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How To Care For Martha Washington Geraniums

You can quickly learn how to care for Martha Washington geraniums by learning proper planting, maintenance, and winter caring. These colorful pelargoniums are easy to care for because they are hardy geraniums by nature. However, you will not find them widely in the United States because of their blooming requirements, such as night temperatures of 50 to 60°F. 

The good news is that you can check your hardiness zone and adjust the greenhouse for the Lady or regal geraniums’ conditions. They will thrive in areas rated 5 to 10, but you can always use a heating or cooling system indoors to meet their optimal growing conditions. With proper care and maintenance, you can take pride in having these fancy and unique-looking geraniums. 

How To Care For Martha Washington Geraniums

How To Care For Martha Washington Geraniums For Success

 

Planting

You already have the edge among other gardeners when you choose to grow Martha Washington geraniums in the greenhouse. This is because you don’t have to worry about the unpredictable weather, harsh conditions, and fluctuating temperatures that can affect the geraniums’ health. Washington State University also mentioned that these geraniums prefer being indoors because moisture can rot the petals and scorching heat tends to fade the flowers themselves. 

So what are the optimal requirements for these geraniums? Martha Washington geraniums, like all plants, will thrive best in a well-draining and fertile soil. You can grow them in beds or containers in the greenhouse with 12 inches of spacing for the former and a requirement of 8 inches in diameter for the pots. 

Create a mix of potting soil, peat, and vermiculite, and remember to use a pot with drainage holes. However, it would help if you used a pot without a drainage tray to avoid the mistake of leaving the plants in standing water. As for their light and temperature requirements, choose an area that receives 6 hours of sun daily. 

This will create vigorous plants that will bloom well, but be careful not to let them get damaged by harsh heat. The geraniums also require 50 to 60°F at night to encourage flowering, so those in Iowa tend to get problems in blooming due to their high night temperatures in the summer.

 

Maintenance

Keeping your plants healthy and encouraging flowering also meant making sure that your geraniums are hydrated and well-fed. For starters, water Martha Washington geraniums throughout the growing season as they prefer moist soil. However, you don’t want to overwater your plants, so check the top 2 inches of their soil and water only when dry. 

The geraniums might also require more frequent waterings during the summer months. On the contrary, winter watering is only once every two weeks since they will start to go dormant at this period. What about the feeding requirements of Martha Washington geraniums?

You can feed the plants every two weeks and choose the appropriate fertilizer depending on your favored outcome. If you want the plant to grow more, then a high nitrogen level should do the trick. On the other hand, liquid fertilizer twice a month in summer should help in blooming and foliage development.

These geraniums’ beauty is that they generally won’t need that much intervention for them to bloom and grow. Instead, check and trim off spent flower heads when they die to encourage blooming and prevent diseases. When left on the plant, the spent flowers may rot and cause fungal infections that may present themselves as spotted or powdery leaves.

 

Winter care

Winter care for Martha Washington geraniums is quite similar to other flowering plants, which involves mulching with compost. However, you can grow the cuttings you’ve collected in fall and plant them indoors until spring. If your area experiences extreme winter, it will be better to bring the entire geranium plant into the greenhouse and maintain the overwintered plants in a sunny location.

In some cases, it can be challenging to overwinter these geraniums because of the need for cutting back and root pruning before repotting in a smaller pot. Until they grow much more robust, you will have to move the plant in a bigger pot, and you’ll notice new buds are forming. These practices are applicable in states like Washington. 

 

Rooting stem cuttings

You can make the most out of your geraniums since they root easily from stem cuttings. Trim below the node and remove all the buds, leaving two or three leaves and stipules. Place the cuttings in the shade or wrap each one in the newspaper to prevent rotting before pushing it into a pot with rooting medium. 

 

Conclusion

Martha Washington or regal geraniums are quite hardy, but you should still grow them responsibly. This means knowing how to care for Martha Washington geraniums by knowing their ideal growing conditions when planting, maintaining them in terms of feeding and watering, and overwintering them to propagate from cuttings. The following considerations might seem a handful, but they are straightforward to learn.

Like with caring and growing other plants, it will be more convenient for you to use a greenhouse for Martha Washington geraniums. The conditions indoors will always be optimal for the plants, and additionally, you won’t need to move them if the winter proves to be harsh. 

