Geraniums are hardy
perennials and should not be confused with annual geraniums which are in the
genus pelargonium. The perennial geraniums grow 4 inches to 2 and a half feet
tall depending on the species grown. The leaves are cut and can be almost
fern-like. The smaller species may be used in the rock garden. Taller types
are not invasive like some other perennials. The flowers are usually 1 to 2
inches in diameter. Flowering is best when the plants are grown in full sun
although they tolerate some shade. 'Johnson's Blue' will produce vivid blue
flowers over a long period of time if the spent blossoms are regularly
Geranium seeds will
germinate without light. Just sow them in flats of potting mix, cover with
plastic, and put them in a warm place for 10-14 days (or until they've
sprouted). Then remove the plastic and place them in a brightly lit area.
Geranium seeds prefer heat (70F) when germinating.
Geranium ibericum is one
of the hardy geraniums and should flower all summer and into the fall.
Pinching off the spent flowers should encourage more blossoms. The plants grow
best in full sunshine and get along with only a little water and very little
fertilizer. Allow the first inch of soil to dry out before applying water to
your geraniums, and use a low-nitrogen fertilizer in mid-summer. (5-10-10 is a
complete fertilizer that's low in nitrogen). Stressing the plants just a
little should result in more blooms. (The last thing a plant does before it
dies is set seed to continue the species - it has to produce flowers in order
to set seed.)
As a group
the scented geraniums are not difficult to grow as houseplants on
a sunny window sill. The rose scented is a favorite and seems to
be quite vigorous, for example.
need a bright location, grow well in a good quality soilless
potting mix, need to be watered only when the soil begins to dry
out a bit, and can be fertilized during the growing season with an
all purpose water soluble fertilizer for houseplants according to
the label instruction.
common problems are lack of light, overwatering, and
overenthusiastic repotting before they have outgrown the old pot.
The plants can be trimmed back and pinched as needed to encourage
bushiness, this is usually done as a routine thing each spring
because they tend to get leggy during the shorter winter days, and
then occasionally if needed during the summer.
They can be
summered outside if you like, set them in a partial shade, dappled
light or morning sun location. (Full sun all day is usually too
much for them.) Many of the scented geraniums tend to stay on the
small side and the blooms are not too exciting as a rule, so the
decorative appearance of the foliage can be important in your
easily rooted and many people enjoy collecting and sharing the
a houseplant can be propagated by cuttings. The best time to try
is in the spring. Take a branch tip about four to six inches long,
cutting just below a node or the spot where leaves emerge from the
leaves from the bottom two thirds of the piece, and let it sit out
in the air for a day or two to callous a bit.
Then dip the
cut end in rooting hormone (sold in garden centers) and stick it
upright into a clean pot of barely damp soilless potting mix.
About a third of the cutting should be above the soil.
lightly to eliminate air pockets and wrap it in clear plastic or
set a plastic dome over top, and put the pot in a warm bright spot
out of direct sun. (Direct sun would overheat it.) The cover
should maintain humidity, but open it occasionally to check that
the soil is still barely damp and to allow for air exchange. Prop
it open if there is excessive condensation. Roots should form in a
few weeks. Gradually remove the cover and move the plant into very
bright direct light and begin fertilizing with a dilute water
plants are so much fun, why not try one or two and see how it works for you!