Lack of adequate sunlight is the most common cause of geraniums that won’t flower. Overusing fertilizer can also cause geraniums to fail to bloom. Additionally, temperatures below 65℉ (18℃) and poor soil quality make it difficult for geraniums to produce flowers. True geraniums need direct sunlight, moderate fertilizer, warm climates, and moist soil that is not drenched. By providing the ideal conditions for flowering, you can encourage your geraniums to begin blooming again.
Why Are Your Geraniums Not Flowering?
Any variety of geranium will need a few key things to flower: light, warmth, and ideal soil conditions. If any of these are in poor condition, your perennial plant may not bloom. Let’s take a closer look at common geranium problems that can prevent flowering.
Not Enough Direct Light
Hardy geraniums need a sunny spot where they can get 4–6 hours of sunlight per day. Shade—whether it’s partial shade or deep shade—can prevent flowering. All plants need varying amounts of sunlight to photosynthesize and convert energy into nutrients. Geraniums need quite a bit of sun.
- Insufficient sun exposure will prevent your geraniums from blooming.
- Geraniums need full sun (around 6 hours of direct sun every day) to bloom.
- Try to minimize shade for geraniums.
Be sure to plant your hardy geraniums in a sunny spot with little shade. Even a bit of afternoon shade can wind up depriving your geraniums of needed energy. Be sure to clear any overhead foliage that may be shading your geraniums.
Too Much Fertilizer
While most plants enjoy balanced fertilizer, too much of a good thing can be counterproductive. Geraniums that are overfertilized will grow more leaves and fewer flowers. In other words, you’ll have a bushier plant with fewer colorful blooms.
- Overfertilizing geraniums increases leaf growth and reduces flower production.
- Fertilize geraniums once every 2 weeks at most.
- Use this specialized geranium fertilizer to grow healthy plants with plenty of flowers.
It’s best to scale back using fertilizer on geraniums to once every 2 weeks. Additionally, high nitrogen content can soften geranium stems and lead to rot. So be sure to use a fertilizer with a lower nitrogen content to avoid this. A 15-15-15 fertilizer has the perfect nutrient balance for your geraniums.
Needs Warmer Climates
Geraniums need a minimum temperature of 65℉ (18℃) to flower. Cool spring weather or a late frost can wind up stunting or killing your geranium plant. A good way to combat this is to grow indoor geraniums. Hardy geraniums grown indoors will have better temperature protection.
- Geraniums need temperatures to rise to at least 65℉ (18℃) to flower.
- Because geraniums are spring flowers, cool spring temperatures can cause them not to flower.
- Consider growing geraniums indoors to protect them from cold temperatures and encourage spring blooms.
Night temperatures can also be an issue. If nighttime temperatures are still dropping close to freezing in spring, they can prevent geraniums from producing flowers. Consider bringing any potted geraniums indoors if the temperature drops below 45℉ (7℃) at night. This will help encourage your plants to flower.
Poor Soil Conditions
Outdoor geraniums need the right garden soil and water conditions. Moist but well-drained soil is preferred, which requires loose soil. If you have the wrong soil, your geraniums will struggle to grow due to a lack of proper nutrients.
- Geraniums need loose, loamy, slightly acidic soil.
- Moist—but not wet—soil is best for geraniums.
- Overwatered geraniums can develop plant diseases and fail to bloom.
Overwatering easily leads to blooming issues and stunted foliage growth. Fungal disease can also result when you water geraniums too much. This can lead to issues like loss of green leaves, stunted growth, or death. Be sure when watering your geraniums that you give these fragrant flowers just as much as they need and no more.
How to Get Your Geraniums to Flower
The key to getting geranium plants to flower is to introduce ideal growing conditions. First, you have to identify where the problem originated. If you live in cooler climates, then it’s a safe bet that temperature is the issue, for instance. Once the problem is identified, do your best to reverse the issue by providing plenty of light and warmth, along with other ideal conditions.