 

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How To Prevent Root Rot In Hydroponics: 3 Useful Tips

If you’re a newbie gardener who’s looking to find ways to hone your skills, you’d want to learn how to prevent root rot in hydroponics even before this problem affects your plants.

Hydroponics can be advantageous to crops in more ways than one. However, it also comes with risks of diseases, such as root rot, which can be destructive or even lethal to your plants.

Unfortunately, there are no effective methods to recover the wilted parts that were affected by the root rot once it hits your plants. The only thing you can do if you do not want this catastrophe to befall your crops is to prevent it before it happens. Read on to learn more about this subject.

 

What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a disease that attacks the plant roots and causes them to suffer decay. This usually happens when a lack of oxygen supply occurs in the substrate.

To give you an idea, think about plant roots that are submerged in water that only has a little oxygen in it. Over time, the plant suffocates and dies.

Aside from rot and decay, this disease also leads to the proliferation of fungi that are naturally present in the soil. These include Rhizoctonia, Alternaria, Pythium, Botrytis, Fusarium, or Phytophthora. As soon as fungi colonies start to grow, they tend to target the weakened roots and infect your precious plant babies.

Once the plant becomes infected, they won’t be able to take in what they need to grow – water, oxygen, and other nutrients. When this happens, it won’t be long before the plant dies.

 

What is Hydroponics?

In case you’re not aware, the term hydroponic is derived from a Latin word that means “working water”. To put it simply, hydroponics is an art that involves growing various types of plants without soil. If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody talks about hydroponics would be a picture of plants with roots suspended into the water without using any type of growing medium.

 

Avoiding Root Rot in Hydroponic Systems

Detecting and identifying root rot can be tricky. When your plants get infected, their leaves and roots gradually wither until the whole crop itself dies from the lack of nutrients, which is a common symptom of many diseases.

 

What causes root rot in hydroponics?

One of the requirements in hydroponics systems is oxygen. Without it, your plants are basically on the road to death. On the other hand, lack of such is one of the major triggers for root rot, and it must be avoided at all costs.

Just like when planting in soil, you loosen up the ground so that your plants’ roots can have their required intake of oxygen. That is the case for crops grown in aqueous solutions as well. If they cannot breathe, they would not be able to grow.

Another agent for root rot is the temperature. The last thing you would want in your system are parasites that leech nutrients intended for your plants and infect the water during the process. In common terms, these fungi are called molds.

One of the best breeding grounds for these is warm and moist areas. For this reason, if the water temperature inside your reservoir is high, then you are susceptible to it. Something as minor as letting the solutions exposed to sunlight can already be a risk factor.

 

3 Useful Tips on How to prevent root rot in hydroponics

There is good news! Root rot in hydroponics can be prevented! Just follow these tips:

Tip#1: Use the right air pump

If you do not want root rot to affect your plants, you merely have to avoid its causes. If you need oxygen, keep the water bubbling by providing an air pump of appropriate size, and also give importance to proper ventilation in the room.

 

Tip #2: Maintain the temperature

The temperature should be maintained within the 70 to 80 degrees F range. Get rid of any materials that can make your system vulnerable to infections, and make sure not to disturb your crops while they are trying to grow.

 

Tip #3: Get rid of the rotten parts

However, if you failed in preventing the disease, then the rotten parts should be removed immediately. Cut them off as there is no chance of reviving them, and focus on the potential new growth instead. Fix your hydroponics system and eliminate the risks.

 

Why Give Greenhouse Gardening a Try?

Greenhouse gardening offers numerous benefits to greens aficionados who dare to take their gardening experience to the next level. Aside from acting as a shield against the effects of inclement weather, a mini, hobby, or semi-pro greenhouse can also serve as a protective layer that keeps harmful bugs and critters at bay.

What’s more, its enclosed structure allows you to control your plants’ growing conditions including the temperature, light, moisture, and ventilation of the greenhouse’s internal environment. With a controlled environment, you’ll be able to extend growing seasons and grow plants that aren’t native to your area.

 

Conclusion

No matter how well-informed you are about how to prevent root rot in hydroponics, you cannot completely eradicate the risks. Therefore, to avoid the worst-case scenario, you should be prepared to sacrifice the infected for the sake of others. While you’re at it, consider trying your hand at greenhouse gardening as well.

 

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