Pelargonium The Boar

Pelargoniums - Grow Guide

We show you all there is to know about growing pelargoniums in this detailed grow guide.

Pelargoniums have the common name of geranium. Theses tender, evergreen perennials are grown as part of bedding and container displays, as house plants and greenhouse specimens.

Adored for their reliable summer flowers and the vast variety offered, gardeners can choose from ivy-leaf, regal, scented-leaf, zonal, climbing, species and many more types. Within these groups there are many modern and heritage varieties.
For success, pelargoniums need to be overwintered in a frost-free place.

Discover how to grow pelargoniums in this handy grow guide, below. 

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Planting position

Pelargoniums can be grown in garden soil of any types but will benefit from a neutral or alkaline soil. Grow in a position of full sun in containers, hanging baskets or flower beds.

If growing under glass, protect them from direct sunlight in high summer.


Planting technique

When growing in containers choose a multi-purpose compost with added slow-release fertiliser. Pelargoniums look spectacular when planted with other summer bedding plants. If planted in a good compost and kept well-watered they'll withstand being planted tightly with other tender plants. 

Propagation

Take pelargonium cuttings from the new growth of overwintered plants in spring. Cuttings can be taken in late summer if preferred.

To remove cutting material, cut above the third joint below the growing tip. Pinch out any flowering buds that are forming. With a clean knife remove all but the top two leaves. Recut the base of the cutting just below lowest joint.

Fill a plastic garden pot with cutting compost and firm the compost down. Water and insert the cuttings into the compost by about 1cm. Position pots in a warm but not hot place that is light. Don’t forget to label the pot if you've taken cuttings from lots of different varieties. 

Troubleshooting

Zonal pelargoniums only are susceptible to pelargonium rust. This is a fungal disease that is often worse in wet summers or when plants have been grown in a poorly ventilated space. Rust is easily spotted as the underside of leaves displays brown spots.

Destroy plants that are covered in the brown spots or head to the garden centre to by a suitable fungicide.


Care

Water plants well in summer and deadhead to encourage a second flush of flowers.

Pelargoniums are often grown as annuals and are composted at the end of summer. If you have room in a frost-free place, then it's worth trying to keep them overwinter.

To overwinter, lift plants that are in garden soil or large pots and pot them into a smaller pot. This should be done before the first frost. Removed any damaged leaves and faded flowers. Cut plants back by about a third and position in a frost-free but bright place. The plants don’t go into complete dormancy so water lightly through the winter. In spring feed and step up the watering. Plant out only once the danger of frost has passed.

If growing pelargoniums as houseplants, you can let the plant carry on flowering, which they may do all year round. Keep indoor pelargoniums away from radiators or open fires.


Red secateurs

Pelargoniums for scent

For scent grow the scented-leaved pelargoniums. Choose from apple, orange, lemon, spice or lavender. They're often sold as herbs as the leaves are edible.


Pelargonium 'Attar of Roses'
Pelargonium 'Attar of Roses'

Pelargoniums to grow

  • Pelargonium ‘Cramden Red’ – a zonal type with bright red flowers over green foliage. Height 50cm
  • Pelargonium ‘Crocodile’ – an ivy leaved type with a trailing habit. Stunning marked foliage – hence the name crocodile. Bright pink flowers. Height of 25cm
  • Pelargonium ‘Bold Shade’ – a new dwarf type with shocking pink flowers of two tones. Reaches just 18cm
  • Pelargonium ‘Ada Green’ – deep maroon and light pink flowers. A regal types that reaches 20cm

Related content

Taking pelargonium cuttings

How to take cuttings from pelargoniums

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