Resurrecting geraniums

GeraniumLast night we had about 8 inches of snow. It looks beautiful, white and mounded on tree limbs and shrubs. But it makes the prospect of spring seem that much more distant. That's why it was such fun tonight to witness the resurrection of a geranium.

Last Spring my parents gave us a gorgeous pot of geraniums in celebration of our anniversary. Geraniums don't survive the winter and so they are typically a one-season plant up here. My mother-in-law, however, is a master at helping geraniums to hibernate for the winter and then come back to life for another season. As of this writing, she has about 37 geranium plants in this state.

Because of the lovely geranium plant I was given last Spring, I asked her for her trick on keeping it alive. Here's what she told me and what I did.

In the fall, when it is starting to get too cold for the plant to be outside, take it inside and cut it back. Cut each stem back to about an inch or two. Pull out any debris around the stems so that what you are left with is a pot of dirt with short stems sticking out. Take this pot and put it in a dark cool place, such as dark corner of the basement. Forget about the geranium over the winter. When March comes, take it out of the dark spot and bring it out near a window. (My mother-in-law said that at this point there will likely be little sprigs of new growth even though it's been in the dark.) Start to water it with occasional plant food. By the time the weather is warm, the plant should be looking like a geranium again.

This evening I retrieved the geranium from the basement closet. Lo and behold, my mother-in-law was right. There were numerous spring green sprigs and wisps all over the cut stems. What's more, there were two small pink flowers!

How lovely. How extraordinary. Spring is now sitting in my laundry tub.