Geraniums are some of the most popular summertime flowers all across the United States. Thanks to their hardiness, bold colors, and low-maintenance personality, they have become a staple in homeowners’ and gardeners’ landscapes. But do geraniums need full sun?
Like all flowering plants, most geraniums like to have a spot in the sun. Generally, if the plant receives at least 6 hours of sun a day, it will thrive. However, ivy geraniums enjoy light shade, and perennial geraniums don’t mind it, either.
Do Geraniums Need Full Sun or Shade?
Garden and landscape design requires planning and research. There’s nothing more disappointing than imagining the perfect layout only to discover that the plants can’t thrive where you want to plant them. Thus, it’s vital to know and understand which plants prefer the sun, which can hang in the shade, and which ones are more carefree.
Geraniums make a wonderful addition to almost any garden. They are relatively low maintenance and hardy. Many gardeners prefer to grow annual geraniums. These can be grown in pots or planted in the ground.
Generally, annual geraniums do best in areas that have at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Ivy geraniums are also an annual, but this variety enjoys the light shade. When it comes to perennial geraniums, you need to know which exact variety you have, as some prefer full sun and others prefer part shade.
No matter which type of geranium you are growing, offering the plant midday sun protection during the hottest part of the day can be beneficial, especially for those who live in the hotter part of the country.
Do Ivy Geraniums Need Full Sun?
Ivy geraniums are a summer favorite and can be commonly found in hanging baskets each season. Even though they are called ivy geraniums, these plants aren’t geraniums at all. Instead, they are actually members of the Pelargonium genus, which are evergreen perennials native to South Africa. Due to the climate difference, ivy geraniums are grown as annual in the United States.
These unique plants have long trailing stems that grow to five feet long and have large lobed leaves. The flowers on ivy geraniums present as umbrels that rise from the stalks, making the plant stand out from others. Thanks to their gorgeous trailing stems, these plants are usually grown in hanging or window baskets.
Ivy geraniums prefer part shade, especially needing protection at the hottest parts of the day when the sun is the strongest. Too much sun can damage the plant’s leaves. Using the plant in a hanging basket on your porch or patio is a great way to showcase its beauty and protect it from sun damage.
While most of the United States grows ivy geraniums as an annual, those in USDA Hardiness zones 10 – 12 can grow them as a perennial. These plants grow quickly during the summertime, so there’s no reason to start seeds indoors if you are hoping to fill your hanging basket.
Do Red Geraniums Need Full Sun?
Perhaps no flower stands as showy or bold as red geraniums. The deep scarlet color of the bloom against the green stalk and leaves makes a statement in any landscape, garden, hanging basket, or window box. While red may be one of the most coveted colors of geraniums, before you can plant it or purchase it from a local garden center, you have to know how much sun red geraniums need.
Red geraniums need full sun. This means they thrive in places that offer at least 4-6 hours of bright sunlight daily. Sometimes, allowing even more sun will help boost the blooms, while getting less than 4 hours will most likely result in a plant with subpar, scanty, or even nonexistent blooms.
While geraniums are usually grown as annuals, you can bring your red geraniums indoors as autumn approaches and raise them as a houseplant until the winter passes. This works best if you grow your geraniums in pots or hanging baskets, making it easy to transport the plant without digging it up and risking damage to the root system.
However, the plant may not receive enough light indoors, especially during the winter months when the days are short. Luckily, your geranium won’t die from a lack of sunlight, but it won’t bloom as well. Once the plant gets more sun, it will rebloom and fully recover.
Do Zonal Geraniums Need Full Sun?
Even though the name itself sounds special or foreign, zonal geraniums are what most gardeners and homeowners think of when they picture geraniums. These annual flowers come in many colors ranging from white to lavender to pink to red to a mixture. They are very hardy and are grown outdoors as annuals in the ground, pots, hanging baskets, or window boxes all over the United States.
Zonal geraniums do best in the full sun for at least 4-6 hours. If you are hoping for big, bold blooms, aim for the higher side or even more than 6 hours of sunshine each day.
These beauties are known for their kidney-shaped leaves that sometimes have a darker circular mark, or zone, on them. Generally, the spot is hues of deep green or burgundy.
Some zonal geraniums can reproduce by seed. These plants tend to be smaller and cost less. Other zonal geraniums reproduce from cuttings. These geraniums tend to be larger and have more blooms.
Can a Geranium Get Too Much Sun?
Some plants just can’t handle the heat. When the middle of summer starts blazing, and the sun shines down, many plants and flowers will begin to wilt or show signs of sun damage. But what about geraniums? Can a geranium get too much sun?
Most annual geraniums love the sun. These plants require at least 4-6 hours of sun a day to produce flowers. Geraniums are known to be extremely hardy and have even been bred to live in places like Arizona or New Mexico, with summer temperatures well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some perennial and ivy geraniums do enjoy the shade, so it’s best to fully understand which type of geranium you are growing to help offer what the plant needs to thrive.
However, even though geraniums need lots of sunlight to live, if you notice that they are droopy around the early afternoon or seem distressed from the sun, offer them some shade or coverage during peak sun. This is especially important for those who live in the southern or western parts of the United States.
Can You Grow Geraniums In The Shade?
Since geraniums are known to be incredibly hardy, it makes one wonder if they are picky about a little shade. Not only are they considered hardy, but they also have a reputation for being low maintenance and easy to care for. So, can you grow geraniums in the shade?
Unless you are growing a perennial variety of geranium or ivy geraniums that enjoy the shade, your geranium will not produce well in the shade. While the plant won’t die, it won’t have the energy to bloom as well as it would if it had sun. Since geraniums are coveted for their flowers, it’s best to ensure they are placed in a spot with at least 4-6 hours of sun a day.
Can Geraniums Grow In the Indirect Sun?
Indirect light is any light that isn’t shining directly on the plant and its leaves. If a room has a sunny window and the entire room is light, any place that isn’t directly in front of the window is considered indirect light. Direct light is when the sunlight or light is touching the plant itself directly, even through a window.
If you place your geraniums on your porch under the awning or roof, you may be wondering if they will receive enough light to grow. Can geraniums grow in indirect light?
Most geraniums need full sun to thrive. Ivy geraniums and a few varieties of perennial geraniums would grow in indirect light as they tolerate shade well. Other varieties won’t grow well in indirect light as they require more sunlight to produce their flowers and grow.
While indirect light may not kill your geraniums, it will severely stunt their growth, and the plant may not receive enough light to perform photosynthesis, thus growing slower and producing fewer flowers. When it comes to geraniums, the more direct sun, the better.
What Happens If Geraniums Don’t Get Enough Sun?
If you are looking to troubleshoot why your geraniums aren’t blooming as well as you had hoped, the first thing to check is how much sun they are getting. What happens if geraniums don’t get enough sun?
Geraniums that aren’t getting enough sunlight will become “leggy.” These geraniums will begin to produce long, thin stems and sparse flowers atop them. “Leggy” plants often spread themselves thin as long as they search for more sunlight.
When geraniums don’t get enough sun, they can’t perform adequate photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process in which the plant turns the sun’s light into sugars that it stores in itself as energy to grow, repair, strengthen, and reproduce or bloom.
Geraniums that are getting adequate sun will produce strong, full, and bold flowers. If you notice your geraniums aren’t producing the way you had hoped, try moving them to a sunnier location.