Prune geraniums

Prune geraniums

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Geraniums cure

Plant much appreciated for the beauty of its flowers and the consequent ability to embellish the balconies with classic vases: a particularly widespread fashion in central Europe, the geranium is native to southern Africa.
In addition to the common type of geranium, which has hairy leaves, geranium ivy (with its typical hanging stems), the butterfly-like geranium, with its beautiful flowers, and the fragrant geranium (with aromatic leaves) exist in nature.
Many possible colors of flowers, the result of numerous selections: they can be white, pink, fuchsia, red and even orange.
The success achieved by the notable diffusion of geranium is motivated by its cheapness (it reproduces itself by cutting, a procedure truly within everyone's reach) and by its ability to adapt to certain climates.
If it keeps well in sunny areas, it must be said that it can survive even in partial shade. Watering operations must be constant, without excesses that could be harmful.
This plant must be watered three times a week, but in summer the feeding of water-nourishment must be intensified and carried out every day, being careful not to wet the leaves, especially if the geranium is placed in a particularly sunny area of ​​the house or of the garden.
Warning: pouring too much water, especially in summer, can cause the geranium to rot. In the art of gardening, just as in life, it is a good rule to always avoid exaggerating.

Normal cleaning, interventions before and after winter

From April to October the geranium does not require, under normal conditions, drastic interventions. To encourage the production of new flower stems it is important to dedicate a few minutes to cleaning every day. The bunches must be removed at the base as soon as most of the individual flowers will be withered or damaged by heat or rain. At the same time we eliminate the yellowed or ruined leaves.
When the cold season arrives, especially in the North, we will have to be more determined. Before placing the jars in the shelter, it is good to cut a few cm from the base: we will avoid the onset of rot. At the end of February we will have to put on the scissors again to eliminate at the base the stems possibly produced in winter: they are usually weak, yarns of a pale green (if not white) and of no use for the future development of the plant.

The dangers of heat

There are numerous other cases in which a more drastic pruning may become necessary. It is a recurring situation in the height of summer: high temperatures are a source of strong stress: the leaves will appear yellow or light green and the base of the stem will begin to dry, emptying. This circumstance occurs more easily in the city or along the coasts and in ivy geraniums (because their weight is very heavy on the base).
Although drastic interventions rarely like them, the best thing is to stimulate the plant to renew itself from the base by eliminating all the flower stems and most of the leaves, leaving a maximum length of 20 cm. If we follow appropriate waterings and fertilizations in a short time, our sacrifice will be rewarded by thick vessels and abundant blooms until the end of autumn.

Pruning in the case of licenide of geraniums

In recent years the cultivation of geraniums has become difficult due to the proliferation of the licenide of geraniums (Cacyreus marshalli) which has arrived in our country from Africa and favored by climate change. To reproduce it lays its eggs on bunches of flowers. The larva will then make its way into the stems bringing the entire plant to decay.
The fight with contact insecticides has little effect and we suggest, from rising temperatures, to turn to systemic products (tablets) to be inserted into the soil. However, complete efficacy is not guaranteed: as soon as we notice the presence of the host (the first signs are a strong yellowing of the leaves and a widespread drying) we cut the stem leaving only a few buds from the base, but let's make sure that at that point the tissues result unscathed.

Intervention in case of red spider mite

Another very common parasite is the red spider mite. It is a very small mite whose reproduction is favored by high temperatures and low environmental humidity. In a few days a plant can debilitate to the point of bringing it to death. It is therefore very important, from June to mid-September, to regularly monitor the back of the leaves.
As soon as we notice its presence we spray a specific, translaminar and effective product on all the development phases. The struggle is however very difficult and in case the red dots were already many it is good to eliminate at the base the most affected leaves, to limit the spread to the maximum. If the cleaning is to be drastic a good recovery can be favored by an afternoon shade and by nebulisations of water during the hottest hours.

Prune geraniums

To proceed in the best way in pruning geraniums, we must start from the assumption that the plant is not an object, but a living organism, which has its biological equilibrium to be respected. We must therefore act carefully in pruning geraniums, without the superficiality that in gardening can cause considerable damage.
Let's start by saying that sometimes the classic jerk is healthy. But prune geraniums serves to eliminate all the dangerous elements for the plant, which form over it with the passage of time, as impediments to the natural growth of some branches or obstacles to the freedom of action of the rays of the sun, with their beneficial nourishment.
Generally the operations for prune geraniums they are performed in two distinct moments of the year and precisely:
a) in spring, that is to the normal resumption of the vegetative activity, with the typical removal of dried flowers which inhibit the growth of new flowers;
b) at the beginning of winter, with the cleaning of the branches.
A well kept pot and a well-pruned and water-supplied plant are the best prerequisites for preserve the geranium from the action of its many enemies: the caterpillars of Cacyreus marshalli, the larvae of Mamestra brassicae and Pyrausta nubilalis, the Grillotalpa, mites, aphids and cotonose cotonose, up to the deadly gray Mold (deriving from Botrix cinerea) which can lead to the death of the geranium. The blackening of the plant may also have bacterial causes, due to Xanthomonas.

What to do after pruning geraniums

If we have carried out the daily cleaning, no particular precautions are required, if not to continue with the normal irrigations and periodic fertilizations with a good product with a high potassium content.
In the case of drastic pruning (summer, due to pest attacks or at the end of winter) it is advisable to distribute a more balanced fertilizer, where, however, the nitrogen is slightly prevalent. As soon as the plant has regained vigor we return to the usual formulation.

Tools for pruning geraniums

Obviously the choice of the most suitable tools is a very important moment for those who have chosen to deal with gardening.
Also in the case of pruning of geraniums we must avoid using inadequate objects, which risk causing real wounds to the plant, compromising its state of health. In this specific case you have to get garden shears and shears.
It is advisable to clean these tools well before using them, to avoid the risk of transmitting geranium infections.
The shears should only be used to prune the largest branches.
The scissors, on the other hand, will be preferred when cutting smaller branches and leaves.
It is important to understand that using garden shears on branches that are too strong and therefore resistant to shearing causes only serious damage to the branch itself and suffering to the geranium plant which can cause serious consequences. And it is precisely for this reason that the use of shears is required, capable of cutting the largest and strongest branches in one fell swoop.
The imposed cuts must be slanted, also because they are easier to perform, especially for people, even older ones, who do not have much strength in their hands.
Only in the case of odorous geraniums it is possible to proceed with more drastic pruning, because the characteristics of this species allow it.

The therapeutic virtues of geranium

Perhaps not everyone knows that this plant has some important beneficial properties for our nervous system. Geranium is in fact commonly used in the field of aromatherapy, as an agent not only antidepressant, but also anti-inflammatory.
It is also used for the treatment of blisters, arthritis and even neuralgia.
However, it is advisable to consult an expert in the field, because in this area of ​​use "do-it-yourself" is dangerous for our health and therefore it is necessary to rely on those who know in depth the pros and cons of certain applications or administrations to therapeutic purpose.

Tools for pruning geraniums

Regular maintenance of geraniums does not require specific equipment. It is ideal to use a straight blade flower shears and possibly (for the most precise ones) a thin finishing shear. The important thing is that these instruments are always well sharpened and are disinfected (with flame or bleach), when passing from one plant to another. A clean cut allows us to avoid the onset of rot and promotes fast healing. Perfect hygiene prevents the spread of any pathologies.
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