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Geraniums a Potful of Beauty

Aug 22, 2008
Geraniums, known technically as Pelargonium's, are one of the most common flowering house plants grown in the country. While their stoutness may be in question, their beauty and ease of maintenance is not, making them perfect additions to a window garden or table centerpiece. They Begonias, Geraniums have come to be grown in a large variety of sizes, shapes and styles. In fact some can resemble trailing vines when fully grown, with others more accurately resembling bushes five to six feet in height.

The various Geranium strains have been broken down into four major classifications for easier identification, and we'll look at those four major groups now.

First up is the Fancy Geranium, also known as The Show, or Lady Washington. The plants bloom with large, vivid flowers in the summertime, usually lasting throughout the summer months. They grow in a vast range of colors, with many of petals containing striking black dots in the center.

Next is the Fish Geranium, also known as The Zonal. This is the most common form of Geranium seen in households, and blooms for longer stretches than the Fancy Geranium, often lasting half a year from early spring until mid to late fall. This flower has a tendency to focus its growing efforts away from the flower, and can quickly grow out of hand if not cut back. These flowers are not quite as showy as the Fancy Geranium, but make up for it by blooming for a longer stretch of time.

We next have the Ivy-leafed Geranium, which can be trained to climb up many an object much like a climbing vine, but which see their widest use outdoors in the backyard landscape by being elegantly draped along mantles or hung from baskets to trail down.

Finally you have the Scented-leaved Geranium, which are also considered flowering plants, but which are most commonly grown for their foliage, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes and scents.

All species of Geraniums typically fair well under similar conditions, so let's look at those now so you have a better understanding of the conditions needed for Geraniums to flourish, no matter the one chosen. Firstly, they must have access to a good deal of direct sunlight. If not supplied with enough it could affect both their growth and their health.

They also like a good amount of water, more so than many other plants. You want to avoid over watering them, but they should be watered right to the brink of over saturating the soil. They also prefer cooler temperatures, in the 60F range, which when coupled with their desire for direct sunlight may be a tricky proposition. Keeping them in a humid room like a bathroom is almost out of the question. Geraniums can also be planted outdoors when the weather is right, but return them inside at the first sign of frost.

Use a rich mixture of potting soil when planting them, and ensure the soil is firmly packed and with good drainage. When planted outdoors the soil is not as much of a concern as it when planted indoors.

Geraniums must deal with a number of common diseases and pests, including white flies and red spider mites, leafspot, oedema and gray mold. Affected leaves should be removed immediately, and the water supply for the geranium temporarily cut back. It's also best to isolate the plant in an area away from other plants, namely any other geraniums that will be susceptible to the same diseases.
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