Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Ville de Paris, Mid Cascade and Mini Cascade alpine geraniums?
They are all cascading alpine geraniums, but they are different series, or groups. Ville de Paris varieties grow up to 3' long, except Ville de Paris Dresden however is shorter, growing up to 2'. Mid Cascades grow up to 2-2 1/2' long, except White and Applebossom are more compact and grow up to 18-24" long. Mini Cascades grow up to 12-18" long. This is their length by the end of the season, given optimal conditions. Think of it this way:
Ville de Paris - longest trailing stems
Mid Casade - long stems
Mini Cascade - compact trailing/mounding habit
How many plants are recommended for my container?
How do I plant my geraniums?
Open your box(es) of geraniums as soon as you get them. Even if you can't plant them immediately, it's good to let them breathe. Place them in a partly sunny spot and keep evenly moist until you can plant them.
When working with geraniums, use the best sanitation methods possible. Wash hands with soap before handling plants. Use clean pots and clean potting mix before planting in containers.
Plant geraniums as soon as possible after receiving them.
Use a container that has adequate drainage holes.
Water your geraniums thoroughly on the day of potting and check them frequently during the first two weeks to keep them moist, but never allow the soil to get soggy.
What are some growing tips?
SOIL - Use a well-drained commercial potting mix. Avoid mixes that contain water-holding "crystals." Some of our customers like to add up to 10% garden soil, but this is not necessary.
WATER - Your geraniums will need regular watering, particularly in hot weather. The goal of watering is to moisten soil down to the bottom of the roots. All geraniums can take some dryness for a limited time, but for best growth, keep plants moist but not soggy or wet.
FERTILIZER - Fertilize your geraniums every 1-2 weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer, per directions on the label. Top-dress (sprinkle on top of soil) using slow-release fertilizer like Osmocote in addition to the liquid feeding. Geraniums are "heavy feeders" so this will provide the nutrition needed for vigorous growth.
SUNLIGHT - Alpines need a sunny location in order to thrive. They will tolerate some filtered light or minimal shade but will perform best in full sun.
PINCHING - "Pinching," or breaking off the tips of plant stems (not blossoms), is done to encourage fuller growth. Pinching can be done on "leggy" or too-long stems after the plants are well-established. For mid- and mini-cascade alpine geraniums, minimal pinching will be needed. For the VIlle de Paris series, plants would benefit from at least 2 pinches, when the stems are about 8-10" long and again at 12-14" long. Remove 1-2" from the tips to pinch. You can also pinch longer pieces of stems later if the plants look "leggy."
Why alpine geraniums?
They provide masses of color without excessive care, flowering until hard frost. No other cascading flower gives their amazing effect.
What does tissue cultured mean?
This refers to the process by which our providers create sterile, disease-free stock plants, a two-year process. Viruses can cause plants to lose vigor, resulting in an inferior plant. Each year we start with new, clean stock to avoid this problem, so you get the cleanest and healthiest plants.
What does it mean if the leaves turn yellow?
Yellow leaves are usually the result of either over-watering or under-watering. The way to determine the reason is to check your soil. If your soil is consistently soggy, cut back on the amount of water you are using. If your soil is light in color and dry, make sure you are moistening the soil all the way to the roots. If you notice water rushing right through after watering, the soil is too dry to hold water. Wait 1-2 hours and water thoroughly again. On very sunny, hot days, you may need to soak the plants daily. It's important that any excess water can freely drain out of the container.
What can I do if my geraniums don't flower right away?
Sometimes it takes a little while for the plant to become established before it starts to form buds. It's safe to fertilize your plants with liquid fertilizer right after potting to get them off to a good start. Geraniums are heavy feeders, and it's essential to fertilize often (once every one or two weeks) in order to promote flowering. While geraniums can often tolerate minimal shade, they must have plenty of light in order to produce flowers. Make sure they grow in open, airy spaces rather than under shaded trees. Consistent watering is also necessary for continuous, all-around growth.
Can I "winter- over" my geraniums?
While some have success wintering-over geraniums, we do not generally recommend it because fresh plants each spring grow much better than wintered-over plants. If you do attempt to keep your geraniums alive during the winter, place geraniums in front of a sunny window; a southern exposure works best. Keep your geraniums moist but not wet, and do not let them dry out which often happens in a heated home. Alpine geraniums can do well with this indoor wintering method.
How does shipping work?
We use UPS for our shipping, and ship orders in the smallest box that the order will fit in. We have four box sizes. Because our plants don't weigh much, the shipping charge is based on the box size, not the weight. Our small box holds up to 2 large or 4 small packs. The next size holds up to 4 large (or 8 small) packs. The third box holds up to 6 large packs, and the largest box holds up to 8 large packs. UPS delivers Monday through Friday, and will not deliver to a post office box, so we need your actual address for delivery.
The entire eastern half of the country as well as out to the mid-west can be shipped via UPS ground, which is the lowest price method, and you'll still get your plants within 3 days. We have not had any problems with the plants being boxed up for up to 3 days. The rest of the country must ship either 3 Day Select shipping, or 2nd Day Air. We have found that 3 Day Select works fine, even for the west coast, and is less expensive than 2nd Day Air, but that is always an option for you.