Friday, September 28, 2012

Pelargonium x Hortorum

Pelargoniums x hortorum (Common Geranium, Zonal Geranium, Bedding Geranium, or Geranium) are bushy perennials, very popular in containers, hanging baskets and garden landscapes due to their showy single, or double flowers with  red, dark red, salmon, violet, white, lavender, pink, rose, magenta or multi-color petals.

Pelargonium x hortorum "Moulin Rouge" flowers
Pelargonium x hortorum "Moulin Rouge" flowers

The botanical name is Pelargonium x hortorum but they are mostly known as zonal geranium or pelargonium zonale. There are many varieties available on the market and every year is bringing even more and more choices.

Pelargonium x hortorum Maverick Violet flowers
Pelargonium x hortorum "Maverick Violet" flowers

The leaves have zones of creamy, maroon, dark red or yellowish-green with various shape of zoning's.

Pelargonium x hortorum ( zonale) Simply Red flower
Pelargonium Zonale"Simply Red" flower

Pelargonium x hortorum ( zonale) Frank Headley flower
Pelargonium x hortorum "Frank Headley" flower
They are vigorous plants which make large flower heads exceeding pollen from spring to frost and are very attractive to bees and hummingbirds.  

We've  started from seeds many varieties of pelargonium x hortorum like: "Moulin Rouge", "Maverick Pink", "Maverick Violet", "Maverick Rose",  Frank Headley, "Simply Red" and  "Red Star", although they are also easy to propagate from cuttings (the traditional method).

Pelargonium x hortorum ( zonale) Maverick Violet flower
Pelargonium "Maverick Violet" flower with unusual heart-shaped markings on lower pettals

Growing Pelargonium "Moulin Rouge" from seeds was also our 2012 Raising Pelargoniums from seeds project as members of  Canadian Geranium & Pelargonium Society.

Pelargonium x hortorum Moulin Rouge  "2012 CG&PS project  - raising pelargonium from seeds "
Pelargonium x hortorum "Moulin Rouge"  "2012 CG&PS project  - raising pelargonium from seeds "

Scarifying the seed before planting helped aid germination (to 1-2 weeks to germinate and sprout). As we said many times, growing pelargoniums from seeds is sometimes challenging and time consuming, but very rewarding; plants grown from seed are generally more vigorous than cuttings.

Pelargonium x hortorum " Simply Red" flowers - zonal geranium
Pelargonium x hortorum " Simply Red" flowers

Removing the entire flower stalk after the flower fades and gathering the seeds encourage more blooms, and, believe me, they are prolific bloomers almost year round.

Pelargonium x hortorum are easy to raise, disease and over-watering resistant and withstand a wider temperature range than scented leaf pelargoniums. In Vancouver's climate, they may over-winter outside if the winter is mild (we succeeded last winter with some plants potted in jardinieres and  hanging baskets), although it is better to provide them some protection against winds and excessive rain (especially to those plants potted in shallow bonsai pots). 

Pink flower arrangement with Pelargonium zonale "Frank Headley"
Pelargonium zonale "Frank Headley"

On top of their hardiness and easy to care,  Pelargonium zonale (zonal geranium) are a vivid colored completion to our scented garden, and make appealing displays and eye-catching flower arrangements.

Flower arrangement with Pelargonium x hortorum  "Moulin Rouge"
Pelargonium zonale " Moulin Rouge"


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