How to Grow Pelargonium Plants

Guide to Growing Geranium and Storksbill

Gardeners love to grow Pelargonium species as they have long lasting blooms of white, red, orange, pink or varicolored flowers.

They are half hardy perennials that are normally grown as a half hardy annual by gardeners.

They bloom from the second half of spring through to the first frost of winter

peppermint Scented Geranium

Plants range in height from 15 cm to over a metre (6 to 40 inches). The common name used for Pelargonium is Geranium.

Pelargonium by Blumenbiene

Pelargonien by David Jones

Pelargonium Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Geranium, Pelargonium, Scented Geranium, Storksbill, Rose Geranium.
Major cultivars: Angel; Ivy-leaved; Shrubby leaved; Regal; Unique; and Zonal.
Life Cycle: Half hardy perennial commonly grown as a half hardy annual by gardeners.
Height: 6 to 40 inches (15 to 100 cm).
Native: Southern Africa, Australasia, Middle East.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10. As a perennial in zones 9 and 10.

Flowers: Spring, summer and autumn until first frost.
Flower Details: Red, white, pink, purple, orange. Umbels. Five petals. Funnels. Stars.
Foliage: Alternate. Lobed. Palmate.

Sow Outside: Only in warm areas. Cover seed. One week after the last frost. Spacing 8 to 20 inches (20 to 50 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time: up to three weeks. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Two months before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors a couple of weeks after the last frost.

Requirements: Full sunlight. Soil pH 6 to 7. Rich soil for best results. Moist soil. Monthly feed. Regular watering. Pinch tips of young plants. Deadhead for prolonged blooming. Perennials can be potted and brought indoors for the winter. Propagate from cuttings.
Family: Geraniaceae.
Miscellaneous: Do not confuse this genus with Geranium; the Cranesbills. Members of the Geranium genus are usually referred to as hardy geraniums, and include common garden species such as Cranesbill. This genus is also closely related to Erodium plants such as Heron's Bill

How to Grow Geranium Pelargonium Plants in the Garden

It is probably best to start off Geranium (Pelargonium) from seed indoors, unless you live in a warm area.

The seeds should be sown about two months before the last frost of spring is expected.

The seeds of Geranium should be lightly covered, and germinated in the light at 21 to 24 degrees centigrade (70 to 75°F).

Once growing, the young plants should be cut back. It should take from less than a week to three weeks for Geranium to germinate.

Once ready, transplant the young Geraniums outdoors with a spacing from 30 to 45 cm (12 to 18 inches) apart in mid spring, following the last frost of spring.

In general, most Geraniums prefer to grow in sunny conditions. The exception being variegated Geranium species; these should be grown in lightly shaded areas.

They like to grow in moist soil that has good drainage. Best results are gained from using a rich soil of pH 6 to 7, but this is not essential as Geraniums will grow in an ordinary soil fairly successfully.

Pelargonium carnosum growing at Kew Gardens

Maintaining and propagating Geraniums and Pelargonium

Once growing it is important to keep the soil that Geraniums grow in moist by regular watering.

They will also require to be fed once a month with a liquid fertiliser. For best results deadhead the old flowers to maintain a glorious blooming display.

Geraniums do not like the cold, so it is best to bring them indoors in the winter.

During their period indoors, the soil should be kept slightly moist, but do not over water them.

To propagate Pelargonium, take cuttings with five leaves. Strip the bottom leaves, to leave a cutting with two leaves and plant in a pot. Next, cover the pot with a plastic bag to create humidity.

Leave be until roots have formed, then remove the plastic bag and grow / transplant into the garden when ready.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Pelargonium plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow true Geraniums, Galanthus, and Geranium sanguineum plants.