Some varieties of geraniums need full sun while others only require partial sun. Annual geraniums need the most sun—they require 6 hours of sun per day day. However, a perennial geranium (also known as a “true geranium”) will do best if it receives a little less sun. 4–6 hours of sun with some light shade is ideal for true geraniums. So while you can give your geraniums a fairly sunny spot to grow, unless they’re annual geraniums there’s no need to give them the sunniest spot in your garden.
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How Many Hours of Sun Do Geraniums Need?
Perennial geraniums require 4–6 hours per day of sunlight. Meanwhile, a wide range of sun-loving geraniums, especially annual geraniums, need to be planted in full sun.
- Perennial geraniums need 4–6 hours of direct light per day.
- Annual geraniums need at least 6 hours of direct light each day.
If you aren’t sure how to tell the difference between an annual and perennial geranium, consult your local garden center. An annual geranium will live for a single growing season, then die off in winter. A perennial geranium, by contrast, will live for multiple years. It will experience a dormant period in winter, then grow new leaves in spring.
Can Geraniums Grow in Indirect Sunlight?
Geraniums can grow in indirect sunlight but they will require more of it for it to be effective. In direct sunlight, geraniums need 4 to 6 hours of light. If indirect sunlight is the only source, geraniums will need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight.
- Indirect sunlight is fine but geraniums will need to spend more time in it.
- 6–8 hours of indirect sunlight is ideal for most geraniums.
Both types of geraniums—annuals and perennials—will need 6–8 hours of indirect sunlight to grow properly. So if you want to go with indirect light, you’ll have to find a very sunny location for your plant to grow. A south-facing window that gets plenty of sunlight will be best.
Can Geraniums Grow in Shade?
Not only can perennial geraniums grow in shade, but partial shade is also great in the summer months. Afternoon shade in particular is great to ward off heat and prevent drying. Annual geraniums don’t do quite as well in the shade but it still helps them deal with heat.
- Partial shade will stave off heat death for all geranium species.
- Perennial geraniums grow well in partial shade.
- Annual geraniums don’t tolerate shade as well as perennials, but they can still benefit from afternoon shade.
Heat issues are a serious concern with geraniums. Too much heat in the afternoon can lead to dead flowers. Thus, partial shade can be a literal lifesaver for garden geraniums. If you’re worried your annual geraniums can’t deal with partial shade, there are other options. Consider getting your annuals as much morning sun as possible and save the shade for the afternoon. Planting annual geraniums in an east-facing garden is ideal for providing adequate sunlight and protecting them from the afternoon heat.
What Happens if Geraniums Don’t Get Enough Sun?
Lack of sunlight will result in sickly geraniums and may even lead to premature death. Your flower buds will not bloom into that lovely variety of colors without enough sunlight. Geraniums, like all plants, convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis.
- Geraniums will not be able to flower or grow tall without enough light.
- Be sure your geraniums are growing in a bright spot.
Any plant that doesn’t get as much sunlight as it needs will struggle to produce energy to live. And if it can barely live, it won’t have spare energy to flower and reproduce. Healthy plants need to get the recommended amount of afternoon sun to stay healthy.
Can Geraniums Get Too Much Sun?
An overabundance of sunlight can result in problems for your geraniums. Sun-bleached leaves can be a huge problem during the high heat of the late summer months. Bleached leaves are one of the first signs that your geraniums are getting deadly amounts of sun and require more shade.
- Too much sun and heat will bleach your geraniums leaves.
- Bleached leaves cannot absorb sunlight and your plant will die.
- Avoid heat and excess sun by providing partial shade.
When geranium leaves bleach, it means the chlorophyll in the leaves is dying off. Without that chlorophyll, the leaves will not be able to absorb energy from sunlight. This will lead your beautiful geraniums to slowly wither and die.
How Much Sun Do Geraniums Require?
4–6 hours of sunlight per day is the perfect amount of sun for most popular types of geraniums. Annual geraniums may need more, but around 5 hours is a good place to start if you aren’t sure which geraniums you have. Let’s review geranium sunning needs:
- Perennial geraniums need 4–6 hours of direct sunlight per day
- Annual geraniums need at least 6 hours per day
- If you are growing geraniums in indirect sunlight, provide 6–8 hours of sun
- Partial shade is fine for geraniums and preferable in summer
- Too little sun will starve your plant of energy
- Too much sun will bleach the leaves and kill your geraniums
Finding the ideal light conditions for your geraniums may take a little trial and error. Too much or too little sun are equally bad problems. However, by placing geraniums in areas that receive morning sun and afternoon shade, you’ll have the best results.