Overgrown Geraniums: Preventing And Correcting Leggy Geranium Plants

geranium-flower
Image by Randen Pederson

By Nikki Phipps
(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)

Many people wonder why their geraniums get leggy, especially if they keep them year after year. Geraniums are one of the most popular bedding plants grown and while they are normally quite attractive, routine pruning may be necessary in order to keep them looking their best. This not only helps prevent overgrown geraniums, but will also reduce or fix leggy geranium plants.

Causes of Leggy Geranium Plants

Most leggy growth on geraniums is the result of irregular pruning maintenance. Geraniums are naturally leggy and woody plants in the wild, but in our homes we like them to be compact and bushy. In order to keep a geranium compact and bushy and prevent it from getting leggy, it needs to be pruned hard at least once a year. The more regularly you prune your geranium, the better able a geranium is able to keep a pleasing shape.

Spindly geraniums can also be the result of poor light conditions. In addition to pruning, allowing more space between plants and locating them in full sun can oftentimes alleviate the problem.

Excessive moisture is another cause for leggy geraniums. Geraniums should be planted in well-draining soil and should only be watered when the soil is dry to the touch. Overwatering geraniums can result in a stunted, sickly and spindly geranium plant.

Pruning Leggy Geraniums

Not sure what to do with leggy geraniums? Try pruning. Prior to bringing plants indoors (usually late fall), you should cut back about a third of your spindly geraniums. Make sure you remove any unhealthy or dead stems as well. Pruning leggy geraniums also prevents them from becoming overgrown and unsightly.

Pinching is another practice for fixing leggy plants. Normally this is done on established plants to produce bushier growth. It can be performed during active growth or just following pruning—once new growth has reached a few inches high, pinch out about ½ to 1 inch from the tips.

This article was last updated on

Related Articles
Did you find this helpful?
Share it with your friends!
Additional Help & Information

Didn't find the answer to your question? Ask one of our friendly gardening experts.

Do you know anything about gardening? Help answer someone's gardening question.

Read more articles about Geraniums.

Search for more information

Use the search box below to find more gardening information on Gardening Know How:

Newest Articles
  • firespikes Firespike Plant Information: How To Grow Firespikes
  • sea-rocket Sea Rocket Information: How To Care For A Sea Rocket Plant
  • scaredy-plant Growing Scaredy Cat Plants: Coleus Canina Plant Repellent
  • petunia-bloom Petunia Not Blooming: How To Fix Petunia Plant With No Flowers
  • compost-maggots Dealing With Flies In The Compost: Should I Have A Lot Of Flies In My Compost?