Causes And Solutions For Geranium Leaves Turning Red
Geraniums are one of the most popular herbaceous perennials in North America. They are hardy, easy to grow, have a long bloom season, and are very attractive when they flower. If you love your garden but don’t like to weed or water it often, then this is a perfect plant for you. Geraniums require little care than keeping them watered every few weeks during dry spells. The plants will do all the work for themselves, so there’s no need to worry about their health when you’re away from home.
How to Grow Geraniums Indoors
All geranium varieties can be grown indoors, but some prefer slightly warmer temperatures than others. Most geraniums like indirect heat, meaning sunlight must pass through a diffuser or an opaque container when growing indoors. Plants grown inside direct sun will burn rather quickly.
Place geranium plants where they will receive filtered light, ide 50%. Use fluorescent lights if geraniums are placed under fluorescent tubes. Fluorescent lights produce more light energy at the short wavelengths (blue) and less light energy at the long wavelength. Theally in a south-facing window with at least five hours of direct sun each day. Light levels should not drop below 75 percent during daylight. Geraniums can tolerate lower light output if the light level stays abovis may cause problems with the photosynthesis process within the leaf cells, resulting in chlorosis and a burning sensation when viewed directly.
Watering frequency depends on how much soil has accumulated around the roots. Add 1/4 inch of water per week to moisten the soil when watering and to pot. After blooming, cut back on watering by half to allow the plants to concentrate on seed production. During late winter, fertilize before new growth begins using a slow-release fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 4-14-14 NPK.
Causes For Geranium Leaves Turning Red
The following are the causes for geranium leaves turning red:
Fluctuating Temperatures: In cooler climates, geraniums may become stressed due to fluctuating temperatures. As we move into a colder climate, our plants, such as yellowing leaves, might show signs of stress. Try to provide enough warmth to help them adapt to changing seasons. For instance, if they were planted too early in spring, they may need to be moved to warmer areas to enjoy frost-free conditions until fall. Once the weather warms up, they can easily adjust to the outdoor environment.
On hot days, geranium leaves are sensitive to excess heat. These plants are native to Europe and do well outdoors in summer. During the winter months, however, geraniums may experience cold nights. These plants do best with cool temperatures, but too cold weather will also cause damage.
Geraniums prefer temperatures between 65°F (18°C) and 110°F (43°C). When planted outdoors during the winter months, you should protect them from cold winds or freezing temps. Indoor plants benefit from heating lamps or under-the-cabinet heaters. Never use hot water to water geraniums because it encourages fungal diseases. Use only filtered or distilled water for indoor plants.
- Watering Problems: Geraniums thrive when given ample water. Make sure that the soil around the root system is always wet. Overly saturated soil creates humidity pockets that can lead to fungus infection. Avoid overwatering as this will encourage fungal diseases. Misting the soil at night, especially after heavy rain, helps prevent mold buildup. Suppose you notice a powdery white appearance on your plants’ leaves, likely because of spider mites. These pests look like clusters of small white dots on the plant’s leaves and stems. You can eliminate mites from geraniums by cleaning their leaves every few weeks. Turn off the faucet while rinsing, then dry thoroughly. Spray lightly with water to repel insects.
Fertilizer Problems: Geraniums have a relatively shallow root system. This makes them susceptible to nutrient depletion. The recommended amount of nutrients for most plants is once a month, although geraniums can withstand occasional fertilizer applications if necessary. Apply liquid fertilizer weekly, preferably at room temperature. Some types of fertilizer contain potassium sulfate, which can burn the foliage. It is generally better to use a fertilizer formulated specifically for houseplants.
If any part of the plant is bent over or looks weak, don’t try to force it upright or straighten out the affected area. Instead, immediately remove the damaged section of the stem so that new growth is not competing against the old.
- Air Quality Issues: Some geraniums can be sensitive to smog and carbon monoxide poisoning. Plants with congested leaves may appear pale and unhealthy. While these symptoms are not harmful, they indicate poor air quality and suggest you keep windows open and air conditioning running in your home.
- Insect Pests: Various insect pests attack geranium plants, including aphids, mealy bugs, and cabbage worms. Mealy bug infestation can also result in plant stunting due to feeding habits. Cabbage worms eat the tops of geranium leaves and kill the lower leaf tissue as they grow. They leave behind a characteristic ”X” shaped scar on the top of the leaves. Aphids feed on the underside of leaves and suck sap from the plant. To control caterpillars, spray an oil-based mix containing neem extract with water every two weeks. Neem has been used worldwide for centuries to fight various garden problems.
- Disease & Stress: Plant health is often undervalued. However, without care inside and outside, geranium plants will eventually succumb to disease and stress. For example, if geranium leaves are damaged during transplantation, they should be wrapped with newspaper before being placed into pots. Also, consider using a light bulb instead of direct sunlight when growing indoors in warm climates for prolonged periods. In addition, geraniums require average amounts of sunshine and good airflow for healthy leaves.
- Transplant Shock: Geraniums can experience transplant shock if transplanted too early. This occurs when plants become stressed or agitated upon moving to a new location. Once settled into place, provide adequate watering and indirect lighting.
- Acidic pH: Geraniums do the best between 6.0 and 7.0, but acidity levels below 5.0 tend to stunt them. Make sure to test soil pH levels and adjust accordingly regularly. Using pebbles in the potting medium keeps roots cool and helps maintain optimal conditions. Keep in mind that geraniums prefer slightly acidic soil. Use a pH indicator kit to check the level once a week.
