Geranium plants are colorful and easy-growing plants and one of the most favorite plants of gardeners. They have a lovely scent and many colors in a bunch. They have beautiful colors in a bunch i.e red, pink, purple, or white.
Geranium plant bunch is 4-5 inches in size. Besides their aesthetic uses, they can be used for many purposes as well as for culinary usage, herbal remedies and for insect repellent, etc. We will see here growing geranium plants in balcony garden.
Types of Geranium Plants
There are 4 famous common types of geranium growing mostly in the world. They are Zonal, ivy leaved, Scented Leaf, Regal geranium.
Zonal geranium is the most commonly grown type with rounded leaves and a large bunch of flowers.
Geranium is one of the most favorite plants used in terrace beautification, balconies. It beautifies your interior too.
The geranium plant life cycle consists of 3-4 months. In India, the month of October is the best growing season for geranium.
The origin of the Geranium plant is South Africa and it was first introduced in the 18th century by Dutch traders in Europe according to botanists it is a perennial plant.
Growing Geranium Plants in Balcony Garden
Now, let us see the steps for Growing Geranium Plants in Balcony Garden.
The color and size of the plant do matter a lot. Buying geranium plants requires more attention to their color and size. Select a healthy plant having no discoloration and a sturdy stem plant. Avoid those plants that have symptoms of pest attack.
Step-1: Geranium plant propagation
Taking a cutting from mother plants is the most reliable and easiest way of propagating geranium plants. Although it can be grown from seed as well, in seed there is a dormancy period required while in propagation from the mother plant it does not need a dormancy period.
Step-2: Geranium plant pot/container
Use a suitable pot having a suitable number of holes for drainage of excess water.
Avoid compact soil. The compaction of soil will not allow the water to drainage. As a result, plants will be more susceptible to sickness. Using clay pots is the best option for growers. Clay pots maintain the moist level almost equal.
However plastic pots should be avoided as they do not maintain the level of water throughout the pot. Plastic pot also is the cause of overwatering to a geranium which is also a sick condition for plant health.
Step-3: Geranium plant Placement
The geranium plant requires 4-6 hours of sunlight for maximum bloom. Place it where plenty of sunshine is available. However; extra care is needed in the rainy season. Place it in a shed when rain occurs; avoid placing them in rain.
Same as that when there is a hot summer season, geranium plants should be shifted to shady areas where they can get a suitable temperature below 45 C.
Step-4: Selecting soil for Geranium Plant
For better growth of plants, it requires a suitable proportion of soil particles. For better growth of geranium 50 % of normal garden soil, 25 % of river sand, and 25 % of compost is recommended. Usage of sand makes water leached and does not make overwatering.
Avoid clay soil, as it causes water to hold at a place. it may harm geranium plants and the plants will die. However, this ratio can be changed according to the climatic condition of an area.
Watering: Watering geranium plants should be done with great concentration. Overwatering is very dangerous for geranium plants. It can kill plants very early.
For watering, you have to do a simple test before watering. Dip your finger in the soil if the 1-inch soil is moist, don’t water it, if it is dry then water it to make it moist.
Or give water if the leaves show any symptoms of dryness. Give water them from their base, instead of pouring over leaves.
What is the sign of over watering?
When the main stem petals appear brown in color and dry then stop the water immediately. It is a sign of overwatering. Overwatering causes fungus diseases of leaves, the leaves appear yellow, and small hair-like white substances appear on the upper surface of the leaves.
To treat this condition, use fungicide and remove the infected leaves. Here it is necessary to mention that the use of fungicides makes geranium plants stem strong and does not allow to rot.
Fertilizer Need to grow geranium plant
Although fertilizer is artificial nutrients, are provided when needed. Fertilizers provide basic nutrients for plant growth and result in healthy growth.
Therefore; balance fertilizer is recommended for the better growth of geranium. NPK 20, 20, 20, fertilizer makes plants leaves healthy. Take, one teaspoon of NPK fertilizer, and dissolve it in 1 liter of water. Pour 200 ml of the dissolved fertilizer into each pot.
