When it comes to Pelargonium, even if it is not intuitive, it is good to know that the object of the discussion are geraniums, flowers that usually even those who do not need a green thumb or a balcony on which to grow them, if desired, know. These are very widespread and easy to grow plants, which are satisfied with little and give a lot of satisfaction. They belong to the family of the Geraniaceae in which we can find over 10 kinds of plants and more than 400 species.
Up to 25 ° C we can safely grow geraniums without fear that they may suffer. We can also place them where the sun shines, but it is important that it is in a well-ventilated place and without cold and violent drafts. It is the cold that the Pelargonium it does not tolerate, below 15 ° C it can in fact show some yielding and struggle to flower as one would expect.
To keep these plants at their best, let's look carefully at the leaves in order to remove the dry or diseased ones. It is important to cut them with clean scissors, one centimeter from the attachment to the stem, because any wounds on the stem can become dangerous. Another trick consists in the hoe the earth around the stem to ensure that a waterproof layer is not created which would prevent the absorption of water by the roots.
Speaking of water, the watering of the geraniums must be frequent, especially in spring and summer when the temperature is higher and the plant needs to develop and flower. In winter and autumn, it is enough to wet the earth every now and then to prevent it from drying out completely.
It is then necessary every year carry out the repotting, every spring, to give space and new land to this choreographic plant. On this occasion, let's use a soil consisting of peat and clayey earth and gradually increasing pots, without exaggerating to prevent the roots from growing too far from the stem.
To allow this plant to flower as often as it can and want, a lot of fertilizer is needed, to be administered regularly, every two weeks. This is especially true in the period from April to September, when mixing fertilizer with irrigation water, a fertilizer with a lot of potassium, more suitable for plants that bloom often.
In autumn and winter, fertilizations must be consistently reduced, once a month it is enough and advances even if in truth when dealing with the Pelargonium we cannot speak of a "flowering period" in the strict sense because the flowers can appear practically all year round. That's why you can't even prune, you just remove the leaves that become dry to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.
In addition to the Pelargonium there are two other very cultivated genera belonging to the same family, it is the Geranium andErodium. The first grows mainly in wet and cold areas and its leaves turn red in autumn, the second has a very particular fruit, with the shape similar to the beak of a heron.
Returning to Pelargonium, we discover that it is wrongly called geranium because geranos means "crane" and its fruit looks just like a crane. It comes from South Africa and has a flower with seven stamens and an irregular corolla. Within this genus, we find several species.
Pelargonium peltatum has one branched herbaceous stem and it may look similar to ivy. Some of its varieties have leaves with yellowish streaks, as is the case for the variety "Ville de Paris", that of the "Parisian geraniums". There is also the Pelargonium rivulare, with palmate leaves with 5-7 lobes and flowers that sprout on very long stems. The Rivulare is also called "Bohemian geranium".
The third well known species is that of Pelargonium zonal, plant with bushy habit and semi-woody stem, leaves with a rounded shape and a yellow or white spot in the center, reminiscent of a heart or a horseshoe. The flowers of the Zonale can be of many colors and are often gathered in an umbrella.
Then there is a particular group to consider, that of fragrant geraniums, recognizable, as the name suggests, due to the scented leaves, used in both the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.
Pelargonium: diseases and parasites
Among the enemies of the Pelargonium there are mites, aphids and mealy cochineal. This latter cause of brown spots on the underside of the leaves that can be removed with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol or with a wash with water and neutral soap.
If the leaves that begin to yellow and appear speckled with yellow and brown, it is instead the fault of the mites that can also form cobwebs, especially if we are in the presence of the red spider. To avoid damaging the plants, it is necessary to increase the frequency of nebulizations to the canopy and use a specific insecticide. The plant aphids instead they are small white-yellowish-greenish animals that must be hunted with specific pesticides
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