Q: I’ve read that you can keep bare-root geraniums over the winter. How do you do that?
— Laura Lee Frank
A: Annual geraniums, which aren’t true geraniums but rather members of the genus Pelargonium, can survive most of the winter without soil and with just periodic watering.
Here’s how to store them in a bare-root state, the Iowa State University Extension says:
Before the first frost, dig up the plant and gently shake the soil from its roots. Place the plant inside an open paper bag, or hang it upside-down from rafters in a cool, dark place.
Two or three times during the winter, soak the plant’s roots in water for an hour or two, and then return it to storage.
In late March or early April, pot the plant, water it thoroughly and cut back the dead stem tips. Keep it in a sunny window to wait for new growth to start, which may take several weeks.
Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.