Tucker’s Plant of the Week: Pelargonium
Interesting Fact: Pelargonium or as you may know it, Geranium, is easily one of the best and most popular annuals planted each season. Contrary to popular belief the annual Geranium is not related to the perennial Geranium or sometimes known as Cranesbill. The two are not part of the same genus. The perennial Geranium is actually part of the genus Geranium where as the annual “Geranium” is part of the Pelargonium genus. Therefore, the true common name for the annual is Zonal Pelargonium, not Geranium.
From here on out we will call this spotlight plant by its proper common name: Zonal Pelargonium. Zonal Pelargonium is one of the best annuals available today because of its hardiness, tolerant manner, and of course the flower.
First, they can be planted in almost every location from full sun to part shade. Generally, the more sun the plant has the more flowers it will produce. It will tolerate and thrive in tough conditions such as dry commercial sites that receive very little maintenance and still manage to provide bright color from late May through October. Zonal Pelargoniums (phew that is a mouthful!) also work wonderfully as bedding plants, container plants, in hanging baskets. or as indoor plants.
Second, Zonal Geraniums do best with very little water. The plant is most likely to die because of over watering. It is extremely resistant to insects and diseases. Simple deadheading of the flower stalks once they are finished flowering will prolong the flowering season.
Third, flower colors include all shades of pink, purple, red, white, and even orange. The flower is quite showy and bright in color so it is easily visible from a distance. The plant continues to produce non-stop flowers from late May through October depending on the weather conditions.
Bonus: Rabbits do not eat them! Rabbits tend to munch on everything in my yard, but these annuals must have secret powers…but really it is probably due to the thick and scented foliage of the Zonal Pelargonium that keeps the rabbits away. Also, I get to enjoy them all year long because sometimes my mom brings them inside during the winter. So on those cold cloudy days you may receive a flower bloom or two to brighten up your day and remind you of summer.
I hope you have some Zonal Pelargoniums planted in your garden to enjoy. As always, have fun gardening and don’t work too hard in this heat!