546 Pelargonium x hortorumCommon Names: garden geranium, zonal geranium Family: Geraniaceae (geranium Family)
These tender perennials are one of our favorite bedding and container plants and are grown in almost every region of the country. These plants have succulent leaves and stems and may grow into small shrubs up to 3 feet high over time. The distinctive leaves in most varieties are circular, 2 to 3 inches in diameter and may be distinctively marked or banded. Varieties with semi-circular bands inspired the common name "horseshoe geranium". Geraniums boast spectacular displays of 4 to 5 inch diameter flower clusters composed of small florets arranged in a half sphere. Flower color ranges from white through pink to magenta. There are scarlets and lavenders I particularly like the salmon and orange varieties. Often the leaves are tinted to match the color of the flower, in other cases leaf color complements the blossom.
Our garden geraniums are hybrids derived from several species including Pelargonium inquinans and P. zonale, these are native to South Africa. These species were introduced into Europe in the early 18th century and hybridizers have been busy creating stunning new varieties ever since.
CulturePlant in ordinary well-drained soil. Plants grown in containers like to be rootbound. Overfertilization results in excessive foliage and few flowers. Light: Geraniums like bright sunny conditions. Moisture: Keep soil moist during hot weather. Allow to dry between waterings during cool periods. Constantly wet soil will quickly rot roots. Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 - 11. The geranium hybrids are tender perennials. They are grown as annuals in cooler zones. Plants can be dug and potted and brought inside for the winter. Some gardeners prefer to dig the plants and remove all of the soil from the roots. The roots are wrapped in newspaper and the plants placed in a cool dry place until spring. Propagation: Geraniums can be grown from seed or from cuttings.
Use geraniums in beds and borders. A wide range of colors is available to complement virtually any color scheme you desire. In southern California, geraniums are used as a colorful groundcover on slopes and lawns. They are excellent in containers of all types from small pots to large tubs to window boxes and combine well with other plants such as petunias and ivies. Geraniums are one of your best bets for use in hanging baskets.
Geraniums are prolific bloomers and are available in a wide range of colors. They are inexpensive, easy to propagate, and easy to care for.
Steve Christman 04/02/99