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Growing Geraniums From Seeds

Category Seeds
Although many gardeners buy geraniums as small starts or blooming plants they can be grown from seed. This is a page about growing geraniums from seeds.


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February 28, 2008


I have what I think are seeds growing on my pink geranium. I have been letting them turn brown and then gently removing them and storing these in a paper bag in a dark dry spot.

Do I test these in the same manner as most seeds to see if they are going to germinate? When would I put these outside? Should I start them inside first?

Hardiness Zone: 7b

Kelly from western NC


Hi Kelly,

You didn't mention whether or not your geraniums were the hardy, or non - hardy type, but both can be germinated and started indoors. Geraniums are programmed to 'launch' their seeds at maturity, and can be notoriously difficult to collect. First, make sure that the dry, brown plant material you have been saving still contains the actual seeds. The seeds themselves are oblong or corkscrew - shaped and are inside husks that are attached to feathery tails. In the future, a fail - safe way to capture them is to cover the flowers with muslin to catch the seeds as they launch.


Try starting both hardy and non - hardy geranium (Pelargonium) seeds using the following method, keeping in mind that hardy geraniums may also benefit from cold treating in order to coax them into germinating.

Start by placing the seeds on a moistened paper towel to hold them in place. It will be easier for you later if you line them up facing the same direction - pointy side down. Then using a needle, carefully scratch a line down the middle each seed case from top to bottom. You don't want the cut too deep, but just deep enough to penetrate the hard casing. After scoring the seeds, place the moistened paper towel in a dish or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap. Use a spray bottle to mist the paper towel, making sure that both the paper towel and the seeds are thoroughly saturated with water. Put the container in a dark place that is about 75ºF.

If the seed casings have been scratched deep enough, within 3 - 4 hours of scoring they will absorb enough of the moisture in the dish to split open their casings. If after that time they are still hard, you may need to scratch them again. Monitor the seeds over the next 24 - 48 hours, moistening the paper towels with a spray bottle and once split, gently removing the seed casings to allow for unrestricted growth.


During this time, you'll be able to easily identify non - viable seeds when they turn soft and start to smell rancid. Discard these. Once the sprout is about 1.5 cm in length and you can see signs of tiny leaves opening out (usually around 7 - 10 days), transfer them to a pot filled with a seed - starting medium or light potting soil. Use the tip of a pencil to make a tiny indentation to drop the 'rootlet' into. Gently surround it with the potting medium and moisten the area with a spray bottle. You can also bypass the viability test and sow seeds directly into pots without scoring, covering them with 1/8 inch of moist soil. Expect germination to take longer, and your success rate to be lower.

Continue to grow indoors in bright light or under fluorescent lights. Harden them off for 7 - 10 days before transferring outdoors (as soon as danger of frost has passed).

Geraniums are slow growing, so patience is necessary. They can take as long as 15 weeks to flower after sowing.

Good luck!



January 25, 20080 found this helpful

I presume by 'geranium' you mean pelagonium? I would start them off indoors first, they are not difficult, but are not frost hardy.


I have no idea about hardiness zones though

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September 20, 2005
Question: Geranium flower seeds are so expensive to purchase, and since I have some geraniums in bloom right now, (soon to get a frost, up here in canada) I would appreciate if any one could tell me what to look for in collecting the seed, when is it ready for picking, and when the seed should be started for plants for the following year.

Thank you,
Shirley from Edmonton

Answer: If you've been deadheading your plants, stop pinching off the dead blooms so that you can prepare to collect the seeds.

Because the pods of some geraniums are botanically designed to "launch" their seeds, a great way to collect geranium seeds is to tie a cloth bag around the flower to catch the seeds as they fall.


Let the blooms die off naturally, and don't worry about frost. In most varieties, seeds are small, dark brown and oval in shape.

Sow them indoors in early February and they should be ready to bloom around 12-16 weeks later. Seeds may need to be cold treated or nicked to encourage germination.

Provide 12-14 hours of light per day and daytime temperatures of 70-75°F (60-65°F at night). Geraniums can also be propagated from stem cuttings.

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