Pelargonium zonale, Pelargonium regale – Geranium

Zonal Pelargoniums are the ‘Geraniums’ which are deservedly popular for use indoors and out. They have round leaves with scalloped edges and horseshoe shaped markings. They blossom prolifically in a great range of shades from white through scarlet. The colours are brilliant.

Regal Pelargoniums have large petals, but flower less freely once the first generous flush is over. They make well shaped plants and their range of fine colours and combinations is immense. They are true indoor plants.

Pelargonium zonale, Pelargonium regale - Geranium

Temperatures:

  • Growing season 12 °C (53 °F) upwards
  • Minimum winter (Frost-free) 4 °C (39 °F)

Soil: Add 25% good friable garden loam to soil-less compost. They prefer a porous calcareous compost which must be well-drained.

Where to position: In a bright sunny spot, with good ventilation, the Zonal Geranium can stand draughts and temperature fluctuations if it must. The Regal Pelargonium likes warmth and shelter, is less tolerant and more sensitive to strong sun.

Watering requirements: Tepid tap water. Spraying and special humidity are unnecessary.

General care: Maintain moist soil condition, springy to the thumb. They can stand a period of dryness but will be seriously harmed if over-watered. Feed fortnightly with well-diluted liquid fertilizer. When re-potting add a teaspoonful of bone meal to the compost. Pinch out to induce a good bushy shape; stop removing shoots once they are well branched. Regals require less pinching. Remove faded blooms.

Giving it a rest. Most people start new plants from cuttings. To over-winter, reduce water until the soil is almost dry. Stand plants in cool, airy frost-free place. In spring, cut back, re-pot. Slowly stage up watering as growth increases and give plenty of light and ventilation. Pinch out for shape.

When it looks sick:

  • Lush, leafy growth but few blooms : Over-feeding causes this. Stop feeding and, in the case of Zonals, pinch out the tips to encourage branching and bud formation.
  • Aphids : Spray.

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