Somewhat of a stalwart in many gardens Geraniums are a plant that are generally easy to grow, a plant that do well in tough conditions.
Grown in containers, in the garden as well as in hanging baskets, with so many different varieties and flower colors you can find a geranium to fit any gardening situation.
Hardy geraniums or ‘Cranesbills’ are the most popular and these can easily be grown from cuttings.
Some clever use of recycled tin cans, and some colorful red geraniums against a white wall make a stunning display.
A Seasonal Guide to Growing Pelargoniums and Geraniums
Summer is they growing season, plants will be flowering and putting on lots of new foliage.
It is the time to fertilize on a regular basis.
Pelargoniums are used to a dryish summer, so they will survive with little extra water. However they will thrive and produce better flowers if you water deeply every week of two. At the same time ensure drainage is good.
Through summer you can prune away spent flower heads and even prune lightly to shape the plant if required. In mid to late summer you can prune back hard and use the material for cuttings if you wish.
You can tip prune to encourage a busy habit. A little fertiliser every few weeks as well.
Growth will be slow, however depending on the climate a little tip pruning for the first month and then stop.
The reason you need to stop pruning is to allow the flower buds to develop.
This is an important time in terms of watering. Try to avoid outer head watering, this will keep the new flower buds dry and prevent any chance of disease or bud rot.
So keep moist but not wet. A little liquid seaweed fertiliser only during spring.
The Geranium family has five varieties or Genera.
The two best known are Geranium and Pelargonium
The ‘True Geranium’ are the ones we call “Cranesbills”
Pelargoniums are made up of a number of different varieties, these include
- Regal Pelargonium.
- Zonal Pelargonium.
- Ivy Leaf.
- Scented Leaf.
Sarcocaulon, Monsonia and Erodium are the other three varieties, rarely seen in the garden, however they are related and are available.
So from 1576 when Geraniums were first named and recorded, it took only 50 years for the first hybrids to be produced. After 500 years of development, geranium varieties are still being developed.
How to Take Pelargonium and Geraniums Cuttings
- Like all cuttings you need to make sure you use sharp sterilised tools.
- Secateures or a sharp knife work well.
- Clean the blades well and dip them in Methylated spirits in between cuts.
- Look to stems with good healthy growth and go down to the 4th leaf joint. Make a clean square cut.
How to Strike the Cuttings
- Cuttings strike easily in normal potting mix.
- Again, moist but not wet.
- If you can provide some humidity the strike rate rate improve.
- Generally you will see good root growth in 6 weeks.
- Having said that, my grandmother used to simply snap of pieces and stick them in the ground. It seemed to work well for her.
Where to buy
Geranium plants are available for sale from online nurseries :
DIGGING DOG NURSERY – phone (707) 937-1130
PO Box 471 Albion CA 95410
Includes: Geranium x oxonianum, Geranium x magnificum, Geranium x cantabrigiense, Geranium wallichianum, Geranium sinense, Geranium renardii and others.