Green Your Life with Geraniums

Double Geranium

(From the garden of Repsaj on sxc.hu).
(From the garden of Repsaj on sxc.hu).

Greening Your Life With Plants and Flowers

Many of us are tired of smog, fog, and acid atmosphere, as well as wanton waste. Widely-read Hubbers have taught us that gardening can affect our lives in many positive ways, one of them being to help clean up the environment. In fact, NASA agrees with us in their publication called House Plants Clean the Air. In addition, plant life is vital to maintaining an atmosphere around a planet, so one can see the importance of flora to human life in this single feat alone.

Interestingly, a company in Australia, known as Innovative Plant Technology, designs breathing walls based on the principals and biology of the rain forest to use for cleaning indoor air. In addition, at least one community in California began using a system of living plant roots in the 1990s to filter their water at the city water treatment plant. Plants can help us in many ways.

It was once the custom in hospitals to forbid plants around all patients, because it was believed that any plants took all the oxygen out of the atmosphere. Of course, this was proven incorrect. Plants generally take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, cleaning the air in this and other ways. In the 21st century, there remain some plant restrictions for certain hospital patients, but not the superstitions of the 20th Century and the Stone Age, of which some people feel to be one and the same.

During World War II, Americans and others in the war grew Victory Gardens, supplying themselves with home grown foods, while the nation's soldiers benefited from more fo the farmer's crops that could be sent overseas to the battlefields and outposts. In the 21st Century, we may benefit from a Sustainability Garden that 1) conserves and catches rain runoff, 2) slows erosion with soil holding power of plant roots, and 3) provides food, oxygen, and relaxation in an attractive setting in addition to other benefits.

The Hub Garden

Among the Hot Hubs listed under gardening and garden related Hub tags, we find the following sample of outstanding Hub Pages Garden Lore and Advice:

To these and other articles about gardening, I add this about growing an annual of a perennial - the Geranium in its many varieties and cousins. If you have not tried to grow plants before, or if you seem to have killed all you have attempted to nurture, the geranium may be for you.

Stellar Geranium

Pelargonium
Pelargonium

Purple Bloom

Why Geraniums?

Geraniums are one of the plants considered most dependable for a home garden. They are annuals, which means that new plants are needed each year. However, the plants may be brought indoors in the autumn, repotted to keep inside for the winter and some will usually survive. Some US states enjoy wild, native perennial geraniums indigenous to their regions as well.

Geraniums are available at greenhouses, garden stores, and home DIY type stores already in flower by late spring, but seeds and seedlings are also available. All of these plants can furnish a variety of colors to the garden landscape until the first frost occurs. New developments in geranium growing have produced blossoms that are advertised as “shatter proof” -- they survive rain and fairly high winds.

Geraniums can grow well in many soil types and the soil must be well-aerated and rather porous, with good drainage. A sunny site for planting is preferred, usually in mid-to-late May.

Plants set out too early most likely will result in little foliage and only red blooms, no matter what color they are said to achieve. Usually, Too Cold = Red.

Heavy clay soils need organic matter added to them each year in order to improve the porous quality and to allow easy aeration -- Tightly packed clay soil cannot get enough air into it for the geraniums to thrive. About 1-2" of sphagnum moss or compost added when digging the beds is a good choice each year.

After planting, be careful not to over-fertilize. A liquid fertilizer like 20-20-20 or can be used, but be certain to follow the package directions. Then water the plants to encourage the fertilizer to flow down to the roots.

Concerns with pests are usually very slight when dealing with geraniums. Remove fading flower stalks stave off botrytis, a concern in wet seasons.

Bacterial blight can be stopped if you notice when a plant or a few single leaves wilt for no reason, particularly when the temperature reaches 70 - 80. Just remove the infected plant altogether and discard it.

Before the first frost, Geranium plants can be dug up, trimmed to one-half original height, repotted, and set in sunny windows to over-winter. You can also dig them up, remove the soil, and hang them from the rafters in a basement if the air is not too dry – it needs to be humid.

Source

Meadow Cranesbill

Source

"Red Geraniums" by Bird Mancini

Varieties of Geraniums

While many varieties of geraniums are grown, "scented geraniums" are actually Pelargonium, available in a wide range of scents from apricot and lime to mint and nutmeg. Pelargonium are "tender perennials", which means that they are not hardy (they will not survive outside over the winter). Zonal types refer to a zoned pattern on the leaves.

