White perennial geranium flowers are popular in flower beds and as accents for landscaping.
Geraniums can grow in many types of climates and are an ideal choice for gardeners looking for an attractive flowering plant that is resistant to deer and foraging animals.
This guide will discuss the ways to grow strong and healthy white geraniums in your garden.
How to Take Care of White Geraniums
Most plants have specific environmental needs to grow strong and healthy. Once you know the conditions for growing beautiful white geranium perennials, you can pick a great location where your plants will succeed.
Several varieties of geranium produce white flowers. Geraniums are perennial flowers, so once they are established, they will grow back each year.
White geraniums are low growing plants, rarely getting taller than 15 inches. The plants are typically used for ground cover in landscaping beds. Flowers appear in early summer and can bloom throughout the season. The flowers are typically star-shaped and grow in showy clusters.
Geranium vs. Pelargonium
It might surprise you to learn that most of the plants we call geraniums are not geraniums at all, but pelargonium. Both the geraniums and pelargoniums belong to the same family, but the plants do have some differences and similarities.
The key feature that sets geraniums apart is the flowers; five, even-lobed petals. Pelargoniums also have five petals, but the top two are shaped differently from the bottom three. Some Pelargonium varieties have “double” petals. Both plants have similar seeds, growing characteristics, and soil condition requirements.
Geraniums prefer to grow in well-draining soil that retains moisture. In many climates, they are drought resistant and can tolerate almost any type of soil. A mixture of potting soil, perlite, and peat moss. White geranium varieties benefit from periodic fertilizing with a 5-10-5 fertilizer.
Geraniums are adaptable to many types of growing environments but do not grow well in full shade areas. The white geranium plant prefers at least six hours of sunlight daily.
Geraniums will survive even in hot, humid weather and will grow in full sun to part shade. Geraniums make excellent container plants and are frequently grown in hanging baskets.
Growing White Geraniums as Houseplants
There are hundreds of varieties of geraniums, many of which make excellent houseplants. The small size, rapid growth, and ease of care make them ideal for container plants indoors when provided with enough sun.
Grow white geranium plants indoors where they get at least six hours of sunlight each day and temperatures remain below 75 degrees and above 50 degrees for best success.
Growing White Geraniums Outdoors
The white geranium is popular with landscapers for several reasons; it exhibits quick growth, produces big bunches of flowers, and tolerates a wide variety of conditions once established.
Geraniums are often used along borders and walkways for decoration and to repel deer which will not eat the plant. Geraniums are listed as a poisonous plant by the ASPCA to pets including dogs and cats.
White geranium plants are considered winter-hardy through zones nine to 12. With some winter protection, white geraniums can be grown in zones as cool as seven. This wide growing range is one of the reasons geraniums are popular plants in many gardens.
Geraniums can be grown as annuals in cold climates by propagating plants before winter and replanting them in spring.
White Geranium Propagation
There are several ways to grow geraniums. In most growing zones, geraniums will readily self-seed. Geraniums grow from a rhizome with dense roots. The rhizome can be dug up and planted to propagate for easy growing. There are other methods of reproducing geraniums at home.
White Geranium Seeds
Geraniums readily self-seed in many container beds. The seeds of most varieties are expelled when ripe from curved parts of the flower.
Harvesting white geranium seeds from established geraniums are all about timing. Too soon and the seeds won’t germinate, too late and the seeds are gone. Geraniums are easy to grow from seed. White varieties tend to have colored flowers in second generations.
Seeds should be started indoors eight to 10 weeks before the last frost. Seeds can take up to two weeks to germinate and prefer to be kept around 70 degrees F.
Scarifying seeds can speed up germination. It’s essential that seedlings are acclimated slowly to outdoor conditions before planting to prevent stunted growth, weak plants, and death.
White Geranium Rhizomes
A popular way to propagate white geraniums is through division. In the spring when an established plant is rapidly growing, remove some of the rhizome and root from the existing plant. The rhizome will continue to grow, eventually creating new plants.
Rhizome propagation allows the gardener to quickly and efficiently get hardy white geraniums growing. Rhizomes can also be stored over-winter in cold climates where geraniums can’t survive the cold weather. Reproducing from rhizomes is often the fastest way to get more plants.
White Geranium Cuttings
A traditional way of propagating geraniums is through cuttings. To make a healthy cutting, use a sharp, sterile knife and remove four to six inches of the leaf stem just below a leaf node from a fresh-growing part of the plant. Remove the leaf above the cut and any others so you are left with two or three healthy leaves. Also remove flowers, buds, and flower stems.
Dip the cutting in rooting hormone and place in a small cup of potting soil covering any areas where leaves were removed. Water the pots, then use the mist to prevent the soil from drying all the way out.
