Florida Geraniums Planted in Wrong Months Finally Speak Up

Florida geraniums
These Florida geraniums are the darlings of fall & winter landscapes.

Florida geraniums weary of being planted in summer asked ArtisTree Landscape to explain why, especially now that October is here. Here is their letter printed in its entirety.

Dear Florida Homeowners,

If you’ve relocated to Southwest Florida from the Northeast and wish to plant us geraniums in the summer, we have one word to say.

Don’t.

Just because you associate us with the arrival of Memorial Day in Ohio or Michigan doesn’t mean you can do the same down here. In Sarasota we’re known as fall and winter flowers, OK? We also look quite spectacular when you plant us in March.

But plant us in late May or summer, and we won’t be besties anymore. You won’t like us because we’ll start shriveling up. And we won’t like you because it’s like, “What were you thinking?”

Here’s the thing. The hairs on our fuzzy leaves trap water and infect us with fungi and bacteria. Maybe it’s not a big issue where you came from, but down here in Florida’s rainy season, we get pounded all summer long and flattened by tropical storms. It’s inevitable that we’ll develop black spots or be pulled up and thrown on the compost pile. What a tragic way to go.

Florida geraniums
Cheery red geraniums accent these potted tropical plantings just perfectly.

The only thing worse is Florida’s brutal summer heat. We like it on the cool side, just like our brothers and sisters up north. Suffice it to say that surviving Florida’s hot, humid summers is a real challenge for us geraniums, and we’re putting that nicely.

On the bright side, fall is here!

But on the bright side, there’s hope. We’re in October now! Florida landscape designers are already including us in their installation plans for later this month and on into November (it’s still a bit too hot outside). Nurseries and garden centers are stocking up on us. Families in private residences and HOA communities can’t decide which ones of us they like best. Bright pink? Snowy white? Blazing red? Some of us are also grown for our fragrant leaves, that when crushed, smell like lemon, mint or chocolate.

Bold red, saucy pink or bright white. Florida geraniums make landscapes pop through chilly winter months.

Now that you totally get us, the rest is easy. Plant us in full sun or partial shade in well-drained soil amended with compost or peat moss. Water us as needed. (No wet soil, please; we don’t like to share our space with snails and slugs.) Try not to wet our flowers and leaves too much so we don’t get all matted and sick. Treat us to slow-release fertilizer and deadhead our old blossoms to encourage new growth. If you forget, our stems grow lanky and we get cranky.  

In return, we’ll reward you with vibrant blossoms for several weeks. Just don’t plant us in the summer. Please.

Sincerely yours,

Your Florida Geraniums

Contact ArtisTree to get your dream landscape off the ground.

ArtisTree Landscape Florida, Sarasota landscape designers

Already envisioning where your geraniums might go? The award-winning designers at ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design can start planning your renovation today. Contact Jenni Lassen to get your design plan started at 941.488.8897. ArtisTree is nationally ranked and proudly serves Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties.

ArtisTree also provides custom proposals to landscape-maintained HOA communities throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. Contact Michael Casper at 941.488.8897.

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