The Different Types Of Geraniums

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Geraniums are one of the more popular and versatile plants in the world of flowers. Geraniums come in an assortment of colors and leaf shapes. They can be grown in flowerbeds, containers, hanging baskets and window boxes. Geraniums also come in various sizes from six inches tall to several feet.

General Care for Geraniums

Geraniums are an easy to care for plant that requires little maintenance. As long as geraniums are planted in the proper soil, receive adequate water and get the right amount of sunshine and fertilizer, plants will reward you with beautiful and colorful blooms. The best time to plant new geraniums in the yard is in late spring after the danger of frost is past. Young plants that have been damaged by the cold will turn red and will not grow. When planting geraniums, plant in a well-draining, porous and well-aerated soil. When growing geraniums in a container, use containers with drainage holes, plant in a well-draining soil mix and do not let the containers sit in water.

Geraniums need at least four hours of sunshine a day and, in hotter climates, should be kept out of the sun during the hottest part of the day. Geraniums also require regular watering. When watering, give the plant enough water to drench the soil and let the soil dry out between waterings. If the plants are allowed to wilt, the leaves will turn yellow and drop off. But, don’t be alarmed; new leaves will soon sprout from the leaf nodes. Also, do not wet the leaves when watering. Moist foliage on a geranium can lead to diseases.

Geraniums also require regular fertilizing to grow well and to promote flower blooms. When planting geraniums for the first time, amend the soil with one pound of10-20-10fertilizer for every 100 square feet of garden space. Geraniums will turn yellow if the plants to do get enough nitrogen. Also, during the growing seasons, use a water-soluble fertilizer every four to six weeks. To keep geraniums blooming through the summer, pinch off the dead flowers.

If you want to add more geranium plants to a garden, start new plants from cuttings. The best time to take cuttings is in the late summer around August.

different types of geraniums different types of geraniums

Follow these steps to successfully propagate geraniums:

  • Cut a four inch length of stem from the tip of the stem. Cut just below a leaf node.
  • Remove all but the top three to fives leaves.
  • Place the cuttings one inch deep in a rooting mixture, such as perlite or a mixture of sand and sphagnum moss and water thoroughly.
  • Set the cuttings in a north or east facing window for three or four weeks until rooted. Water sparingly; make the cuttings “reach” for the water to encourage root growth.

In areas that have freezing winters, geraniums can be dug out of the ground in late fall and brought indoors for the winter. After digging the plants out of the ground, prune away half of the foliage, plant in containers and set the geraniums in a sunny window.

Garden Geraniums

Garden geraniums are also referred to as common or zonal geraniums. These geraniums have variegated leaves and large white, pink, red or salmon blossoms. The leaves may be dark or light green with white or silver patterns. The flowers may be single or double blossomed. Here are some garden geraniums that perform well:

  • Seed propagated geraniums that are easy to grow include Ringo, Bandit, Elite, Orbit, Pinot, Multibloom and Lone Ranger.
  • There are several varieties of red geraniums including Kim, Mars, Tango, Yours Truly and Sincerity.
  • Pink varieties include Cherry Blossom, Helena, Katie, Pink Expectations, Pink Satisfaction and Rio.

Ivy-leafed Geraniums

Ivy-leafed geraniums grow best in cooler climates. These geraniums have a trailing growth habit which makes these plants the perfect pick for hanging baskets and window boxes. Mix ivy-leafed geraniums with other sun loving annuals such as petunias, trailing vinca and sweet alyssum. Their waxy dark green leaves resemble ivy and the small flowers come in pink, red, lavender, salmon and white. Because ivy-leafed geraniums cannot tolerate hotter temperatures (over 85 degrees), place ivy-leafed geraniums in an east or north facing location that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. Soil should be kept evenly moist. Here are some hardy ivy-leafed geraniums:

  • Ivy-leafed geraniums grown from seed include Tornado and Summer Shower.
  • Those grown from cuttings include Alpine, Global, Standard, Cascade and Blizzard.
  • Other hardy varieties include Beauty of Eastbourne, Cornell, Mexicana, Sybil Holmes, Salmon Queen and King of Balcon.

Scented-leafed Geraniums

Add fragrance to a garden or to the indoors with scented-leafed geraniums. To fully enjoy these fragrant plants, use as houseplants, plant along a walkway, add to a table top garden or arrange in containers around a patio. Scented-leafed geraniums have small, nondescript flowers and leaves that emit an aromatic scent that may resemble lemon, rose, chocolate, peppermint, nutmeg, coconut and apple flavors. Grow scented-leafed geraniums in full sun to develop the leaf oils. Scented-leafed geraniums are a favorite ingredient in sachets.

Regal Geraniums

Regal geraniums are commonly used as houseplants due to their low tolerance for warm temperatures. Regal geraniums prefer cooler weather and do not grow well in outdoor conditions. The flowers resemble two-colored azaleas and come in colors from purple black to vivid yellow. The leaves have crinkled edges. The plants have an upright and shrubby growth habit. For the flowers to stay in bloom, nighttime temperatures must be below 60 degrees. During the warmer summer months, the plant will quit flowering.

With over 200 species of geraniums and a large number of hybrids, there is a geranium for any indoor or outdoor garden. With proper care, this favorite garden plant will add color and beauty to any space.

Last Updated: June 7, 2012
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About Coletta Teske Coletta Teske has 25 years' experience in tech journalism, as well as home and gardening topics. She has freelanced for Fortune 500 companies such as Boeing and Microsoft, published more than two dozen computer books for Prima Publishing and Macmillan, and worked as a freelance correspondent for West Hawaii Today. Coletta has been an avid gardener since she was 2 years old. While living in Hawaii, she achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a certified master gardener.

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