Types of Geraniums

Geraniums are among the most popular flowers for home gardeners. Each spring and summer the aisles of garden centers are filled with every color and type of geranium for sale. Though often grown as annuals in the garden, geraniums will also thrive as houseplants with proper care and may be wintered inside and returned to the garden in the spring. Geraniums are prized for both their colorful blossoms and varied foliage.

Scented Geraniums

It's actually the leaves of these geraniums that are scented, not the blossoms. Though scented geraniums do produce blossoms, they're small and not very showy. These geraniums are grown for their scents, which may mimic mint, lemon, chocolate and various fruits. Popular varieties of scented geraniums include rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), apple geranium (Pelargonium odoratissima), lemon geranium (Pelargonium crispum) and mint geranium (Pelargonium tomentosum).

Zonal Geraniums

Also known as garden geraniums or common geraniums, zonal geraniums often have variegated leaves with patterns or dark and light green, white or silver. These are the geraniums most often cultivated in home gardens, with large, showy blossoms of white, pink, red or salmon. They may be single or double blossomed. Some favorite varieties of zonal geraniums are 'Cameo' (salmon), 'Melody Red' (red), 'Gypsy' (pink) and 'Lotus' (white).

Ivy Leaf Geraniums

These geraniums are trailing plants with dark green, lobed leaves that resemble ivy. They are popular additions to hanging baskets and window boxes. They like cooler temperatures than zonal geraniums. 'Summer Showers' is the name of one type of ivy leaf geranium available with pink, red, lavender, salmon or white blossoms.

Regal Geraniums

Regal geraniums are often sold as houseplants to be given as gifts. The blossoms resemble azaleas and the plants have crinkly edged leaves. Regal geraniums, also known as Martha Washington geraniums, prefer cooler temperatures and may not thrive out of doors in areas with hot summers. 'Elegance' and 'Maiden' are two cultivars of regal geraniums that come in many color variations, many of the blossoms bi-colored.

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About this Author

Cynthia James is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from Modern Bride to Popular Mechanics. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, she has a degree in economics. Before turning to freelancing full time, James worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.