There are many varieties of geraniums and different plants are called the same name by different people.
A blue flowering plant with similar flowers (and sometimes leafs) has the Latin name Geranium but is commonly called Cranesbill.
The bright red garden favorite has the Latin name Pelargonium and the common name Geranium.
I have found red flowering pelargonium hortorum, or the Common Garden Geraniums to be dependable dry garden plants, and that is the focus of this article.
These perennial plants grow up to 3 feet tall (or more) and have a shrubby habit. The leafs are slightly hairy and aromatic and can measure from 1 to 3 inches across. There are many different hybrids of geraniums, some with scalloped leafs and some with colorful edges or centers.
They are native to South Africa so they can take heat and bloom almost year round. In my heavy, clay soil they do well with occasional water. They can take full sun to part shade, but if it gets over 100 degrees in the afternoon they will need shade during that time.
Geraniums are great in the gardens or in containers. In planters, geraniums (Pelargonium) want regular to moderate water. The smaller the pot, the faster they will dry out. Many Swiss villages are known for their colorful geraniums blooming from every window box and balcony.
Pelargonium flower colors range from white to pink, deep reds, peachy oranges, to deep salmon. Colors can be gentle pastels or neon bright colors that stop traffic.
Geraniums are easy to root. I’ve had great luck just sticking branches in the ground. If the ground is kept moist for the first week or two they should take easily. I have also heard geraniums will root in water, but I haven’t tried it myself.
Geraniums can also be grown from seed. But seeds from hybrid plants will not remain ‘true’. Meaning they will not be the same at the parent plant. It is so much easier to root a cutting and you know you will get the exact same plant. Read more on my plant propagation page…
Several different versions of pelargoniums are grown for their scented leafs. Scents include rose, apple, lime and mint. These plants also grow to about 3 feet tall.
Their leaves may not be as large or as round as the Garden Geraniums. Usually flowers are small, pink and only bloom in the spring.