How to Grow Annual Geranium (Pelargonium)

Views: 20035 | Last Update: 2009-04-30
Growing annual geranium, also known as pelagonium, requires a warm coastal climate, though they have been known to handle temperate to cold climates. Avoid letting geraniums die off due to freezing weather by allowing them to go dormant in the house with... View Video Transcript

About this Author

Yolanda Vanveen

Video Transcript

Hi this is Yolanda Vanveen and in this segment we are going to learn all about Geraniums. And not just the geraniums but the Pelargoniums which are a separate family from geraniums. So Pelargoniums are native to South Africa. All the way up to Namibia. So they like really warm coastal climate and they can handle quite a bit of cold climate as well so they can go down to probably just below freezing and survive. So, pelargoniums fall basically into two types. There's grown, for fancy, scented foliage, and those that I have for flowers. Now, the former are mostly original species, the later are all hybrids. All these three types are especially popular. There's the bushy zonal geraniums, which have velvety, round, or kidney shaped leaves, and they're usually marked with the banderozone of a contrasting color. Then there's the ivy leaf geraniums, and they have glossy, fragrant, waxy leaves of ivy shape in a distinct climbing or trailing habit, which this plant right here is actually an ivy leaf geranium and it's very fragrant. Now, the true pelargoniums, or the Martha Washington geraniums have a spreading bushy habit, sharply toothed hand shaped leaves, and are fragrant when you crush them. The flat heads of the larger blooms are often beautifully marked in contrasting colors. But none of the pelargoniums are truly frost hardy. So as soon as it freezes hard, they're going to die back in and you're going to lose them. So what I do with my hanging baskets or my geraniums, I just cut them back as soon as they start looking ratty, which they are because it's been a little bit frosty so far, and I'll just cut them all the way down to the bottom, and leave them in my greenhouse where it's frost free, eave them dry, all winter long. And then I'll turn around and put them out in about May or June of next year, and they'll start growing immediately. And that way I can save them from year to year. You could even save them in your basement, your garage, your laundry room, anywhere where you can keep them dormant in the winter. If you live in a really cold climate, and they're easy to propagate too, all you need to do is take a little branch as long as you've got a branch, you pull a couple of the leaves off, and you cut them where they meet other leaf stems, and put that in honey, and that's an easy way to bond it to the, and give it nutrition right away, and you put it in dirt, and they'll grow immediately. And I've done that in my beds over the summers as I've trimmed down, and I get geraniums all over. And it's an easy way to start them. They're really an easy plant. So whether you call them a geranium, or a pelargonium, which they really are, the ones that we think are geraniums are really pelargoniums, they're a great plant for the garden.