understanding pelargonium groups
Pelargoniums can be split into 7 different groups. These groups are all quite distinct and by understanding the groups you will be better placed to choose the correct variety for your garden. Pelargoniums are sometimes (incorrectly) called geraniums but true geraniums are a separate type of herbaceous plants.
Angel Pelargoniums make attractive, bushy plants having small round leaves and pansy or viola like flowers. They always flower in profusion and can be grown as a pot plant or in hanging baskets. They can also be used outside as summer bedding either by themselves or as mixed planting. Angels are easy to overwinter requiring minimum frost free conditions and good light. Feed with a high potash feed during the growing season and deadhead regularly.
e.g. Pelargonium 'Cottenham Wonder'
A lot of these varieties date back to Victorian times although there are modern varieties as well. The plant type in this group is very varied which makes them interesting and worthwhile growing, with various flower forms in a wide range of colours. They make excellent pot plants for growing in conservatories. They can also be grown as specimen plants. They are invaluable for summer container growing as no matter what the shape or size of your container there will be a Decorative to fill it.
Ivy-Leaved Pelargoniums originate from P. peltatum, and are so called because they have the characteristic trailing form of ivy. The leaves are generally glossy in appearance and the trailing habit can be anywhere from 15cm to 2 metres according to the variety. Ideally suited to hanging baskets or anywhere that requires a plant with a trailing habit. As it is a perennial, it is far more tolerant in summer bedding schemes than many of the usual bedding plants. It also has an extended flowering season much longer than annual summer bedding.
Regal Pelargoniums are the other large group in the pelargonium family. They are quite different to the zonal types. They have some of the most colourful flowers in this genus of plants, truly everything from black to white. They make excellent plants for the amateur to grow, as they require only frost free conditions in the winter. The low light and short day conditions actually help to grow a good plant without budding prematurely. They are some of the earliest Pelargoniums to flower in the spring and with regular feeds of high potash they will flower all summer either as a pot plant in the house or glasshouse or in a container in a summer garden display.
Pelargonium Species are native to South Africa, where they grow from the seashore to the more mountainous regions, because of this each one is as different and diverse as the areas they grow naturally in. When grown in your own garden environment, given their individual requirements, they will thrive making them interesting and unusual plants to grow.
e.g. Pelargonium sidoides
The Unique Pelargoniums are very similar to the Scented Leaved Pelargoniums but with more attractive flowers both in colour and form. Many of them have been around since the beginning of the 19th century. When they were used as early type bedding plants. They respond to the type of cultivation where you are able to keep an older plant from year to year, as they seem to flower better on old wood. To keep the plant in good shape prune by half each year and feed copiously with high potash feed during the growing season.
Scented-leaf Pelargoniums have attractive leaves which are perfumed with agreeable and interesting scents. They bloom in spring and early summer usually with smaller flowers than some of the other hybrids but as they grow in profusion this adds to their charm. There are many different shapes and sizes of plants which makes this group fascinating to grow. They propagate easily from cuttings and can be grown as decorative pot plants inside or outside in the summer. They respond very well to regular feeds of high potash during the growing season.
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