There’s no doubt that the average UK garden has seen a good few Geranium plants in its lifetime (the technical Latin name is Pelargonium, yet they’re colloquially known as Geranium). This South African native will be popping up just about everywhere now that the last of the frosts have well and truly dissipated, and there’s one person who this pleases more than most! Jam Robinson (@jamthegardener) is today’s guest poster, who attributes his love of Geranium to childhood gardening memories… as we’re sure many of us do!
The good old Pelargonium. We see them every year in garden centres, nurseries and bursting people’s gardens full of lovely big blooms of colour. But they have to be considered as more than a traditional bedding plant.
One positive for me is that they’re a tender perennial. So, you can actually lift them up into pots and bring inside for over the winter months, where they’ll bring a dull gloomy windowsill to colourful life. I actually leave a few inside all year as houseplants and they certainly make for an eye catching display!
There are 3 main types of Pelargonium that we most commonly see, these being the ‘Zonal’, ‘Ivy leaved’ and ‘Regal’. The Zonals do a great job of being a houseplant, as do the Regals.
I incorporate Pelargoniums into my beds each summer, with big blooms of red, white and orange being the most common. I’ve incorporated these plants into my planting schemes every year since I began a love of horticulture at just 7 years old, in my Grandad’s garden. It’s the one plant I make sure I have seeds for every year. The childhood memories of the velvety leaves and the big balls of blooms are brought to life in the summer when they begin to flower in abundance!
Bees and other pollinators love them too! Insects use the wonderful foliage to hide and live amongst. Pelargonium thrive in pots too, and if in full sun, will give a summer-long display, especially with regular deadheading.
You can also easily take cuttings from the side shoots. This is best done from April. From there, you can create a wonderful Pelargonium display, both inside and out. These plants need to be considered for every garden, they grow happiest in full sun, but I’ve also found them to grow happy in places where other plants haven’t thrived. If there’s one plant you need in your perennial collection, it’s the humble Pelargonium, give them a look today!