Lemon Scented Geranium – Pelargonium crispum

This is a plant that looks attractive whether it is flowering or not, as the delicate foliage shows up well against other dark-leafed plants. One of the large number of Pelornonium snpripc P crispum originated in South Africa and is grown for its attractively scented leaves.

Flowers and flowering The white to pink flowers have a darker reddish veining and are 2-2.5cm (¾—lin) in size. They are borne singly or in twos and threes. P. crispum ‘Variegatunn’ has mauve flowers.

This is an erect shrub that can grow to about 90cm The generous growth of Lemon Scented Geranium is ideal for filling an area with sweet-scented foliage.

(3ft) high but can be kept bushy by cutting back in spring. The leaves are densely arranged, small and fan-shaped with curled edges. They are greyish-green in colour and the variegated P. crispum ‘Variegatum’ has a creamy-yellow pattern.


Some other Pelargoniums with scented leaves are P. denticulatum with a balsam scent and lilac to rose-pink flowers, P x frograns smelling, according to some, of nutmeg, to others of pine, and P. x citrosum which also smells of lemon.

Through The YearLemon Scented Geranium - Pelargonium crispum


Now is the time to cut back straggly plants to give them a bushy shape. Start to water more generously but let the mixture begin to dry out before rewatering.


Take cuttings from tips of stems, and plant in an equal parts mixture of soil-based compost and coarse sand. When cuttings have grown to about 15cm (6in) pinch out growing tips to promote bushy growth. Feed mature plants every 2 weeks.


Start watering less in October, only watering enough to stop the mixture drying out.

Pests And Diseases

Leaves yellow at the edges. This is due to insufficient watering. Treatment: Water generously but allow the mixture to partly dry out before rewatering.

Grey mould may cause decay.

Treatment: Remove affected plants. Spray others with thiram or zineb.


This is a very easy plant to grow. It likes a bright spot and cool winter conditions.

  • Potting: Repot in the spring when necessary. Use a soil-based potting compost with added coarse sand or grit for extra drainage.
  • Water moderately in summer giving just enough water to make the mixture moist throughout. Allow to partially dry out before rewatering.
  • Feeding: Feed with a standard liquid fertilizer every two weeks throughout the summer.


  • Light: Lemon Scented Geranium will thrive in full sun. Place it in the sunniest position you can find — a south-facing windowsill would be ideal. This plant can also be placed outside during the summer.
  • Temperature: Normal summer temperatures are fine for this plant. During the winter rest period it will prefer cooler temperatures but do not let the temperature drop below 7°C (45°F).

Buying Tips

  • It is available throughout the year from garden centres and nurseries.
  • Choose a bushy plant with lots of leaves for fragrance. Avoid any that are leggy and bare-stemmed.
  • This plant will live for many years. Prune back in spring to keep the bushy shape.
  • The fan-shaped filigree leaves of Lemon Scented Geranium give off the fragrance of the fruit when touched. Flowers are small and delicate and can be white, pink or lilac.
  • It  is often seen in a variegated turn), with creamy-yellow edges to the leaves.

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