Scented Geraniums – Cold Tolerance?
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Emily Robbins
Posted on: January 27, 2000

I fear the scented geraniums I purchased from you may be getting a little chilly, or suffering from extremes in temperature. I have them 4 inches (10 centimeters) from a sunny window at my office in New York city, USA, and noticed that the apple geranium in particular has recently seemed a little weaker; its new growth is paler. I brought in my min/max thermometer to test the range of the window, and so far it is 58 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (14 to 28 degrees Celsius). (I did shade the thermometer so no direct sun hit it.) However the heat will go off over the weekend, no doubt, and it may get colder than 58F in that window. What is the minimum my geraniums can tolerate? They are young plants, only 3 months from your greenhouses.

Scented geraniums are rated zone 10 to tropical and can therefore tolerate temperatures down to freezing if they have had a chance to harden off by being exposed to gradually dropping temperatures. You did not mention which way your window is facing and this time of year in the north puts a light constraint on the growth of all but the shade loving plants. South exposure is best for light lovers like scented geraniums. Also the plants might be root bound and therefore unable to take up much in the way of nutrients - check if any roots are coming out of the bottom of the pot. Light fertilization is best for this time of year. It may be low on nitrogen. To reduce the temperature drops the plants experience, move them back about a foot from the window for the night. To make this easier put the plants into planters, so that several plants can be moved at the same time.

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