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I ran away from teaching to the country to grow veggies. There are also some chooks and a pair of troublesome goats who were so much trouble they had to go! My simple green life isn't always as simple or as green as I'd like...but I keep trying!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pelargoniums or geraniums

The plants often called 'geraniums' have never been a favourite of mine but have long been popular in Australian gardens.  They grow so easily from cuttings, people pass them along and they seem to do well with little care. 

Did you know that a lot of the plants we have always called 'geraniums' are in fact pelargoniums

Here are a few that were left behind by the last gardener who was, it seems, a big fan.

This one looks like an azalea in this photo.

This is a climbing variety.

Despite these photos, I am still no fan.  The flowers are OK but the plants are straggly and are the focal point outside of the lounge window.  I think I can do better so they are coming out!

Bye bye pelargoniums!!


  1. No!!No!!!!! Just give them a really good cut back and they'll flourish.Love the spicy smell in Summer and they're so drought tolerant, creating green when nothing else does.Oh disaster, is there a rethink possible?

  2. yes, Hazel, chop up right back and they will become compact and bushy...or maybe just move them to somewhere that needs some brightening up around the place that dosnt get much water...they are so hardy I would be lost without their colour around my garden...

  3. I agree,cut them back, plant something in between that you do like, but don't destroy them.
    Pelargoniums mostly originate from SA, but there are quite a few that occur naturally in Australia. Many of them have medicinal and cosmetic uses. Pelargoniums have always been popular in Europe, but they are now being destroyed by the Geranium Bronze butterfly. That is going to make our plant populations all the more precious.

  4. Ooo Hazel you are a woman of your own mind! So if you think they have to go, then do it properly and rip 'em out. Show no mercy!

    I really like them though, so if you are hesitating...

    I am a ripping out wimp, so I admire those who can rip well :)

  5. A plea from me too for a Stay of Execution. I love the Pelargonium/ Geranium family. They are so relaiable, and have a very long flowering period. I would just love to have some of those varieties you have shown us - esoecially the dark-coloured ones.
    I had a salmon pink one in a 12" pot this last year, and at one stage it had 20 huge blooms on it simultaneously. At least keep a few of them!

  6. I must admit I am a pelargonium fan as well! Especially the variegated ones. I like how easy to grow and prolific they are - although I have to hide them away in winter so the frost doesn't kill them. I would follow the advice and cut them back, because you are right, they aren't nice when they get too leggy.

  7. Oh Hazel it must be a family thing, I too dislike pelargoniums/geraniums and have always avoided planting them in my garden. However, I have made one exception! and planted a cutting given to me by an artist friend. Apparently the original plant was owned by Heidelberg School artist, Walter Withers, who lived in Eltham in the early 1900's and he included the bright single red blooms in many of his paintings. The artist in my house loves to paint little paintings of this glorious red geranium because of its pure colour - perhaps it was the same for Walter Withers.

  8. LOVE Geraniums i have alot that where here when we moved here but 10yrs of drought and they where one of the only things left in the pretty all there diff colors...maybe we should start a geranium swap

  9. OK! I give in! I had no idea there were so many pelargonium fanatics out there.

    I will chop them back and leave them where they are and plant around them for now...This is ONLY a stay of execution...they will have to prove themselves worthy if they plan to stay for ever.

  10. My belated comment is that they can be a bit messy and a bit smelly but I agree with anonymous, they have a bit of sentimental thing going for them. I remember them being in my Nanna's garden and in window boxes in various towns in Europe. I was recently given 2 cuttings from a friend from my walking club. This passing on and sharing of cuttings and plant wisdom is such a wonderful part of humanness. So the 2 cuttings will be planted and tended even if they are smelly.


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