Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Geraniums! Pelargoniums! What Do You Call These Things Anyways?

Geraniums are confusing!

The name, Geraniums, is commonly used for the big, colourful annual plants that are available in garden centres in springtime. Most people are familiar with these wonderful plants that bring a burst of instant colour to the garden! But these are not true Geraniums. Although in the Geraniaceae Family, They actually belong to the Genus, Pelargonium. Pelargoriums are easy to grow and are great for beginners. They love a sunny location, are drought resistant and continuously blooming. They can be propagated by taking cuttings from the parent plant. These Geraniums are usually not frost hardy and need to be taken indoors or treated as an annual.

Family: Geraniaceae. Genus: Pelargonium.

Common Name: Geranium

The plants that belong to the Genus, Geranium, are a huge group of over 400 species. Sometimes called Cranesbills because of the shape of the seed pods. These pods look like a crane's bill and are specially designed to spring open when ripe in order to disperse the seeds. These true Geraniums are hardy perennials. They spread by rhizomes as well as seeds, but they are not invasive. They like a partly sunny location, but are not fussy as to soil conditions. They are happy to grow in just about any kind of soil. Their leaves are a pretty light green colour and have a wonderful toothed appearance which provides an interesting contrast to other garden foliage. If the flowers are cut back after blooming, these plants will continue to flower right through to the fall.

They are available in many colours ranging from pinks to purples and blues. I have two kinds in my garden. I love the blue-coloured ones. I find them so inspirational.

Family: Geraniaceae. Genus: Geranium.
Common Name: Hardy Geraniums, Cranesbill Geraniums.

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