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Can you help me assess the health of this geranium please ?

I believe this is a a rather old plant, maybe 10 years old, it has been a year now i am taking care of it. A year back when i found him, it was a pair of branch and leaf, it was not in good shape. Because i knew it was old soil, i layered organic matter on top of the soil, and gave the plant some NPK. During late winter and early spring it was subject of slugs attacks, so i tried my best to manually get ride of them. In late spring and until mid summer it was flowering wonderfully and I was very happy to see it so big and so colorful. During that time i regularly checked for butterflies, i found a pair of cocoons and caterpillar. I got ride of them asap.

I also noticed that in some places the plant was turning black inside. But i am unclear what that means because i can still some growth. For the last three weeks it has entered a kind of vegetative phase, the holes in leaves are not increasing, not much, it is not flowering again, it is making new greens (slowly).

Unfortunately, while doing the cuttings to write this post, i found one caterpillar...... No idea where it come from. Seems dead... so bad....

thanks for your input!

the big guy

leaves with holes

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some leaves are healthy

some growth !!

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color of the water after (good) watering

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a cut with black stuff inside

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the other side of the cut, nice green

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the friend i found while doing pictures for this post. he is super lazy but still alive..... : (

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the cuts i plan to to

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so i should get ride of branches with black hole in it, such as

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I hop it will also help this plant to have a better shape, because it has grew two big branches in opposite directions and this is not so nice.

Following is the plant 12 days after the cut, very nice greeny leaves are coming out, thanks again.

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I can't tell if your Pelargonium is planted in a pot that has holes in the base - you may have it in a pot with holes sitting inside that china container, but if not, you need to move it to a pot with drainage holes. It looks as if it needs more root room anyway, so a slightly bigger pot than the one it's currently in is a good idea - use fresh potting soil to pack round the root ball in the new pot. Water thoroughly after repotting, but allow the pot to drain down freely, letting excess water flow out from the drainage holes. Your plant also needs cutting back, removing the bare woody stems to encourage new growth from the base, but unfortunately, it is a bit late in the growing season to do that now - it may not recover sufficiently before the weather turns colder. You should, though, remove spent flowers,not least to stop fallen petals collecting on the soil - they should just snap off at the base of the stem, where they join the rest of the plant, or if they are old, just come off easily when you pull on them.

I note there is some debris sitting on top of the soil, at the base of the stems - always remove any debris, including fallen leaves or anything else from the top of the soil. Pelargonium hates being too wet and require good airflow around them - they will quite easily succumb to fungal infections if their roots are too wet, or if there is debris sitting on the soil they're growing in, or are growing in a crowded space with insufficient sunlight and poor airflow. If the pot it's in doesn't have drainage holes, then it would have been difficult to get the watering right - too much and there's nowhere for excess water to go other than sitting round the roots. This could explain the black parts in the stems. In a pot with drainage holes, it's important to empty any outer pot or tray of excess water 30 minutes after watering, so the plant is not left sitting in water.

It looks as though something has been grazing on the leaves of the plant as well as nibbling holes in it - probably a caterpillar of some sort, though I am not sure what because these plants are not liked by lots of pests, but standing the pot on something to get it off the ground may help. In general, they are not damaged by slugs and snails, but can get thrips and aphids.

August/September is a good time to take cuttings, if you have somewhere to overwinter them, but you need the plant to have more strong growth in order to take cuttings. Repot now using fresh potting soil, and use a liquid fertilizer twice a week for 2 weeks (something like Miracle Gro will do, or Algoflash for geraniums), and make sure it receives as much sunlight as possible. Then wait and see if it manages to produce healthy new growth, and use that to make cuttings - instructions on how to do that here http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/propagation_pelargoniums1.shtml#:~:text=When%20to%20take%20cuttings,-If%20you've&text=You%20can%20increase%20the%20volume,plants%20in%20a%20few%20weeks. If you're wondering why I am talking about Pelargonium and not geranium, note that your plant is actually Pelargonium - geranium is an almost worldwide common name for these plants. That can sometimes be confusing, because there is a separate genus of plants with the botanical name Geranium; these are herbaceous perennial plants which are unrelated to Pelargonium.

  • the pot has drainage hole, i have watered the plant and took a picture of the released water to demonstrate it was not "polluted" by a nutrient solution or anything similar. Indeed the flowers just fall on the ground when they are done. I put them back in the pot to give it food for later. – mh-cbon Aug 2 '20 at 15:06
  • OK so in your opinion it is not going to die soon and i should just give it more appropriate care. Well, that s good news even though the repot will be difficult. I did not understand why you would insult my pot and chinese people that way. It is unfair, none of those did choose to implement the economic system the way it is. I gently ask you to think twice about that. friendly. thank you for your interest and input about those matters. – mh-cbon Aug 2 '20 at 15:12
  • No insult to your pot nor 'chinese people (where'd you get that idea from?!)' in my post, either said, implied, or intended - if its got holes, its fine, though the plant still needs a slightly larger pot. Doesn't matter what type of pot, French, German, Chinese, British, whatever, so long as it has drainage holes. You have simply been given horticultural advice in answer to your question. And no, your plant is not currently dying, though it will if left outdoors all winter, unless you live somewhere with very mild winters. – Bamboo Aug 2 '20 at 17:05
  • Looking again at the pot, irrespective of its 'nationality', you may have a problem taking the plant out of the pot because its narrower at the top than it is lower down... – Bamboo Aug 2 '20 at 17:12
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    It has occurred to me that, if English is not your first language, you may have jumped to an erroneous conclusion - where I said 'china pot', that is not a reference to whether the pot is chinese or not. China in the sense I have used it simply refers to the material the pot is made from, that is some sort of pottery, often made using what's known as china clay, as in crockery (cups, plates, saucers) pots, vases and all sorts of other objects/containers being made of china – Bamboo Aug 2 '20 at 17:48

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