cool temperatures as they are better suited for USDA hardiness zones 10-11. You should take your plants indoors when it is getting cold and wait until the soil temperature warms up in spring before you plant your geranium outside again.

– Watering Problems

Geranium leaves can also become red when you do not water the plant as you should. If you overwater your geranium, the leaves can become red. The same symptom can occur if you underwater the plant, but most of the leaves will also become brown and wither away.

You should water your geranium as soon as the soil or potting mix becomes dry. Do not give them too much water or too little.

– Nutrient Deficiency

The deficiency of nutrients in geraniums can lead to some leaves turning red, but it depends on what nutrients are lacking. When your plants are lacking in magnesium, nitrogen or phosphorus, they can lose their green coloration and their leaves will become red, yellow or brown.

If your geranium leaves are becoming red because of nutrient deficiency, you should administer an inorganic water-soluble fertilizer to the leaves of the plant. Spray foliar fertilizer on your geranium leaves every two days for two weeks until the leaves become green and fresh again.

– Acidic pH

Unsuitable soil pH is another factor to consider when your geranium turns red. Geraniums prefer a soil pH of around 6.5. Some gardeners mistakenly make the soil acidic instead of just slightly acidic. If the pH of your soil falls lower than 5.8, the leaves of your geranium will become red, signifying stress.

You should test the soil you are using for pH. If the pH is lower or higher than what is needed by the plant, use either baking soda, vinegar or a pH booster product to correct the pH.

Why is My Geranium Going RedWhy is My Geranium Going RedWhy is My Geranium Going RedWhy is My Geranium Going RedWhy is My Geranium Going RedWhy is My Geranium Going RedWhy is My Geranium Going RedWhy is My Geranium Going Red

– Transplant Shock

Not transplanting your geranium carefully can also make their leaves turn red. When transplanting your geranium to overwinter or in early spring, do not damage the roots. Also, make sure that the temperature is relatively stable as fluctuating temperatures can cause red leaves.

You should also wait a day or two after transplanting before watering your geranium. Make sure that you do not water your plants with cold water.

– Fungal Disease

A fungi species called Puccinia pelargonii-zonalis can give the leaves of your geranium some red or brown lesions and rings. The underside of the leaves will also become powdery red. While the entire leaf does not become red, it can look fully red from a distance.

You can cure your geranium plants with fungicides if they develop fungi.

– Other Causes of Plant Stress

Always remember that geraniums can become red when they are stressed. This means that if you see red leaves, you should diagnose the plant and make sure that you are caring for it properly.

How can you care for your geranium so that you do not stress it out? Continue reading to find out.

How to Properly Grow and Care For Your Geranium

Here are some useful geranium care tips for growing geranium plants:

– Light and Humidity

For maximum bloom, you should place the geranium plants where they can get 4-6 hours of direct sunlight every day. Geranium plants love a lot of sunlight and they can become yellow or pale when there is not enough light.

Geraniums also love humidity, so you should water your plants by misting them regularly. For indoor plants, you can install a humidifier so that you do not have to mist the plants often.

– Temperature

Geranium is a heat-loving plant suitable for USDA hardiness zones 10-11. If you grow the plant in cooler regions, it can become an annual. You should bring your geranium plants indoors during late summer or early fall when the temperature drops to lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

You should wait until the soil becomes 60 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer before you plant your geraniums outside.

– Water

Remember that watering problems can stress your geranium plants. You should occasionally dip a finger or moisture reader into the soil to check. If the soil is dry, water your geranium thoroughly. You should water your plants every 3-5 days according to the temperature and location it is in.

Water your geranium leaves by misting them every day or two to keep the leaves and flowers looking fresh.

– Nutrient

Geranium plants are not heavy feeders, so you should only feed them with half-strength fertilizer. You can use any flower fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 5-15-15 or 4-10-10. Fertilize your geraniums weekly with flower fertilizer before it blooms during the late spring or summer months.

