How to Bring Plants Back From the Dead

Damaged zonal geraniums brought back to life with organic fertilizers

Working the Magic on Zonal Geraniums

This is a Zonal Geranium plant in a 19″ pot from 2016. It was cut back and over-wintered in this pot in my garage and did not do well in there. Initially, I was going to dig it out and replant it.

I did a few things to bring the plant back to life:

The plant is healthy! I have never seen so many blooms on a Geranium!

It has been very productive in shooting up new bloom heads. Usually you have to dead head a Geranium to the point where it is a green plant for a bit. This has not been the case. I believe that the life of the bloom is just lasting longer. Part of the reason is the low % of nutrients compared to synthetic water-soluble fertilizers (which I have always used). The colors are as vibrant as ever too (no filter on the picture!).

This plant is not in an ideal location; it is on the south side of the house. It lies in direct shade of 2 trees until late morning, gets a lot of afternoon sun, then goes back to shade in the early evening.


Zonal geraniums bursting with life and vibrant color after our treatmentsZonal Geranium Brought Back After Being Winterized Twice

This one is from 2015 (over-wintered twice) and was planted in a flower bed both years. I did not treat this one very well over-wintering it. It was dug up, after the first freeze, so it was not a happy camper. I pretty much thought it was a goner. I put some dirt in an Ace Hardware bucket and shoved the root ball down inside of it. During the three months it was in the garage, I watered it only a few times. It had a bunch of whacky “no-sun” growth and a little bit of mold.

I removed half of the soil that was in this pot and replaced it with FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Mix when I replanted it from the Ace bucket. Then I fertilized it in the same manner as the above plant:

You can see that the plant is well beyond the 19″ opening, as it is a year older than the other one. Look at all the blooms and how vibrant they are.


Grow healthy tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchinisEnrich Your Vegetable Gardens

I mixed in a couple of bags of Garden Valley Planting Compost into the garden bed along with some leftover Lilly Miller pelletized lime in March. We ended up planting the tomatoes, zucchinis, and cucumbers in April, yes too early and they did struggle early on.

They were planted directly into the existing soil bed. After they were planted, I cultivated in some Happy Frog Tomato and Veggie Fertilizer and watered in with Neptune’s Harvest Tomato and Veg Formula; both of these have elemental calcium which is crucial in avoiding disease.

I have been fertilizing every couple of weeks – no set schedule, just when I feel like I have a few extra minutes to mix up 2 gallon jugs. Recently, I have introduced the Neptune’s Harvest Fish and Seaweed formula. Also, I have worked in some more Happy Frog Tomato & Veggie Fertilizer into the drip line in the last couple of weeks. I pinched off all bloom sets off of all plants until a month ago. I have pulled a couple of zucchinis off (they were excellent in flavor) and as you can see in the picture, the tomato plant is beyond the 5-foot HD plant support – yes a foot of it is in the ground, but that plant is over 5 feet tall. Plus there are hundreds of blossoms on it!

Both the zucchini and cucumber are really healthy. No leaf blight or mildew on either.

No insecticide of any kind has been used on any of these plants and they are all organic.

Again, a nice slow diet of nutrients instead of high octane, high nitrogen fertilizers.