With so many sizes and varieties of geraniums (or pelargoniums, as they are known to gardeners), this category is a popular one in the Knowsley Flower Show every year – always producing an impressive array of colourful entries.
Bob Sumners, a Knowsley Flower Show Committee member and judge, has been growing pelargoniums for more than 20 years.
He here he shares his top tops for growing prize winning specimens, fit for entering into the Flower Show:
You can take cuttings from geraniums and pelargoniums all year round, but if you’re planning to show your flowers, you should only use cuttings taken at the end of April or the end of September, ready to show the following year. I take mine from the smallest node, and keep them short – about an inch long.
Not too much water
Pelargoniums flower best with as little water as possible, so always keep them slightly on the dry side. And never, ever water from the top.
Turn your pot
Twice a week, rotate your pot by a quarter turn. This’ll evenly share the amount of sunshine getting to each side of the plant and help them develop a pleasing round formation.
To encourage plenty of flowers on your pelargonium you’ll need to ‘stop’ them to encourage sideshoots to grow. Once the cutting has started growing and the roots are coming out of the bottom, carefully take the tip of the growth off. From doing this you’ll get four breaks, creating four new sideshoots. After a while when they have grown, stop them too. Then you’ll have 16 sideshoots. Keep doing this to get a good sized plant with plenty of flowers.
Start off with a number 2 feed then after 2-3 weeks go for a basic, which is a number 3. As soon as they come out in bud use a number 4 such as Tomorite.
If Bob’s tips have inspired you to get out into the garden and start growing for the Knowsley Flower Show, take a look at all the categories you could enter this year by downloading the full schedule. As well as categories for accomplished gardeners, there are also nine novice classes and nine for children.
Don’t forget, the Flower Show takes place on Sunday, 7 August this year, at Court Hey Park and the National Wildflower Centre in Huyton from 11am – 5pm. Entry is free and there will even be free shuttle bus services available.