Frequent Geraniums

Frequent Geraniums

Common geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) , which you probably know as bedding plants, aren’t true geraniums. True geraniums (Geranium spp.) , also known as cranesbills, are members of another genus. Common geraniums produce showy flowers that bring seasonal colour to the garden.

Life Span

In U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11, common geraniums develop as evergreen perennials. All these five-petaled flowers originate from South Africa, so they need plenty of sun and warm temperatures to grow as perennials. In colder climates, it is possible to develop geraniums as annuals or bring them indoors for the winter. These flowers will bloom during winter if they get sufficient light.


Some varieties of common geraniums are showier than many others. One of the most readily available types is that the “Martha Washington” geranium (Pelargonium x domesticum), that grows up to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. This hybrid creates umbels of pink, purple, purple or red flowers and roundish, heart-shaped green leaves. Another frequent geranium kind is that the zonal geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum), that grows well in containers, creating pink, pink, purple, white or red blossom clusters on top of long stems. These 3-foot-tall plants develop kidney-shaped leaves with dark “zonal” bands in the leaves. Ivy-leaf geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum) produce fragile observation stems reaching 3 feet long, covered with thick lobed ivylike. A few of the leaves have various scents. This variety creates clusters of double or single flowers in red, pink, lilac or white.


Though common geraniums tolerate partial sun, they flower best with at least four to six hours of direct sun each day. Water that the geraniums thoroughly, but allow the soil to dry out between watering sessions. Spent flowers will need to be eliminated to encourage the plant to produce more blooms. Pinch off stem tips to foster the development of more branches, which creates a bushy plant. Half-strength fertilizer applications help the geranium develop if implemented every two months during active development. You may spread common geraniums through stem cuttings. They do not need rooting hormone to develop roots, so just slide the stems into dry soil and permit them to root.


Common geraniums aren’t usually bothered by insects or diseases. Whiteflies and aphids can infest the plants, using their leaves as hiding places, but a strong stream of water from a hose will get rid of these tiny pests. The most important problem for all these flowers is watering. Both under-and over-watering can cause the leaves to turn yellow. Over-watering causes root and stem decay. Always assess the soil before watering and, if in doubt, wait another day prior to watering.

See related