The Joy of Geraniums
Perennial geraniums are a fabulous plant. I mentioned ‘perennial‘ because the misnomer that pelagoniums are geraniums continues, led by garden centres and nurseries around the country. In fact, both of these plants are perennial. Pelagoniums, though not frost hardy, will quite happily develop into a small shrub given the chance. Meanwhile, my favourite geraniums, and those I’m talking about here, are a herbacious perennial that will die down and appear once again in spring year after year.
But why is there so much to love?
Firstly, there are so easy to look after. It’s pretty hard to kill a geranium – I’ve even grown one in deep shade and though I can’t say it prospered, it still grew and acted as ground cover. And that’s my second point – they make exceptional ground cover, partly because they grow quickly at this time of year. They won’t, of course, provide year-round cover but if you have gaps and spots in your border, a geranium will quickly close this.
Then there are the plethora of flowers available. These plants are prolific, and seem to turn from an innocuous patch of green into a flash of colour in no time at all. There are blues, pinks, whites, and then there are bi-coloured petals too. It’s also worth cutting plants back after their first flush of flowers to get a second showing. They won’t always grant your wish, but in many cases, especially with our milder winters here in the UK, they will keep flowering for months on end.
Many geraniums are also incredibly easy to propagate too; mostly from snapping off bits of rhizome and potting on rather than taking cuttings. Most of my geraniums have been shoved in plastic bags for weeks on end before being planted up and they’ve survived. These are hardy beasts of the horticultural world.
So, if you’re looking for a great plant to give lots of colour without the need for nurture, geraniums are definitely on my list. Enjoy!