How Cold Can Geraniums Tolerate? – A Comprehensive Guide

Geraniums can tolerate cold temperatures as low as 32°f for a short period of time. Despite being a summer annual, they can survive cold temperatures with proper care and maintenance.

As the weather changes with seasons, it’s important to know how your plants will adapt and respond. Geraniums are a popular outdoor plant, but if you live in colder climates, you may wonder how well they’ll hold up in the cold. Geraniums, also called pelargoniums, can tolerate cold temperatures as low as 32°f for a brief time, but they won’t survive a harsh, freezing winter. However, with proper care such as covering them with a frost cloth or moving them indoors, you can help your geraniums thrive and bloom year-round. In this article, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about how cold geraniums can tolerate and how to maintain them in chilly conditions.

How Cold Can Geraniums Tolerate? - A Comprehensive Guide


Understanding Geraniums And Their Cold Tolerance

Geraniums’ Natural Habitat And Temperature Preferences

Geraniums are native to southern africa and thrive in warm climate conditions. These are typically found in rocky and arid soil habitats with an average temperature range of 55 to 75 degrees fahrenheit. When grown in the wild, geraniums receive protection from the sunlight and heat by the natural shade of rocks and other vegetation.

This makes them tolerant to extreme weather conditions like drought and heatwaves.

Geraniums’ Cold Tolerance Range

Geraniums can tolerate cold temperatures to a certain extent. In general, they can withstand temperatures up to 32 degrees fahrenheit for short periods. However, the ideal temperature range for geraniums is between 60 and 70 degrees fahrenheit. This makes them best suited for growth in warmer climates like in the mediterranean region and the united states’ southern states.

When exposed to temperatures below 32 degrees fahrenheit, geraniums may experience varying degrees of cold damage. The severity of the damage can range from mild discoloration and wilting of leaves to complete plant death.

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How Geraniums React To Cold Temperatures And Frost Damage

Geraniums react to cold temperatures and frost damage in various ways. The extent of the damage depends on the duration and severity of the cold and how well the plant is acclimated to handle the cold weather.

  • Wilting of leaves and blossom damage
  • Leaf discoloration, turning light brown or black
  • Stunted growth or a lack of new growth
  • Complete plant death

Frost damage is the most significant threat to geraniums during the winter months. If left unprotected, geraniums in colder climates will not survive the winter.

  • Covering the plants with a blanket or tarp
  • Moving the plants indoors or to a warmer location
  • Providing extra heat and light to help them survive

Understanding geraniums’ cold tolerance is crucial to their survival. The ideal temperature range for geraniums is between 60 and 70 degrees fahrenheit. When exposed to temperatures below freezing, geraniums may experience cold damage, and frost damage is the most significant threat to their survival.

By taking appropriate steps, such as winterizing your plants, you can help ensure your geraniums’ survival during the cold weather months.

Factors Affecting Geraniums’ Cold Tolerance

Geranium Variety And Cultivar

Geraniums are hardy plants typically found in many gardens. They are well known for their resilience and adaptability to different environmental conditions. However, not all geranium varieties are created equal when it comes to cold tolerance.

  • Some geranium cultivars, like the ivy geranium, have better cold tolerance than others.
  • Pelargoniums (a type of geranium that is often used in pots) have more cold tolerance than the zonal geraniums.
  • It is worth researching the specific geranium variety or cultivar you have planted to see how it handles cold temperatures.

Growing Environment And Location

Geraniums’ cold tolerance may vary depending on the type of growing environment and location they are exposed to.

  • Geraniums grown in pots or containers have less protection from the cold than those grown in the ground because their root systems are more exposed.
  • Geraniums planted in the shade or cooler areas of the garden may have less tolerance for cold temperatures than those in full sun.
  • Geraniums that are grown in areas with mild winters will have higher cold tolerance than those grown in areas with extremely low temperatures.

Timing And Duration Of Cold Exposure

The timing and duration of cold exposure can significantly affect geraniums’ cold tolerance.

  • Geraniums that have spent the summer in warm, sunny weather may have a harder time adjusting to a sudden decrease in temperature than those that have grown under cooler conditions.
  • A sudden drop in temperature can be more harmful to geraniums than a gradual decrease.
  • A few hours or days of cold weather may not harm geraniums significantly, but prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures is detrimental to their health.

Geraniums can tolerate colder weather conditions to varying degrees, depending on the variety and cultivar, growing environment and location and the timing and duration of cold exposure. Taking these factors into consideration can help you better prepare your geraniums for cold weather conditions to maintain their health and vitality.

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Complete Guide to Overwintering Geraniums

Tips For Protecting Geraniums From Cold Temperatures

Geraniums are popular for their vibrant colors and their ability to bloom year after year. However, these beautiful plants can easily succumb to cold temperatures, especially during the winter. Do you know how cold can geraniums tolerate? In this article, we will discuss how to protect your geraniums during such situations.

Preparing Geraniums For Winter

Before the arrival of winter, you should prepare your geraniums for the cold temperatures.