The Difference between Seeds, Cuttings, and Rhizomes
The majority of young white geranium plants are created through cuttings and rhizome propagation rather than seed. The primary reason for this is to ensure genetic quality.
Cuttings and rhizomes taken from healthy plants will produce a copy -or clone- of the original plant. Seed reproduction introduces the potential for unknown genetics, a typically results in plants that do not have the same leaf structure, flower color, or growth characteristic.
Pests and Disease Affecting White Geranium Plants
When a geranium plant starts to show signs of poor health, the gardener must take action. Almost all problems geranium plants have can be easily corrected, but left alone may kill the plant. In order to treat the plant, gardeners must know the cause of the problem.
– Geranium Flowers Dying
The most common reason for geranium plants to drop flowers is stress. Stress can happen due to inconsistent watering, damage from insects, and infections. Poor soil conditions, while generally not a significant issue for geraniums, can also contribute to plant stress.
Wide variations in temperature, high humidity, and freezing conditions will stress geraniums and cause flowers to die as the plant focuses energy on root and leaf growth.
– Diseases Common to Geraniums
Geraniums are known to be healthy plants with few inherent pests and disease problems. The most common ailment gardeners encounter when growing geraniums is root rot. Geraniums do not tolerate overly wet soil and will quickly develop fungus on the roots that can kill the entire plant.
Geraniums can be susceptible to bacterial leaf spotting. This appears as dark spots on one leaf. As the infection progresses, the leaf will die and other leaves will wilt and turn yellow. Once the infection has taken hold at the stem, the plant may die.
– Common Insects
The most common insects to affect white geraniums are aphids, cabbage loopers, and cankerworms according to Iowa State University, Horticulture Department. Other insects can include slugs and scale. Insects are easily controlled with pesticides available at home gardening centers.
– Companion Planting with Geraniums
Many geranium species are particularly effective at repelling insects. This makes them an ideal companion plant to help protect less-resistant species.
Geraniums have proven effective at culling Japanese Beetle populations. The beetles feed on the lower leaves of geraniums, which puts them into a narcoleptic state and allows natural predators an excellent opportunity to feed.
Geraniums can be planted around other ornamental plants that suffer from Japanese Beetles to help the gardener prevent infestations. Many types of birds and spiders feed on Japanese Beetles.
Geraniums and roses are frequently plants together because of the effective pest control offered by the geranium. The showy flowers of the geranium can also enhance the beauty of blossoming roses.
– Using White Geraniums to Repel Animals
Geraniums are poisonous to most animals and are particularly avoided by deer. A well-planned garden can often use white geranium plants to prevent deer from eating other desirables. Many of the scented-leaf varieties of geranium are excellent for repelling insects, including ticks and mosquitos. Geraniums can also be useful for repelling rabbits, squirrels, and mice.
Types of White Geraniums
This variety is a true geranium that originates from the mountains of Kashmir. As such, it does not do well in high heat and humidity, preferring a cooler climate. The plant readily self-seeds, but offspring rarely retain a white flower. It is best to propagate Kashmir White Geraniums through cuttings of leaf or rhizome. Kashmir White geraniums can successfully be grown in USDA zones 5-7, making them one of the most cold-tolerant of the species.
A common Pelargonium species is the Americana White Geranium. This type tends to grow bushy clusters of bright white flowers and is often referred to simply as White Geranium. This is a zonal-type of geranium which indicates the leaves will have two colors or zones. It is among the most popular of the geraniums to plant in areas where attracting bees and butterflies is desirable. The Americana White geraniums as houseplants do fantastic in container baskets.
The many different types of geraniums provide gardeners with options for adding mid-summer splashes of color. White geranium variations are hardy plants that grow well in most types of soil as long as there is adequate drainage.
The plants are known to repel certain pests and insects and are beneficial to flower gardens as bees and butterflies are attracted to the blossoms.
Outdoors, geraniums make excellent flower beds and container plants. When grown in temperate zones in the ground outdoors, geraniums can grow quite large, but rarely get above two feet tall. Many varieties, including popular white geranium types, can be grown from seed, but more consistent results come from cuttings.
White geraniums make very good houseplants. They grow well in sunny windows, either in a pot or a hanging basket. Gardeners growing white geraniums inside can often get two or three flowerings out of a single season, even in colder climates.
Whether planted to beautify and protect roses or as a showy standout in a garden bed, white geraniums are attractive and desirable flowers most gardeners can have success growing.
- Several types of geranium plants produce white flowers.
- Geraniums require well-draining soil and at least 6 hours of sun daily.
- Geraniums can be grown from seeds or cuttings.
- Geraniums have few problems with diseases and pests.
- Geraniums make excellent companion plants to repel insects and deer.
- White geraniums are popular landscaping and container plants that are readily available at gardening centers and nurseries.
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