- Nutrient Deficiency: Many houseplants are prone to nutritional deficiencies. These problems usually show up in weakened stems and smaller tips. Indoor plant growers face high temperatures and little light compared to greenhouse-grown plants. As a rule of thumb, apply two full teaspoons of fish emulsion every three weeks until plants reach full bloom. Do note that there’s no need to fertilize indoor geraniums in the winter as they won’t need extra nutrients to maintain their bright green appearance. Add a slow-release fertilizer in springtime to ensure plant vigor for another year.
Solutions For Geranium Leaves Turning Red
The following are the solutions for geranium leaves turning red:
- Apply mulch: Mulching prevents weeds from sprouting and encourages the growth of beneficial insects such as ladybugs and hoverflies. It also maintains moisture around the roots by insulating the soil surface, which reduces your plant’s risk of drying out. Use organic material like pine bark, wood chips, coconut shells, sawdust, or straw to prevent weeds. A quick way to start is by spreading 10 inches of dry materials across the root zone. The layer needs to be at least 12 inches deep. Remove any debris from beneath the mulch before planting.
- Water well: Even though you keep your plant’s container filled to the brim, it’s still important to monitor its water intake. Excess water encourages fungal diseases, while insufficient water can cause browning on the leaves. Test how much water your plant gets each day by carefully lifting the lid and watching the droplets fall from leaves. You want to see about 1 inch of water per week, even if rainfall isn’t plentiful. Also, note that the lower leaves often absorb more water than the upper ones.
- Lighten Up: Most indoor growing lights use low-wattage bulbs. To compensate for this reduced strength, increase the number of bulbs by adding one additional fixture per 4 feet in length. Alternatively, install fluorescent bulbs that emit ultraviolet wavelengths similar to those in direct sunlight. Both options improve photosynthesis and encourage plant growth.
- Fertilize properly: If your geranium shows signs of nutrient deficiency, it’s time to supplement the soil with an organic garden fertilizer. This will encourage leaf expansion while boosting chlorophyll production. Be wary of using too much nitrogen because some varieties may develop blossom-end rot. Instead, try applying half the recommended amount of all three nutrients combined (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium).
- Prune away dead foliage: Overgrown plants take away valuable space from healthy leaves. In addition to providing adequate light, pruning stimulates new growth through lateral branching. Take off old growth anytime you notice yellowing leaves or other disease symptoms. When pruning, cut back about 10 percent of the total leaf area. Then give the plant an entire month to recover before resprouting.
- Keep tabs on pests: Pests like aphids quickly spread among your indoor plants, especially via wind currents during the warmer seasons. They feed on the leaves, causing stunted growth and discoloration. Aphid infestations can easily be detected when small white spots appear on the underside of leaves. Spray them down in the late afternoon, just before darkness sets in. Follow the directions on the bottle label carefully because most insecticides only control individual insects. This could lead to unwanted side effects such as damage to neighboring plants.
Increase humidity levels: Because your houseplant is indoors, its environment lacks air circulation compared to
outdoor conditions. Since many geraniums are sensitive to high humidity, you should reduce humidity levels to between 40% and 50%. Make sure there aren’t standing puddles anywhere near your plant. As soon as the weather warms up, adjust temperature settings accordingly.
- Repotting: When repotting a plant, remove dead roots first so they don’t grow into the new pot. Next, replant the entire root ball directly into a fresh medium. Never repot the plant after it has fully grown out of its container; otherwise, it might lose its desired shape. It may also lead to overcrowding which stresses the plant’s roots and makes it prone to pest attacks. Before transplanting, soak your pots in lukewarm water overnight.
- Maintain a consistent temperature: A constant room temperature keeps plants happy, especially if temperatures fluctuate wildly throughout the year. It’s crucial to provide a steady supply of warm air without drafts. The ideal range is between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not place your plant next to radiators or heating vents. Not only could this cause overheating, but it can lead to heat stress, which is dangerous to many succulents. Your indoor plant doesn’t need direct sunlight, though it needs enough natural lighting.
More Issues to Watch Out for When Growing Geraniums
- Pests: Check your home regularly for bugs that might have made their way inside. Some common culprits include aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. Insecticide sprays help control these pests; however, follow instructions on the label closely. You may want to contact a professional exterminator if you spot large numbers of pests.
- Water Stress: Geraniums prefer soil with lots of moisture (50%-70%). Any less than that leads to wilting and brown tips. You can use a humidifier instead. However, excessive humidity encourages mold and mildew. To prevent this, spray daily with a solution consisting of one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water. Change it once every two weeks.
- Rot: The best cure for rot comes from regular feeding. Give your plant about six tablespoons of fertilizer twice a month. Be careful not to fertilize too often because frequent feedings increase a plant’s susceptibility to rot. Instead, apply a small amount once the plant shows signs of weakness. Alternatively, you can apply diluted fish emulsion, compost tea, or liquid kelp extract to your plants.
- Diseases: Prevent diseases by keeping your plants clean and well-fed. Using an organic mulch helps prevent soil-borne pathogens like fungi and viruses from taking over. And remember never to overwater your succulent; it will only encourage fungal growth.
Whether you live in a condo or a mansion, growing geraniums indoors isn’t difficult and provides many benefits. Using proper care methods, your plants won’t be affected by seasonal changes. A little love goes a long way even when you’re not at home.