Rushmoor Golden Ruffles Geranium. Photo: perfect-pelargoniums.com
With a reputation for hardiness, geraniums can be found in literally hundreds of varieties, many that boast impressive, bright, and summery colors. Whether in a hanging basket, patio container, flower bed or a pot indoors, these Victorian favorites are versatile enough to fit nearly every need.
So long as geraniums are given strong sun at least six hours per day, they can be counted on to thrive. In fact, they'll even function as shrubs if grown as perennials in warmer climates (up to zone 10). In colder areas, geraniums overwinter easily in a brightly lit window.
The genus Pelargonium, to which geraniums belong, comprises several groupings. In non-specialty stores, you'll find perfectly serviceable and cheery zonal geraniums, but I recommend keeping an eye out for some special favorites, including:
Scented Leaf Geranium. Photo: laitche.com
With aromas as varied as pineapple, apricot, rose, mint and cinnamon, perhaps it's no surprise that scented-leaf geraniums finds their way into many recipes.
Martha Washington Geranium. Photo: mahoneysgarden.com
Also known as the regal geranium, this beloved variety native to South Africa features showy blooms with luxurious bi-colored frills. Talk about a show-stopper!
Double Stellar Geranium. Photo: perfect-pelargonium.com
Stellars, a subgroup of geraniums, stay relatively small even when mature, but their unusual star-shaped flowers intrigue the eye with long, thin petals.
Once you've found a variety you can't get enough of, geraniums prove easy to propagate. Take a stem cutting from a new shoot and after dipping the cut end into a rooting hormone, allow it to root in a sand-vermiculite mixture. Cover the cutting loosely with a Ziploc (unzipped, of course), provide plenty of sunshine, and water occasionally until roots have developed; the latter usually takes several weeks. Finally, transplant into a new container, and enjoy!