Geraniums are often obtained by growing from seeds and include:

  • Hardy variety (1) - Cranesbill or Hardy Geranium, This plant may survive outside over the winter in some locales.
  • Seed families - Ringo, Bandit, Elite, Multibloom, Orbit, Pinto, Ringo, Lone Ranger.
  • Cutting, red-bloom families - Kim, Mars, Tango, Sincereity, Yours Truly.
  • Cutting, pink-bloom families - Blossom, Helena, Katie, Pink Expectations, Rio.
  • Other families - Ive-leafed, Martha Washington (also called "Regal"), tulip-flowering, dwarf type or stellar (star-shaped leaves). Regals produce flower frills of white, orange, purple, red, and burgundy; can be grown in shade, and can reach four feet tall.
  • Scented families - Not true geraniums (see above).

Time Lapse Blooming

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Comments 22 comments

jewelsofawe profile image

jewelsofawe 7 years ago from Oregon

Beautiful flowers


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

I have been thinking about geraniums for the side garden, now I will think harder, they are attractive and so many possibilities.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Thanks jewelsofawe, and Bob, your garden Hubs are inspirational! This year, I am going to try some geraniums that I have not tried before. I can't find a picture of the Lone Ranger variety, so I want to try to find that one.  


Netters profile image

Netters 7 years ago from Land of Enchantment - NM

Very informative. I love geraniums! Thank you!


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 7 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

Woweee....I really had no idea about how many different varities there are...wonderfully beautiful aren 't they..I especially liked the Pelargonium ? The nice Pink ones...I live in a moist area do they do well in such?? Nice hub sweetie...G-Ma :o) hugs & Peace


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

G-ma -- As long as they are not constantly flooded with water, I think they will be OK. Soil justs needs to be able to drain well. New varieties are popping up on the Internet every day!

Netters - Flowers are certainly a lot of fun when they grow correctly and we cna look at them. I;ve kiilled my share of them, I must say, but am getting better. Thanks for visiting!


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 7 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

Pelargoniums are definitely one of my favorite plants. I had one at our last house that absolutely thrived ( I must have planted it exactly in it's happy zone)

I like the idea of planting more plants and creating more oxygen (there could be nothing wrong with that concept!) and being green through gardening.

Great hub and good idea starter!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Happy breathing to you, your family & your plants, Dorsi! :)


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Thanks for the promo' Patty, I wondered why my "Tobacco" traffic went up 3 weeks back.

Love, TOF


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Hi - I love geraniums too - and all ours are in full bloom right now. Loved the pic of the red geraniums in the greenhouse!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Hi Old Firm! Too bad you are unable to market your tobacco. I must read again to see what it is exactly you do with it. Can you grow hemp and make clothing? :)

Shalini - I agree that they are beautiful! Thanks for visiting and commenting and happy gardening to you!


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Growing hemp is sort of unpopular with the spoilsports down here, although a non hallucinogenic variety has been allowed limited trialing. It actually makes a very enduring fabric which is far stronger than cotton or linen.

Rumour has it that hemp was originally banned in the States because of its threat to the cotton industry. (The reason, not the excuse.)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Indeed. Spoilsports everywhere. I saw on television when a family's farm full of hemp in the states was burned to the ground by "revenuers." Sad and unnecessary.

Can one cross hemp with tabacco? - as occurs with jimsen weed and volunteer tomatoes?


Abaut-Home profile image

Abaut-Home 4 years ago

This is my first time i visit here, interesting, thanks for a great video, flower are my passion :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for reading and welcome to HubPages!


LosectinWinders 20 months ago

I like the idea of planting more plants and creating more oxygen (there could be nothing wrong with that concept!) and being green through gardening.


Joan Hart 19 months ago

Great information! One thing I struggle with is Geranium Bud Worm. I have tried several products but have had no luck. Any suggestions?


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 19 months ago from North America Author

The University of Nebraska recommends

"Monitor flowerbuds for tunneling by the first generation of insects in early summer. Handpick caterpillars when they are noticed, and drop them into a can of soapy water, or remove the entire flower head and discard it. Keep a vigilant watch on your plants throughout the summer.

Repot plants before taking them inside for winter to eliminate overwintering pupae. Discard old soil in outdoor containers with a history of budworms."

We used to do the same thing with bag worms on evergreen trees, but being tall and outdoors, they could not be repotted - only better soil added after digging out some old soil.


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 19 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Patty, beautiful photos of geraniums. Great hub to go with it. I might buy some geraniums this spring to put on my bedroom balcony. Voted up!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 19 months ago from North America Author

Geraniums are lovely on a balcony and I hope you enjoy them there. Spring is an exciting time for plant life.


randel9 profile image

randel9 16 months ago from United Kingdom

Thanks for sharing wonderful hub.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 16 months ago from North America Author

Enjoy your geraniums this year! I particularly like a neighborhood garden center here that has them hanging in baskets along the walkways of a small park on the property.

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