The best way of caring for your Pelargonium species is to recreate their current surroundings as near as possible to their native environment and climate.
Pelargoniums can also be grown inside the house, but need to be placed in an area that gets a lot of light, preferably in the most sunniest place possible, so growing them on a balcony maybe a better alternative.
Many species do well when they are planted outside in the garden & can then grow to become larger plants, but this can be a problem though if you wish to replant them back into a pot to take them indoors for the winter months away from frost & snow. You may want to consider wrapping them with a garden fleece which offers some protection against frost.
Smaller Pelargonium species can look attractive in rock gardens or for slightly larger species in borders.
The trailing or climbing Pelargoniums can grow very well in hanging baskets and look beautiful hanging up on the wall by the house or to give extra room in your green house, they can also look great in window boxes, tubs and ornamental pots.
Succulent species grow well with other succulents and cacti plants, especially if you live in country with hot summers and dry rocky soil conditions.
The scented Pelargoniums can also be added to your herb garden because of their aromatic fragrance, especially the lemon,fruit scented & peppermint pelargoniums.
The leaves can be used for favouring and are often added to cakes, sauces, drinks and also to make apple jelly. P. graveolens , P. crispum (lemon scented) and P. odoratissimum (apple scented) can be used for flavouring.
Most pelargonium species are grown in pots inside a green house or conservatory usually during the winter months or in cooler climates. They can be grown in pots outdoors during the warmest month periods in cooler countries, but will probably need to be taken indoors in winter due to frost, snow or cold temperatures.
In hotter areas and Mediterranean type climates pelargonims grow well outdoors, planted in the garden, grown in pots or in a rock/succulent garden, but may need to be taken indoors if there is any sign of snow or if they get too much rain.
The intensity of light in South Africa is a lot higher then it is in Europe and in many regions of North America, light is necessary for all plant growth especially for the Pelargonium Species.
A number of native Pelargoniums grow in forest areas within or by the side of rocks, long grass and next to larger plants for shade.
Most species grow in full sun or part shade and don’t grow well in low light.
If you have a green house it is recommended that the glass windows are cleaned regularly to bring in maximum light. You can buy special horticultural lamps if you have dull conditions, but if you find that your green house is too hot shading maybe required such as blinds or netting.
Pelargoniums which grown inside the house need to be in the most sunniest area possible.
Plants which are grown indoors or in a conservatory can sometimes be effected by lack of light and should then be placed in the brightest location.
In the winter if the temperature is low and watering is reduced, light is less important.
P. endlicherianum & P. queretorum are the only hardy species which are native to the Middle East, even these two plant species need careful watering and well drained soils to survive small amounts of frost.
Other species also need to be treated as frost tender, even though some have small amounts of frost in their native areas.
There are many different types of heating for green houses, but some produce water vapour which can increase humidity.
5 c ( 41 F ) is about the right temperature for growing Pelargoniums in the winter time.
Your Pelargoniums may need protection in the winter months where there is likely to be very cold conditions which can be taken indoors or covered outside.
Good ventilation is advised to ensure air circulation, even during the winter months, unless the temperature is below zero.
In the summer months, if the temperature goes higher than 25 c (77 F ) it might be better to put them in the shade or they will require daily watering, but they will need to be put back again in the light before the winter.
Over watering is likely the most common cause for growing Pelargoniums species unsuccessfully.
Every kind of native Pelargonium species which grows in regions with only small amounts
of rainfall, have adapted to their environment.
It is best to under water your Pelargoniums than to over water them and to lower the amount when temperatures get lower and light intensity falls, up until next spring when growth increases.
The yellowing of the leaves can be a sign of over watering and the only remedy is to dry out the soil and take away all the discoloured leaves, so that the new growth will appear.
Succulents pelargoniums are best looked after as you would with cacti or succulent plants.
The main points to look for when caring for your Pelargonium Species:
-Pelargoniums as house plants should be grown in the most sunniest area possible.
-Most Pelargonium species grow in full sun and don’t grow well in low light.
-The soil needs to be kept well drained.
-If they are planted outside and you are worried about the cold winter months, you can take cuttings during the summer and place them in pots.
-Good ventilation is advised to ensure air circulation.
-It is best to under water than to over water your Pelargoniums.
-Your Pelargoniums may need protection in the winter months where there is likely to be very cold weather conditions.
Seeds can be sown in seed compost mixed with some sand or girt, the compost should be kept moist.
The best temperature for sowing seeds is about 23 c ( 72 F), but any temperature around 20-25 c ( 64-74 F) should be ok for germination.
The compost should be moist but not over watered and then covered with glass or with a clear plastic bag, so that it doesn’t dry out and is kept moist.
Larger seeds can be pushed into the compost, so that the awn ( long tail attached to seed head) can be seen.
Leave in a place which is frost free and water only when the soil becomes dry.
The two thicker rounded seed leaves develop first and then they spread to normal foliage.
After the first few larger leaves have opened, the seedling can now be potted into a well aerated compost.
It is best to hold the young plant carefully by the leaves, which will prevent any damage to the stem.
Seedlings should then be placed in an area without direct sunlight and to keep it well ventilated for a couple of days.
Pelargonium seeds have an inherited ability to know when it is the right time to germinate with the correct amount of water and temperature for growth.
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For more information please view or download the Pelargonium species world catalogue.
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