Ivy Geranium – Pelargonium peltatum hybrids

Ivy Geraniums are so easy to look after and to overwinter that they can be enjoyed year after year. Once you begin to grow these hybrid pelargoniums you will find many decorative uses for them.

Commonly called geraniums they are actually pelargoniums, one of a group of mostly South African shrubs.

Flowers and flowering The flowers are borne in small clusters and appear in a range of colours. They can be white, mauve or in subtle, as well as strident, shades of pink or red. They make a riot of colour in spring and flowering goes on through the summer until early autumn.

Most Ivy Geraniums trail and can grow 20-25cm (8-10 in) in a year. Miniature varieties are available that never reach more than 20cm (8in) in several years’ growth.

Pelargonium peltatum ‘Apricot Queen’ has apricot flowers that age to a lovely pink shade. P.p. Velegante’is often grown just for its attractive variegated leaves.

Display ideas

Grow Ivy Geraniums in a mass of single colour plantings or mix them with other trailing plants. Pink-flowered Ivy Geraniums look good with blue or white trailing lobelia.

PropagationIvy Geranium - Pelargonium peltatum hybrids

1. Take tip and side shoots 5-10cm (2-4in) long in spring or late summer. Trim off the lower leaves and plant either singly in small pots or several around the edge of a 8-10cm

(3-4in) pot. Use an equal-parts mixture of peat and coarse sand or Perlite.

2. Don’t cover the cuttings but see that they are out of bright sun-light. Keep the rooting mixture barely moist.

3. When well-rooted, 6-8 weeks later, transfer the new plants into a potting mixture of soil-based compost, sharp sand or Perlite and a little peat.

Pests And Diseases

A plant with lots of leaves and few flowers indicates over-feeding.

Treatment: Stop feeding and the plant may begin to bloom more freely.

Whitefly or aphids may attack the plants. Treatment: Use a suitable insecticide if the infestation is bad, or if treating it early, use a solution of soapy water.

Black leg or black rot is a fungal disease to which this plant is particularly prone. It affects the plant at the point where the stem enters the potting mixture. It is brought on by damp conditions.

Treatment: See that the potting compost dries out a little between waterings and keep rooting cuttings barely moist. If the plant gets this disease you will have to destroy it, but you may be able to save some tip cuttings.

PLANT CARE

Easy to look after. Best renewed every three years as older plants are not quite so free flowering. The stems of older plants get quite woody and tend to be rather ugly.

  • Potting: Use a mixture of soil-based compost, sharp sand, grit or Perlite and a little peat.
  • Water thoroughly in summer but always allow a little drying out of the potting mixture between applications. Give only enough water during the winter rest period to prevent the plant from completely drying out.
  • Feeding: Feed with a high potash liquid fertilizer (tomato type) from the time that flower buds are seen until blooming stops completely.

BEST GROWTH ENVIRONMENT

  • Light: All geraniums love the sun — they can never have too much of it. Keep this plant in the best lit position both in winter and summer.
  • Temperature: Keep at a minimum of 10°C (50°F) in winter. Geraniums will thrive in any amount of warmth throughout the rest of the year.

Buying Tips

  • Buy Ivy Geraniums as young plants from garden centres or nurseries in late spring and early summer.
  • Choose small plants with tight growth, undamaged stems and healthy leaves, and with some flowers just opening, so that you can see the colour.
  • Plants can be kept for several years and may be renewed with cuttings.

Ivy Geranium is a colourful and adaptable plant, useful in a wide variety of settings, from hanging baskets, window-boxes and tubs outdoors, to baskets in sunrooms and conservatories.

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