First of all, let me clarify: When I say geraniums in this post, I really mean Pelargoniums. True geraniums are hardy to our zone and I don't do anything special to winter those over. They have come back reliably for several years now.
What many people call geraniums (myself included) really aren't geraniums. Those are the Pelargoniums, and those are not hardy here, so I have to do something if I want to keep them for the next year. In the past two years, I've overwintered them inside by either keeping them in a sunny south window or in the basement greenhouse. I've only lost one by doing that and I have seven or eight of them.
I've toyed with the idea of doing the drying thing, where you dig the plant before first frost, shake the dirt off the roots, cut them back a bit if they've gotten large, and hang them in a cool, dry, dark place until spring. Once a month or so, you spritz them with a little water. In the spring, you pot them up or plant them in the ground and start watering them. Miraculously, they spring to life.
My doubts and fears about doing this were allayed this past spring. One of my potted geraniums that I'd wintered over in the basement appeared to be just a dead stick stuck in hard, dry dirt. Somehow, it had gotten tucked in between two larger plants and had been missed when I watered them all. Instead of taking it out of the pot right away, I set it aside.
About a month later, I came upon the "stick in a pot" again and moved it a few feet away. Here, it inadvertently got watered whenever I watered a nearby shrub. Some time later, I remembered the neglected geranium. When I picked the pot up, you can imagine my surprise to see several small green leaves shooting out the stem near the base of the plant!
It was at this point that I decided when fall came and it was time to bring the geraniums in, I would try the drying and hanging method. And that's just what I'm doing. If that poor neglected geranium can survive an entire winter without water and yet another several weeks in the sun outside without water, I think we'll be okay.
I'd love to hear about your experiences with this method of overwintering geraniums. Did you have good results? Any other things I should know about using this method? I'd sure hate to lose my 'Mr. Wren.'