  • Watering: reduce watering your geraniums during the fall season to slow down their growth rate. This will prepare them for their winter dormancy. Ensure the soil is well-drained.
  • Pruning: trim back the branches of the geranium plant to prevent them from becoming too tall. This will reduce wind damage during winter.
  • Pest control: remove all the dead leaves and stems and spray a safe insecticide to eliminate any pests.
  • Soil preparation: add organic fertilizers to the soil to enhance nutrient content and drainage.

Choosing The Right Location For Geraniums

Choosing the right location for your geraniums is vital when it comes to protecting them from cold temperatures.

  • Select the appropriate planting area: when planting geraniums, ensure that you select a location that receives sufficient sunlight and has good air circulation.
  • Sheltering locations: if there are chances of frost, plant your geraniums in sheltered areas such as near buildings, tall trees, and walls. This will help protect the plants from sudden changes in temperature.
  • Indoor placement: if the winter climate is harsh in your area, you may want to consider growing your geraniums indoors in pots near well-lit windows or under grow lights.

Covering And Insulating Geraniums During Cold Snaps And Frost

Covering and insulating geraniums during extreme cold weather is vital to protect them from damage.

  • Cover the plants: use blankets, burlap, or frost cloths to cover your plants. Ensure that you remove the covers immediately in the morning to prevent the plants from overheating.
  • On frosty nights: during frost conditions, water the geraniums long enough to create an ice cap around them. This protective ice cap can help regulate the temperature for the plant.
  • Use mulch: spread a 3-4 inch layer of organic mulch like straw or wood chips around the base of geraniums to help insulate the roots from cold temperatures.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your geraniums survive even the coldest weather conditions. So, go ahead and start preparing your geraniums today!

Common Mistakes To Avoid

Despite their hardiness, geraniums still require proper care during the winter months to ensure their survival.

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Overwatering And Under-Watering During Winter Months

During winter, it’s essential to adjust the watering schedule for geraniums.

  • Reduce watering frequency to once a week during the colder months.
  • Check the soil moisture level before watering. Water only when the soil is dry to the touch.
  • Avoid overwatering. Soggy soil can lead to root rot and fungal growth.
  • Ensure proper drainage to prevent excess water from collecting in the soil.

Fertilizing During Cold Months

Fertilizing during winter months is not necessary for geraniums.

  • The decreased light and temperature during winter slow down plant growth, leading to decreased nutrient requirements.
  • Over-fertilizing during the winter can damage the plant.
  • Resume feeding during the spring, when new growth starts.

Not Addressing Frost Damage Promptly

Geraniums are sensitive to frost damage, which can be fatal if not addressed promptly.

  • Remove damaged leaves and stems to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Place the plant in a sheltered area and avoid exposing them to harsh conditions.
  • Wait until the danger of frost has passed before pruning damage and trimming deadwood.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure your geraniums survive the winter months and thrive in the spring.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How Cold Can Geraniums Tolerate?

What Is The Lowest Temperature That Geraniums Can Tolerate?

Geraniums can tolerate temperatures as low as 40°f (4°c), but it’s best to keep them at a temperature above 50°f (10°c) for optimal growth. Any lower and geraniums may become dormant or die.

How Do I Protect My Geraniums From Frost And Cold Temperatures?

To protect geraniums from frost and cold temperatures, move them indoors or to a warmer spot. Cover plants with fleece or blankets or use a cloche or greenhouse to protect them. Watering before a frost is also helpful as moist soil retains heat better.

Can Geraniums Survive A Winter Outdoors In Colder Climates?

Geraniums cannot survive winter outdoors in colder climates unless they are brought inside or protected. It is recommended to move them to a warmer place before the first frost as they are sensitive to freezing temperatures. There are also cold-hardy geranium varieties that can tolerate freezing temperatures.

Are There Specific Geranium Varieties That Are More Tolerant Of Cold Temperatures?

Yes, some geranium varieties are more tolerant of cold temperatures than others. These include the madame layal, summer twist, americana white splash, and calliope varieties. They can withstand temperatures as low as 30°f and continue to bloom even in cooler climates.

What Happens If Geraniums Are Exposed To Temperatures Below Their Tolerance Level?

Geraniums exposed to temperatures below their tolerance level can suffer damage such as brown or black spots on leaves, wilting, and stunted growth. In severe cases, the plant may die. To prevent this, keep geraniums in temperatures between 60-75°f and away from drafty areas or cold windows.


Overall, geraniums are hardy plants that can tolerate a range of temperatures, but they do have their limits. It is best to keep them in temperatures above freezing to ensure their long-term survival. Although they may survive below-freezing temperatures for a short period, it is not advisable to expose them to prolonged periods of cold.

As with any plant, it is essential to provide the right growing conditions to ensure they thrive. By understanding the temperature tolerance of geraniums, you can select the right planting location and care practices to ensure a healthy and vibrant garden.

With proper care and attention, geraniums can reward you with a stunning display of blooms year after year, making them an excellent addition to your garden. So, plant them wisely and enjoy their beauty for many seasons to come!