A dose of specific fertilizers can be applied after 30 days if needed. Organic and inorganic fertilizers can be used for the better growth of geranium plants.
Use a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer or a 5-10-5 fertilizer with additional organic matter every four to six weeks throughout their active growing season. Another fertilizer can also be used For this purpose. DAP can also be used.
Give a dose of DAP 6 to 10 pods directly on the soil. Also, use 1 teaspoon apsam salt directly in the soil. Mix them in soil and water it.
Temperature: Geranium plants grow well in temperatures ranging between 55-75 F. below or above this temperature can affect the growth of the plants. In hot summer areas where the temperature reaches 110-113 F or 45 C, start shift geranium plants to a shady place.
First Bloom of Geranium
The geranium plant gives its first bloom after 60 -75 days. After 3 and a half months, they are in full bloom. However; It is concluded for their winter season.
Pruning/ Pinching: Pruning of geranium plants makes their bunch bushy. Removal of wilted plants makes them healthy and makes a way for new flowers. This results in an increase in production. By stem cutting, the desired shape can also be obtained.
Diseases: Geranium plants are hard but can still be suitable for many diseases. They can be managed easily. Here are some of the most common diseases of geranium are under.
Bacterial leaf spot in geranium Plant
This disease is caused by the bacteria xhanthomonas pelargonni. This disease especially happens in warm and wet weather when plants catch their full strength in crowded conditions.
The symptoms of the disease included small pinhead-sized leaves with brown color. Some sunken Spots can be seen on lower or older leaves.
These spots grow and become larger covered a large area of the leaf, as a result, leaf die and drop off from the stem.
The infected leaf should be removed immediately. If the plants are affected severally, the whole plant should be removed. However, up till now, there is no chemical treatment available to cure bacterial leaf spots. The grower should follow the above instructions.
Botrytis Leaf Spot in geranium plant
It is caused by a fungus named botrytis cinerea. This disease is also known as botrytis blossom blight. Cool, wet and overwatered condition favors Botrytis Leaf Spot.
Leaf develops brown lesions and a mass of fungal spores. Furthermore, lower leaves become yellow and rot. As a result, petals become discolored, wilt and fall.
Removal of infected leaf and flowers should be done at first sight. However, they can be controlled by chemical way by using specific fungicides.
Pelargonium Rust: In this disease reddish, brown long spots can be seen on the underside leaves accompanied with yellow areas. It is caused by fungus.
Prevention: Remove the infected leaves, and do a spray of fungicide. It is the best way to get rid of these diseases and stay away from your plant from these deadly diseases.
Blackleg in geranium plant
It is a disease of young plants while cutting their stem. As stem cutting is a popular method of propagating mother plants. In this disease, stem start to become brown and finally get a black color resulting in a very quick demise..
Prevention: Once it develops, try to stop it immediately by destroying and separating the infected plants. Use a sterile tool for cutting. Disinfect the tool after using.
Flies and Bugs in Geranium Plant
There are three types of fly attacks on geranium I,e whitefly, greenfly, and sciarid fly. Greenfly and sciarid fly are more harmful than whitefly. Greenfly distorts leaves and spread abruptly.
While sciarid fly is a small black fly that comes with compost. It damages the root of the geranium plant. Sometimes bugs also attack on the geranium plant. It causes damage to plant’s leaves.
Prevention: A light Neem oil spray on the leaves of the geranium plant can protect it from the damage of these bugs.
Moth and Caterpillar on geranium plant
There are some caterpillars that attack their leaves and damage the leaves by doing holes in them. Caterpillar tries to eat geranium plants leaves. Moths chew the leaves.
Prevention: However, this problem can be controlled by using specific types of insecticides. Recommended Varity: Geranium plants have more than 75 varieties throughout the world.
But ivy-shaped geranium (Pelargonium peltatum). They are 10-30 inches in height. They can be grown in March and give flower from May to October. When planting, a 30 cm distance should be maintained.
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