Commonly called “Geranium” due to their inclusion within the Geraniaceae family, Pelargonium are botanically not actually a Geranium, but are woody perennials native to South Africa, making them extremely drought and heat tolerant, yet less tolerant to frost and cold temperatures. True Geraniums are smaller mounding plants that are hardier due to their being native to the Northern Hemisphere. Some distinguishing characteristics are that true Geraniums have symmetrical flowers with uniform petals and a beak-like seed pod that catapults seed dispersion, resulting in the common name “Cranesbill”. Pelargonium have asymmetrical flowers in clusters, and thicker succulent-like leaves, with cotton-like floating seed dispersion. ‘Zonal’ Geraniums, ‘Fancy Leaved’, ‘Scented’, ‘Ivy’, and ‘Regal’ Geraniums are all contained in the Pelargonium genus. Root extract of Pelargonium sidoides is used as a cold and flu remedy. The family Geraniaceae contains some 830 species, most of which are contained in the Geranium or Pelargonium genera.
Pelargonium sidoides forms a dense basal clump of lovely velvety, heart-shaped 1-1 ½ inch grey-green leaves. Delicate ¾ inch burgundy-colored flowers grow in clusters atop 9-12 inch slender stems. This easy to grow perennial blooms almost year round in our Coastal California climate and is at its peak bloom in the spring and summer. It is hardy to approximately 25°F, however colder temperatures will force it into dormancy until spring. If growing as a perennial, the Sunset Climates Zones are 8, 9, 12-24; if growing as an annual or indoors, the zones are A2, A3, 1-7, 10 & 11. They prefer full to part sun, moderate to low watering and well-drained soil. We are currently growing Pelargonium sidoides in one gallon containers. Give us a call, ‘Like’ us on Facebook, or check out our website www.clearwatercolor.com to learn more about these and other plants we are growing here at Clearwater Color Nursery!