How Cold can Geraniums Tolerate

How Cold can Geraniums Tolerate
Gracie Owens
Gracie Owens she/her - Author at YardPrep October 01, 2023

Geraniums are popular flowering plants known for their vibrant blooms and ability to thrive in various conditions. However, when it comes to cold temperatures, geraniums have different levels of tolerance depending on their species and varieties.

How Cold can Geraniums Tolerate

Geraniums can tolerate temperatures as low as 32°F (0°C) for short periods, but they thrive in temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C). Exposure to frost or prolonged cold can damage or kill geraniums, so it's best to bring them indoors or provide protection when temperatures drop below freezing.

Factors Affecting Geranium Cold Tolerance

1. Geranium Species and Varieties

There are several species and varieties of geraniums, each with its own level of cold tolerance. For example, the common garden geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum) is relatively sensitive to cold and can only withstand temperatures down to around 32°F (0°C). On the other hand, the perennial geranium (Geranium spp.) is more cold-hardy and can tolerate temperatures as low as -30°F (-34°C). It is important to know the specific species and variety of geranium you have to determine its cold tolerance.

2. Hardiness Zones

Hardiness zones are geographical areas that are categorized based on their average annual minimum temperatures. These zones provide valuable information for gardeners to determine the suitability of plants, including geraniums, in their specific region. Geraniums are typically hardy in zones 10-11, but some cold-tolerant varieties can survive in zones 7-9 with proper protection.

3. Temperature Range for Geraniums

Geraniums thrive in temperatures between 65°F (18°C) and 75°F (24°C). However, they can tolerate lower temperatures for short periods. Generally, geraniums can withstand temperatures as low as 40°F (4°C) without significant damage. However, prolonged exposure to temperatures below 40°F can cause cold damage to the plant.

4. Acclimation and Dormancy

Geraniums have the ability to acclimate to colder temperatures by gradually adjusting their physiological processes. As temperatures drop, geraniums enter a state of dormancy, where their growth slows down and energy is conserved. This dormancy period allows geraniums to survive winter and resume growth when temperatures become favorable again.

5. Protecting Geraniums from Cold

To protect geraniums from cold temperatures, several techniques can be employed. One method is to cover the plants with frost blankets or cloths to provide insulation. Another option is to mulch around the base of the plants to help retain soil warmth. In regions with extremely cold winters, it may be necessary to bring potted geraniums indoors or store them in a cool, dark place until spring.

6. Signs of Cold Damage

When geraniums are exposed to cold temperatures beyond their tolerance level, they may exhibit signs of cold damage. Common signs include wilting, discoloration of leaves, and blackening of stems. It is important to assess the severity of the damage to determine the appropriate course of action.

7. Rehabilitating Cold-Damaged Geraniums

If your geraniums have suffered cold damage, there are steps you can take to revive them. Start by removing any dead or damaged foliage and stems. Trim back the plant to encourage new growth. Provide adequate water and nutrients to support recovery. With proper care, geraniums have the ability to bounce back from cold damage.

8. Selecting Cold-Tolerant Geraniums

If you live in an area with colder winters, it is advisable to choose geranium varieties that are known for their cold tolerance. Look for varieties such as 'Rozanne' or 'Johnson's Blue' perennial geraniums, which are known to withstand colder temperatures. Consult with local nurseries or gardening experts for recommendations on cold-tolerant geranium varieties suitable for your region.


In conclusion, geraniums have varying levels of cold tolerance depending on their species and varieties. Understanding the specific cold tolerance of your geraniums is crucial for their survival in colder climates. By considering factors such as species, hardiness zones, temperature range, acclimation, and protection techniques, you can ensure the health and longevity of your geraniums even in chilly conditions.