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Pelargonium planting and growing

Pelargonium. - To this genus belong the plants known as geraniums--the most satisfactory of house-plants, and extensively used as bedding plants. No plants will give better returns in leaf and flower; and these features, added to the ease of propagation, make them general favorites. The common geranium is one of the few plants that can be bloomed at any time of the year.

There are several main groups of pelargoniums, as the common "fish geraniums" (from the odor of the foliage), the "show" or Lady Washington pelargoniums, the ivy geraniums, the thin-leaved bedders (as Madame Salleroi), and the "rose" geraniums.

Cuttings of partially ripened wood of all pelargoniums root very easily, grow to blooming size in a short time, and, either planted out or grown in a pot, make fine decorations. The common or fish geraniums are much more satisfactory when not more than a year old.

Take cuttings from the old plants at least once a year. In four or five months the young plants begin to bloom. Plants may be taken up from the garden and potted, but they rarely give as much satisfaction as young, vigorous subjects; new plants should be grown every year. Repot frequently until they are in 4-to 5-inch pots; then let them bloom.

The show pelargoniums have but one period of bloom, usually in April, but they make up in size and coloring. This section is more difficult to manage as house-plants than the common geranium, needing more direct light to keep it stocky, and being troubled by insects. Still, all the trouble taken to grow the plants will be well repaid by the handsome blossoms. Take cuttings in late spring, after flowering, and blooming plants may be had the following year. Good results are sometimes secured by keeping these plants two or three years. Cut back after each blooming season.

For house culture the geraniums need a fertile, fibrous loam, with the addition of a little sand; good drainage is also an essential.