About Geranium / Pelagonium

Pelargonium is a genus of flowering plants which includes about 200 species of perennials, succulents, and shrubs, commonly known as geraniums, pelargoniums, or storksbills. Confusingly, Geranium is the botanical name of a separate genus of related plants. Both genera belong to the family Geraniaceae.

Geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) are known for their attractive leaves and bright-colored flowers that bloom throughout the growing season. A warm weather plant. 

Geraniums come in a variety of sizes and shapes, ranging from trailing to upright and from 15cm to about 90cm high depending on the cultivar.

The single, double or semi-double flowers rise above the foliage and come in just about every color from purple to orange, red, white and lavender -- sometimes containing two colours. The foliage is just as variable, ranging from circular to segmented and lacy, and colored green, green and white, or combinations of red, yellow and orange. Many geraniums come with interesting scents as well.

  • The Common or Zonal Geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) thrives in containers (as well as outdoors).
  • Ivy-Leaf Geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum) are very popular for hanging baskets, window-boxes, and containers. 

General Care:

  • Allow to dry between waterings, then water thoroughly.
  • During the winter, water much less, but do not let the roots dry out.
  • To encourage blooming, deadhead spent flowers. 
  • To promote bushiness and avoid legginess, pinch the stems.
  • During active growing months, fertilize every 2 weeks. Use a water-soluble fertilizer at half strength. Don’t fertilize in winter.
  • Geraniums can be re-potted as needed during the spring to be refreshed.

Overwintering Geraniums

  • Geraniums that have spent the summer outdoors can be kept as houseplants, provided they get lots of sun. In northern climes, the sun may not be strong enough in late winter to stimulate buds on some varieties.
  • Before the first frost lift the plants and, using a sharp, clean knife, cut the stems back in a shapely fashion to about 15-20cm. They should not have to support great masses of leaves in the low sunlight environment they are about to enter. Save a few stems as cuttings to root, an easy way to multiply your plants. Also cut back the roots.
  • Transplant the “mother plant” to the smallest pot possible—enough to just fit the roots—using regular potting soil to fill.
  • Keep the plants in shade for a week, then place them in a sunny spot (they need all the sun they can get) and keep them cool.
  • Geraniums grow best with night temperatures of 10° - 15° Celsius but will survive if they drop to 0° C and/or rise above 27°F, as long as they are kept relatively dry.
  • When new growth appears, cut off all the old leaves.