Botanical Name: Pelargonium x hortorum
Origin: Pelargonium x hortorum - Geraniums - originate from South Africa.
Height: The overall height of Geranium plants varies between 30 and 90 cm (1 to 3 ft).
Soil: Geraniums are best planted in soilless, peat-moss based potting mixes.
Light: This particular house plant loves bright light and can handle some full sunlight.
Humidity: Pretty undemanding, Geraniums do well in the average humidity levels typically found in living environments.
Temperatures: Budding is triggered in Pelargonium x hortorum by providing the plants with warm day temperatures of 18 to 24 degrees C (65 to 75 degrees F) and somewhat cooler night temperatures of 13 to 16 degrees C (55 to 60 degrees F).
Water: After watering the Geranium thoroughly, the top of the potting mix (2.5 cm/ 1") should be allowed to dry before watering is repeated. This, combined with drainage holes in the plant's container will prevent soggy soil, which may cause root rot. During the winter months, watering should be cut back, though it is essential not to allow the plant's roots to dry out altogether.
Fertiliser: Fortnightly feeds during the growing period - spring and summer - should consist of high-potassium fertiliser.
Propagation: Pelargonium x hortorum can be grown from seed (sown early in spring) or from stem cuttings rooted in fresh, moistened potting mix in spring or early summer.
Description and Care Tips
Whether grown in containers on the patio or kept indoors as house plants, Geraniums are vigorous growers and will provide a spectacular display of large, colourful clusters of single, double or semi-double flowers throughout the summer.
Growing several heads at a time on succulent stems, Pelargonium x hortorum blooms come in varying shades of salmon, white, pink, red or purple. Removing spent flowers by deadheading them will promote new blooms and prolong flowering periods.
The best way to encourage abundant blooming is to provide plenty of light - including some direct sunlight - from spring through into the early months of autumn. A sunny window, porch or patio will be ideal.
Caring for Pelargonium x hortorum is comparatively easy. In spring, Geraniums should be repotted to give them fresh soil. As they prefer to be a little pot-bound, new containers should be no more than one size larger than the previously used ones. To control the plant's size, it may be kept in the same container, as long as the soil is refreshed.
This is also a good time to prune the plant using sharp, clean pruners to cut stems at a 45 degree angle (this prevents diseases attracted by torn stems). Cutting the plant's stems back fairly hard will keep it compact, while simultaneously encouraging new growth and an abundance of flowers. Pinching out growing tips will also encourage branching, giving the plant a fuller appearance.
Moving the plant into a sunny spot outside will also help to promote abundant blooming. As the plant is a tender perennial, it is, however, necessary to return it indoors before temperatures fall to around 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) during the night.
To prevent sudden changes in light levels causing the plant's leaves to drop off, it is best to make this move gradually by first of all moving it into a slightly more shaded spot. Taking care not to brush against flowers while moving the plant is also necessary - they do tend to drop off rather easily if knocked about.
To ensure this house plant will bloom again the next year, it should be given a cool winter rest with temperatures no lower than a minimum of 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) - this plant will not survive frosts. During this period, the plant should be watered just enough to prevent the roots from drying out completely, allowing the foliage to naturally die back.