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Bring in pelargoniums for the winter

Lisa Garden on 24-10-2014

Bring in pelargoniums for the winter and you can keep them going through into next year - a great way of saving your favourites, whether it's a particularly good scarlet, or some choice scented-leaf geraniums like 'Attar of Roses' with their dainty flowers and powerfully perfumed foliage.

Dig plants up carefully and cut back tall, leggy shoots by about half. Trim off dead flowers and any damaged growth and pull away dead leaves. Shake off surplus soil, then pot up into a snug-fitting pot - a handful of sand in the compost keeps drainage sharp and stops your plants from rotting.

You'll need somewhere frost-free to keep them through the coldest months: a greenhouse heated to just above freezing is ideal, but you can also bring them indoors where they make pretty houseplants, continuing to flower occasionally on sunny windowsills.

Check them regularly through the winter, removing dying stems or yellowing foliage promptly to avoid botrytis setting in. Water very sparingly, only once the plant feels really dry - this could be as little as once a month. In spring, when the weather warms up a bit, water more frequently, adding some weak liquid feed too to kick-start the plants back into growth ready for the new season.