Wondering where to plant your new geraniums? Do they need full sun, or maybe a shady area? One of the biggest problems a gardener faces is where to place new plants, in terms of exposure to just enough sunlight - but not too much. When it comes to your new geraniums, we did the research and have an answer for you.
Geranium plants should receive around four to six hours of direct sunlight every day, and more if the light is filtered. However, they can survive in less sunny conditions.
Before you head outside to plant your seeds, there are a few more things we need to discuss. Read on for a more in-depth explanation, and to discover the types of geraniums that do best in shade.
Why Do Geraniums need Sun?
When starting to care for a new species for the first time, it can be difficult to know what kind of conditions they like, especially in regards to sunlight. The amount of sunlight plants get can largely impact how they grow, and whether or not they flower. This is true whether you're planting creeping geraniums in the far side of your property, or just creating a spot of color by planting geraniums in hanging baskets on your porch.
First off, it is important to understand why geraniums need as much sunlight as they do, and what response they might have to less or more indirect sunlight. Like all plants, geraniums need sunlight to perform photosynthesis and produce the energy they need to grow. Geraniums require more energy, especially to create blooms, they love sunlight.
If your geraniums aren’t blooming, it may be due to a lack of sunlight. If geraniums are faced with a situation where they aren’t receiving enough sunlight, they’re not going to have the energy to put towards creating their beautiful blooms, or at least they won’t be able to create very many of them. So in direct sunlight make sure they are receiving around four to six hours, and in indirect sunlight, they should be receiving around six to eight hours. If you are still having trouble with blooming, but the plant seems vibrant and lush, you may be fertilizing it too much.
It is important to note that during the winter, you won’t be able to give your plants as much sunlight, and may even have to take them inside if the conditions are too cold, so don’t worry if they’re not blooming around this time. Geraniums are hardy plants, and they will beautify your landscape once again when you put them outside in the spring.
Of course, if you are one of those lucky enough to live in the coastal or tropical south, this may not even be a problem! In the right conditions, geraniums behave like perennials (meaning they bloom all year long) instead of annuals (meaning they have a blooming season once per year).
Use a Grow Lamp
If you want to keep your geraniums blooming all year long, but your weather doesn’t exactly provide the right conditions for it, you can create those in your own home. Make sure to bring your geraniums inside when the weather gets too cold, and keep them in a spot where the temperature is well-regulated. To make up for lack of sunlight, you can buy an LED plant-growing lamp, like this one from Amazon -
These lamps provide the type of light that your plant needs without having to rely on the sun. They are quite inexpensive, starting at around twenty dollars, and some come with apps so you can set them on a timer.
Though these may seem a bit unsightly, you can set them to provide light during the night, and then proudly display your beautiful blooms during the day.
Do not fret if your garden does not have an optimal place for these sun-loving flowers though, there are quite a few varieties that do well in shade.
Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’ (Cranesbill) is one of the varieties that can do well in almost all levels of sun. Only plant this variety in full sun if you experience cooler summers, as it does not do well in too much heat. It does wonderful in beds, or as a groundcover. The leaves grow in full and thick, and the flowers come in a beautiful reddish-purple color. As the fall months start, the leaves gain a purple tint, bringing new interest to your garden. If you’re looking for a beautiful plant to grow beneath a large tree, this variety of geraniums would be an optimal pick.
Another option, geranium phaeum ‘Lily Lovell’ (Cranesbill) actually prefers the shade. This variety does best in partial shade, and can also make do in almost full shade, making it another good pick if you’re short on sunny spots. These flowers come in a beautiful deep purple color, with a white center. One important thing to note though is that this geranium variety does not take kindly to heat or humidity, so if you live in an area that experiences quite a bit of either during the summer, this may not be the best choice for you.
Geranium phaeum var. phaeum ‘Samobor’ (Dusky Cranesbill) is one more of the varieties that do well in shade. While this geranium can take full sun, it actually prefers to be grown in partial shade. These geraniums grow quite tall and take on a lovely deep maroon-purple color. Their leaves are soft and green, with a splash of chocolate color at the base, making them a striking addition to your garden. Because of their height, they may require some support, so keep that in mind.
Loving the purple? If sun and shade needs aren't the only criteria, then check out these colorful varieties of pink geranium too!
Choose the Variety that is Right for You
As you leave this post, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Most geraniums (especially the common varieties you will find in most stores) do best with at least four to six hours of sunlight, possibly more. A good way to tell if your geranium plants are getting enough sun is how much they are blooming, as without enough sun they are unlikely to bloom. However, there are a few varieties of geraniums that do well in shade, and most can tolerate it for a bit in the winter, though they will not look as beautiful as you might wish.
For even more information, check out our detailed guide on how to grow geraniums.
Good luck with your geranium journey, and may you find the plant that works best for you. Still not sure where to find that specific variety of geranium? Try our list of top 40 online stores for geranium seeds and plants.