Increase Sun Exposure
Geraniums require 4–6 hours of direct sunlight per day. They’ll need even more than this if growing in indirect light. This is a substantial amount of sun, so you’ll want to grow your geraniums somewhere with minimal to no shade. Clear out overhead foliage that could block the sun from reaching your geraniums.
- Clear away overhead foliage that shades your geraniums.
- If possible, move geraniums to a sunnier location in your garden.
- Indoor geraniums should be near a south-facing window for maximum sunlight.
If growing geraniums indoors, place the plants near a window that gets lots of sun. South-facing windows are usually considered ideal for sun-loving plants. You can also augment natural light by using some artificial light. This is not a substitute for sunlight but can help mitigate the lack of enough light on cloudy days. Use this LED grow light to help boost your plants’ sunlight intake.
Reduce Fertilizer Use
Do not fertilize geraniums more frequently than once every 2 weeks. If you fertilize too much, you’ll get bushy geraniums with no blooms.
- You only need to fertilize geraniums once every 2 weeks.
- Geraniums grow best when fed infrequently with a balanced fertilizer.
Be sure that you are only using a fertilizer that is intended for geraniums. Other fertilizers may be too high in nitrogen or potassium content which could cause growth issues. A balanced fertilizer, such as one with a 15-15-15, or 10-10-10 nutrient ratio will provide the most benefit to your geraniums.
Warm Up Your Geraniums
Geraniums are not very cold resistant. Cool temperatures can harm this delicate flower. If you live somewhere where spring cold snaps are common, you may not be able to grow geraniums outside. Geraniums exposed to cold spring weather simply won’t flower. Daytime temperatures below 65℉ (18℃) during the day and below 45℉ (7℃) at night are too cold for geraniums.
- Ensure your geraniums grow in temperatures of at least 65℉ (18℃).
- Consider growing your geraniums indoors to protect them from cool temperatures.
Consider growing your geraniums indoors or in a greenhouse. Having an enclosure will prevent cooler temperatures from damaging your geraniums. You’ll get far more blooms from a geranium grown in a consistently warm environment.
Replant in Better Soil
If the above tricks do not encourage your geraniums to bloom, then it’s most likely that your geraniums are growing in poor soil conditions. Poor soil can lead to several issues from lack of nutrients to insufficient drainage. Geraniums can’t tolerate too much wet soil so it’s vital that water drains away from their roots quickly.
- If your geraniums are struggling, consider replanting them in a container with high-quality potting soil.
- The best soils for hardy geraniums are loose, well-draining, loamy, and slightly acidic.
- Make sure that your geraniums have adequate drainage—undrained water can cause health issues.
If growing indoor geraniums, lack of drainage holes can also be an issue. You can purchase a new pot with better drainage or you can add your own drainage holes using a power drill. It’s essential that excess water drains away from geraniums to prevent root rot.
Do Geraniums Flower Every Year?
Geraniums usually grow as an annual plant but they grow as a perennial plant in some regions. In those regions, these zonal geraniums flower every year.
- Geraniums often grow as annuals in many regions but can be grown as perennials.
- Perennial geraniums flower every year.
- A true geranium can live for decades in the right conditions.
Hardy geraniums can live for up to 40 years in ideal circumstances. Your geranium will flower every year it is alive. Be sure to take good care of your geraniums and keep them free of pests and disease for the longest lifespan.
How to Help Geraniums to Bloom
Geraniums need the right conditions to be able to burst into bloom. This means the right soil, the right amount of sunlight, and the right amount of fertilizer. Otherwise, you’ll be left with geraniums that don’t bloom. Here’s what geraniums need to flower:
- Geraniums need 4–6 hours of direct light per day to flower.
- Geraniums will only bloom is daytime temperatures rise to at least 65℉ (18℃) in spring.
- Fertilize geraniums no more than once every 2 weeks to make sure they bloom.
- Loose, well-draining soil is essential for geranium growth.
- If your geranium does not bloom, work to provide the ideal conditions for flowering.
By providing plenty of light and protecting your geraniums from cold weather, you’ll often encourage them to blossom. In no time at all, your hardy geraniums will produce an abundance of clustered flowers.