Pelargonium

This sub-shrub is a succulent member of the genus Pelargotetragonum nium. In its native habitat in South Africa it reaches a height of 70 cm (28 in) but, when cultivated as a house plant, it is usually cut back to keep it shorter and to promote branching. The interesting, succulent stems have three or four angles, are pale green and glabrous. The five-lobed leaves are heart-shaped at the base and irregularly toothed on the margin. They drop at the end of the growing period. The sparse inflorescence usually consists of only two or three long-stalked flowers, which are coloured pink and have prominent violet blotches. There is a marked difference in the size of the petals: the two upper petals are much bigger than the three lower ones.

During the growing period provide plenty of light (it tolerates direct sun), warmth and water. In winter, restrict watering, provide light and cooler conditions, about 15°C (59° F).

Pelargonium echinatum

The species is another succulent Pelargonium from South Africa. It has an erect stem that is sparsely branched and woody. The stipules are typically 5 mm (0.5 in) long and prickly. The leaves have three to five lobes, are heart-shaped at the base, wavy on the margin and completely covered in soft, whitish hairs. They drop during the rest period. The flowers are pale violet; two petals have deep carmine-red blotches.

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