To maintain the multicolor, pink, purple, red or white flowers of your geranium, make sure that it is not lacking in nutrients.

Ways to Save Geranium Leaves

– Pruning Your Geranium

You should pinch the stems of your geranium to promote bushiness. To encourage a longer bloom time, remove spent flowers. Prune your geranium foliage every month to encourage new growth.

If the red leaves are dying, you should remove them immediately. You can, however, leave the red leaves in autumn for a beautiful look as many plants have red leaves during that time. If you will overwinter your geranium, remove the red leaves before you bring them indoors.

– Repotting

If your geranium looks frail, it is time to repot it. You should repot the plants in spring when their potting mix or soil is no longer suitable to hold them.

The geranium potting mix should be well-draining, properly aerated, and able to hold moisture. If the media cannot hold moisture or does not permit water drainage, you should repot the plant into a new pot and potting mix.

Remember that when repotting your geranium, you should be careful with the roots as transplanting geranium usually stresses the plant and causes other geranium leaf problems.


How To Propagate Geranium Plants

You can easily propagate your geranium plants using their seeds or cuttings. After successful pollination, geranium plants will produce seeds. Allow the fruit to become overripe before you collect these seeds, and you should wait until late winter (two weeks before the last frost date) before you start the seeds indoors.

If you cannot overwinter your plants or your plants are dying because of the cold, you should collect some stem cuttings and keep them in a dry and dark place. Plant the stem cuttings when it is spring and water them by misting until you see signs of growth.

Make sure that each stem cutting is at least 6 inches tall.

More Issues to Watch Out for When Growing Geraniums

Aside from your geranium leaves turning red, there are other issues that you can face when growing geranium plants. Some examples are:

– Pests

Pests such as mealybugs, whiteflies, spider mites, snails, etc. can disturb your geraniums even if they are indoor plants. You should repel these geranium pests with pesticides. If you see an unwanted bug near your geranium, you should pick it and kill it immediately.

You can also spray your geranium with soapy water to repel pests.

– Toxic Plants

Remember that geranium leaves can lead to constipation and are toxic to small pets and children. You should not allow your children, cats and dogs to eat the leaves of your geranium plants. Geranium plants are not edible.

– Root Rot

Overwatering is a major issue for geraniums, and while it can make your plant leaves turn red, a more serious issue it can cause is root rot. Root rot is the rotting of your geranium plant from the roots as they die due to overwatering.

You should repot your geranium plants when the potting soil cannot drain water quick enough. Also, remember to remove dead roots and leaves from the plant so they will not decay while attached to the plant, causing root rot.

Care for Geranium Plants


Should I remove red leaves from Geraniums?

Removing red leaves from Geraniums helps maintain plant health and aesthetics. Prune affected leaves carefully to promote growth.

Are red Geraniums a result of leaf rust?

No, red Geraniums are not necessarily a result of leaf rust. Consider other factors like sunlight, soil conditions, and genetics.

Do red leaves on Geraniums mean too much water?

Red leaves on Geraniums can indicate overwatering. Check soil moisture levels and adjust watering accordingly for healthier plants.


Remember that red geranium leaves do not signify beauty, instead, they are a sign of the plant being stressed. You should take note of the following important points:

  • The most common cause of red leaves in geraniums is cold temperature. Geranium is a heat-loving plant best grown in USDA hardiness zones 10-11.
  • Other causes of red leaves in geraniums include watering problems, acidic soil, disease and transplant shock.
  • You do not have to remove the red leaves of your geranium if you do not want to, but you should remove them if you are overwintering the plant.
  • Do not leave red leaves in your geranium if they are caused by nutrient deficiency. You should cure the plant by spraying winter fertilizer.
  • For a bushy look and faster growth, you should pinch the stem of your plant regularly.

Geranium leaves turn red because of stress, so you need to be attentive to your plant and make sure that you are caring for your plants properly. Remember the care requirements of geraniums listed in this guide, and you’ll have happy plants in your care.

5/5 - (20 votes)