A plant that’s comfortable with both indoor and outdoor growing, scented geraniums don’t have sophisticated watering requirements.
But not everyone knows how often to water them or what a good watering regimen means.
Some of the watering tips I’m going to discuss in this article apply not only to scented geraniums, but to many other plants as well.
Practicing good watering practices will help your pelargoniums grow strong and healthy.
Watering requirements can be different for pelargoniums, depending on where you’re
keeping them and local weather conditions. Different pelargonium varieties can also have slightly different watering requirements.
The general rule for watering scented geraniums is as follows: water deeply whenever the soil starts to feel dry.
Don’t water from above, water only at the base. This is to avoid having moisture on the leaves, which can become a breeding ground for fungi.
If you check the soil of geraniums, it will tell you if you should water or not. A bit of moist soil is not going to be harmful for scented geraniums. What’s important is to avoid wet soil.
The best approach is to wait for the soil to start drying before watering again. If your scented geranium is dehydrated, leaves will start to turn yellow, then brown, and finally fall off.
A geranium that’s a bit dehydrated can still be nursed back to health by putting it on a regular watering schedule.
Ivy-leaf scented geraniums have a better drought tolerance because of the waxy surface of their leaves, which allows them to store more water than other scented geraniums.
I mentioned how the location and weather conditions can also influence water intake. In hotter climates, the soil will probably dry out faster than in cooler climates, so you’ll need to water more often.
If you’ve planted your pelargonium in full sun, evaporation will happen faster, and you’ll also need to water more often.
All things considered, the dryness of the soil along with an examination of the leaves (are they droopy?, turning yellow?, etc.) are reliable indicators whether you should water geraniums or not.
Best Time of Day to Water Geraniums
The best time of day to water geraniums is in the morning. Preferably, in the early morning. This will make sure the plant is hydrated throughout the day.
It will also give the chance for any moisture on the leaves to dry before the night. This is important because when a hot day is followed by a cooler night, it can trigger favorable conditions for several types of leaf fungi.
There are opinions that it’s okay to water scented geraniums even in the evenings. This approach could work too, especially if you forgot to water geraniums in the morning, but I wouldn’t say it’s the ideal time for watering.
The problem with watering in the evening is that the soil stays moist for longer than if you watered in the morning. This isn’t necessarily bad, but some scented geraniums may not enjoy having their soil too moist.
Then there is the issue of water potentially getting on the leaves, which can also take longer to dry increasing the risk of fungal problems.
Apart from these, there’s no other good argument why you shouldn’t water scented geraniums in the evenings.
Whether you choose to water in the mornings or in the evenings, avoid watering scented geraniums at noon, when the sun is the strongest.
This also has to do with moisture and full sun making some types of fungi flourish.
Is Rainwater Good for Geraniums?
Rainwater is good for geraniums, there are a few caveats, however.
For potted scented geraniums, excess rainwater can mean that the roots of the plant sit in water too long, which can cause rotting.
Then there is the problem of rain followed by strong sunshine like after a summer storm, which can cause fungal leaf issues in some geraniums.
Not to mention that heavy rain can also damage the soft-petaled blooms of scented geraniums.
Other than these, rainwater contains trace amounts of nitrates that are beneficial for plant growth and other elements that tap water simply can’t compete with.
If you can collect rainwater and water your geraniums with it, you’d be doing them a favor since watering with chlorinated or fluoridated tap water isn’t ideal for these plants.
How Long Can Geraniums Go Without Watering?
It’s hard to tell how long your scented geranium can go without water since there are so many factors influencing the plant’s drought-resistance.
One thing is certain — you don’t need to water scented geraniums every day. You also shouldn’t allow the soil to become bone dry or allow the leaves to wilt.
That said, if it’s not too hot outside or it isn’t too sunny — conditions that can increase evaporation — and your scented geranium is otherwise in good health, it can probably last a week or two without much damage to it.
Ivy-leaf geraniums may last even longer because of the leaf structure that reduces evaporation.
You can revive a droopy and wilted geranium by watering it deeply, then waiting for the soil to dry a bit before watering again.
Watering Geraniums in Winter
If you moved your pelargoniums indoors for the winter, but without allowing them to dry out, you should continue watering them, but reduce the frequency. You should aim to keep the compost just slightly moist in winter.
If you’ve taken cuttings to overwinter, these should be watered normally to promote root development.
As you can see, there are quite a few things to consider when watering plants. If you don’t follow all these tips, your scented geranium will still probably do all right.
But if you have the curiosity or time to implement these tips, your pelargoniums will certainly reward you with more luscious growth.
As for how often to water scented geranium plants, it’s only you who can answer that. Based on how quickly the compost dries and how well the plant is doing in the climate or location you’re growing it, you can make an assessment of how often to water.