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Geraniums – great for first time gardeners...and kids

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It’s hard to imagine a summer garden or patio without geraniums. Not only are they easy to grow and look after, but they also flower throughout the whole of the season making them the perfect choice for novice or young gardeners. Children love being outside and getting their hands – and everything else – dirty so introducing them to their first steps on the gardening journey isn’t too difficult. Most experts agree that for kids to get into gardening a space of their own is crucial – whether that’s a small bed, a grow bag or a terracotta pot.

And, one of the best plants for them to start with is a geranium. Geraniums come in an array of colours from vibrant red and bright pink through to soft lilac and white with fabulous flower heads, and are robust enough to thrive being cared for by even the most untrained of little green fingers. (National Children's Gardening Week 23-31 May 2020 childrensgardeningweek.co.uk)

The growers from Pelargonium for Europe have some simple tips on how to make sure any geranium is a summer success story. In general, geraniums can be planted outside April/May time once the last frosts have gone. Native to South Africa, they do best in full sun or partial shade - in fact the more hours of sun they get, the more flowers they produce. They need a bit of space to grow - so don't crowd them into one pot. Planting them 20 cm apart works well and gives room to water. Or, plant individual plants in individual pots.

Once planted aftercare is simple - deadhead (removing dead and spent flowers) on a regular basis and take off any yellow or damaged leaves. This not only keeps geraniums looking good, it also stimulates the plants to produce new flowers.

Watering needs to be done regularly according to the climate but don't let them get waterlogged - so if planting into containers or window boxes make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom. It's also worth thinking about using compost that contains slow release fertiliser as this will provide a constant supply of essential nutrients during the growing season.

With these simple geranium growing guidelines you can make sure these summer favourites continue flowering well into the autumn.