ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Scented Geraniums

Updated on November 4, 2015
While the flowers of scented geranium such as this rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) aren't as large and won't flower as long as varieties bred for flowers, they can still be quite attractive in their own right.
While the flowers of scented geranium such as this rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) aren't as large and won't flower as long as varieties bred for flowers, they can still be quite attractive in their own right. | Source

Scented plants can add an extra dimension of interest to a garden. While the smell of its flowers is the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions that a plant is scented, it can instead actually be the leaves that are valued for their scent.

The smell of plants with scented foliage comes from aromatic oils held within their leaves which are released (vaporise) into the air when the leaf is crushed. While most scented plants smell pleasant to humans, it’s thought that the strong scents of these plants serve as a deterrent to insects which try to feed on the foliage. Mankind has used this property of these plants to their advantage. Citronella scented mosquito repellent coils is just one commercial example, but there’s a host of homebrew organic pest control recipes on the internet that make good use of scented leaves.

One of the easiest groups of all the plants with scented foliage has to be the scented Geraniums (Scented Pelargoniums for purists, as the genus name Geranium actually belongs to a similar but different group of plants). While most Geraniums have a distinctive scent which some people even find unpleasant, the term scented Geranium refers to varieties specifically bred so that their leaves have a pleasant scent reminiscent of another plant.

The common name assigned to a scented Geranium cultivar is often just the name of the scent they smell of, a rose-scented Geranium is simply called a Rose-Scented Geranium, while an apple-scented Geranium is simply called an Apple-Scented Geranium. Unfortunately this can result in confusing as there are at least several different, distinct cultivars that carry a rose scent, all of which carry the common name of rose-scented Geranium. This is likely the case with other scented Geraniums also.

There’s a whole range of different scented Geranium cultivars in existence from common ones such as lemon and rose-scented, to a range of more rarely seen ones including nutmeg, coconut, apricot, peppermint, apple, ginger, lime, orange and even one which is said to smell like fruit tingle candy. Like most things in life, some of these varieties are no doubt closer in scent to their namesakes than others.


Propagating Scented Geraniums

Geraniums are one of the most easily propagated of all plants, and scented varieties are no exception.

To propagate them simply take a stem cuttings about 6 inches long during the warmer months of the year, plant them into pots filled with moist potting mix and keep them well watered until roots form. Rooting hormones are not required to get geranium cuttings to strike and the powdered types can even increase the chance of rot (as the powder will absorb and hold onto water).

Some people leave their Geranium cuttings exposed to air for about half a week to allow a callous to form. The callous helps to reduce the chance of the cutting rotting, although I generally find this step unnecessary. I’ve even had success planting the cuttings directly into the ground as long as they’re not left to dry out.

The most common reason Geranium cuttings will rot is if they are planted too deep in the soil. To avoid this at most plant the cuttings only a few nodes deep. For those needing a refresher of botanical terms, nodes are the points on the stem where new shoots come from just above where each leaf comes out of the stem, they are also where new roots develop from. Geraniums have large leaf scars on the stem where the dried leaves have fallen off so it shouldn’t be hard to count the number of nodes deep you are planting.

Before planting, cut off the any lower leaves so that they don’t become buried by soil and rot. You can also cut back some of the higher leaves if the cutting is particularly leafy, this will help to reduce water loss via the leaves while the cutting becomes established.

The roots will take between one and three to start to grow. If you planted stem tip cuttings (those taken from the end of a stem) you should pinch out their tops once they have rooted to encourage lateral branching, resulting in a bushier Geranium plant.

If you live in a climate where temperatures drop below freezing, you should bring your plants indoors during Winter as most Geraniums won’t tolerant frost at all.


Creating Potpourii With Scented Geraniums

Scented Geraniums make an excellent ingredient for potpourii, simply collect the leaves after they dry on the plant or harvest fresh leaves and place them on a rack in a dry place for a few weeks. Once you have a decent amount of dried leaves you can crush them up using your hands, they’ll flake into small pieces really easily. You can use just one or combine the crushed, dried leaves of several different scented Geraniums.

Once you have your crushed Geranium leaves you can then mix then mix them with other dried botanical ingredients which smell nice. Some suggestions include crushed herbs, ground or whole spices, grated citrus rind, crushed scented flower petals and wood shavings from conifer trees (particularly cedar, cypress or juniper). You can spend an entire afternoon mixing together your own unique potpourii blend.


Using Scented Geraniums in Cooking

While the Geranium leaves themselves are rather tough and inedible, you can infuse their scents as a flavouring into other things for use in cooking.

You can infuse sugar with the flavour of your favourite scented geranium by alternating layers of leaves and sugar in a jar or container and allowing time for the scent to infuse through the sugar. The flavoured sugar can then be used to sweeten drinks or added to cakes or biscuit recipes in a similar fashion to vanilla sugar. You can even use the leaves to infuse whipped cream for use in cake decorating.

You can pour boiling water over scented Geranium leaves to make a delicious herbal tea, especially good when sweetened with infused sugar made with the same scented cultivar. You can also make scented geranium jello and jellies using infused sugar and tea and a firming agent.

While the leaves are too tough and fibrous, the flower petals are entirely edible and can be used to provide colour to salads, and non-white flowered varieties will even leech some of their colour when seeped in boiling water.


Scented Geranium Use In Aromatherapy & Cosmetics

Scented Geranium leaves can also be infused into alcohol to create perfumes and tinctures or into oil to create perfumed massage oils. There are plenty of homebrew recipes available on the internet, some better than others.

Distillates from scented Germaniums are commonly used in the commercial perfume industry as a cheaper way of adding a familiar, pleasant scent to a product. The Rose-Scented Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) shown in the photo at the beginning of this article is of particular importance to the cosmetic industry. Because the cost of real rose scent distillate is far greater than that those made from rose-scented Geranium leaves, commercial rose-scented perfumes are more likely to contain the scent of rose-scented Geranium than real roses.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)