mmmfloorpie
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Geraniums

I've always bought geraniums for my front flower bed (west side of the house). And I've always noticed that once the first few blooms from the nursery die off, the new ones are never the same. They always grow shorter stems with fewer blooms and they take FOREVER to bloom and it's really uneven. Some of the blooms will be brown and wilted while others on the same stem haven't even bloomed yet.

They get lots of sun and lots of water and fertilizer. I don't get what I've been doing wrong!

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Kisal
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Hmm ... I've grown them for many years and not had problems with them. It's possible that the shorter stems are because they are receiving more intense light than at the nursery where they were grown.

It's normal for a plant to have flowers in different stages of blooming, i.e. there will be some as unopened and partially opened buds; some will be fully opened flowers; and some will be spent and preparing to set seed. The spent floors should be removed, to encourage the formation of new buds, so the plant will be in bloom longer. Of course, you wouldn't remove the spent flowers if you wanted to try to save seed.

Remember that hybrid varieties don't usually produce viable seeds. Flowers that haven't been pollinated also won't produce seeds. If you do get viable seeds from your plants, the flowers will be different than those on the plants you initially purchased, because of cross pollination.

Be careful not to use a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content, because the plant will expend most of it's energy producing leaves, instead of flowers.

Does that information help at all?
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mmmfloorpie
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Kisal wrote:Hmm ... I've grown them for many years and not had problems with them. It's possible that the shorter stems are because they are receiving more intense light than at the nursery where they were grown.

It's normal for a plant to have flowers in different stages of blooming, i.e. there will be some as unopened and partially opened buds; some will be fully opened flowers; and some will be spent and preparing to set seed. The spent floors should be removed, to encourage the formation of new buds, so the plant will be in bloom longer. Of course, you wouldn't remove the spent flowers if you wanted to try to save seed.

Remember that hybrid varieties don't usually produce viable seeds. Flowers that haven't been pollinated also won't produce seeds. If you do get viable seeds from your plants, the flowers will be different than those on the plants you initially purchased, because of cross pollination.

Be careful not to use a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content, because the plant will expend most of it's energy producing leaves, instead of flowers.

Does that information help at all?
Kind of... It does get very intense sunlight in the late afternoon/evening. The house is on the east side of the street with full westerly exposure. My lawn usually dies off around this time of year as a result.

I use the regular miracle gro, not the "ultra bloom" stuff which I think has a lot more nitrogen.

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Kisal
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You want to choose a fertilizer that has a higher middle number. I use Osmocote Slow Release flower fertilizer, so I don't have any idea whether Miracle Gro is really any good or not. I've read negative opinions of it here, so you might want to try something different, just as an experiment. :)

The first number on a fertilizer label is nitrogen, middle number is phosphorous, third number is potassium.
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rainbowgardener
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Agree with everything Kisal said, especially re:

"Some of the blooms will be brown and wilted while others on the same stem haven't even bloomed yet. "

You see the plants in stores covered with flowerheads all blooming at once. That is not natural. They have been forced, by manipulating light cycles, temps, fertilizer etc.

In natural conditions, the plant will put out flowerheads one to a few at a time and then gradually keep producing more. Once the flower is done, you need to clip it off (called deadheading). If you leave the flower on, it will start making seed. Once the plant starts making seed, it quits producing (much) flowers. If you keep deadheading, geraniums will keep blooming endlessly. I have had them bloom all winter on a windowsill.

You do know you can bring them in for the winter and not have to buy them again in the spring?
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applestar
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mmmfloorpie wrote:I use the regular miracle gro, not the "ultra bloom" stuff which I think has a lot more nitrogen.
I wasn't quite clear to me what you said here -- It's the regular MG that has more N(first number). Ultrabloom or whatever sold for better blooming would have higher other numbers.

mmmfloorpie
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applestar wrote:
mmmfloorpie wrote:I use the regular miracle gro, not the "ultra bloom" stuff which I think has a lot more nitrogen.
I wasn't quite clear to me what you said here -- It's the regular MG that has more N(first number). Ultrabloom or whatever sold for better blooming would have higher other numbers.
Yea, I just looked it up. It's the regular miracle gro that has high nitrogen, and the ultrabloom has high phosphorus (P).

I guess I'll have to buy some Ultra Bloom!

mmmfloorpie
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Ok, so... It is now mid summer and my geraniums appear to have stopped creating blooms altogether. I haven't fertilized them much but I did recently "utltra bloom" them.

This happens EVERY summer! I get the nice greenhouse blooms, once those die off, I get some really short stem blooms that all bloom unevenly, then finally I just have a big leafy bush.

lily51
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Are you buying seed geraniums or zonal? Geraniuims grown from seed are prolific bloomers, the plants just don't get as big. Many of mine have 15-20 blooms on at a time. Zonal geraniums, grown vegetatively, seem to be more about the huge plant than the blossoms.

Have you had a lot of rain this summer? That can cause problems with blooms, as they don't like to be soggy.
I do use a fertilizer with Magnesium in it, as geraniums need this nutrient to stay healthy and vigorous.
Best of luck with one of my favorite flowers.

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