DEFINITION OF PELARGONIUM : Any of a genus (Pelargonium) of SOUTHERN AFRICAN HERBS of the geranium family with showy flowers of usually red, pink, or white distinguished by a spurred CALYX AND IRREGULAR COROLLA, that is also called GERANIUM, STROKSBIL.
Most Pelargoniums are GROWN IN POTS IN A GREENHOUSE OR CONSERVATORY. They can also be grown inside the house, but NEED TO BE IN THE SUNNIEST ARE POSSIBLE. Many species do well when they are planted OUTSIDE in an OPEN AREA so that they CAN BECOME LARGER PLANTS. This can be a problem though if you WANT TO REPLANT them in a pot for the WINTER MONTHS. CUTTINGS can be taken in the SUMMERTIME instead to make NEW PLANTS.
SUCCULENT SPECIES grow well with other succulents and cacti. Pelargoniums are VERY ATTRACTIVE and one of the TOUGHEST AND MOST DURABLE SUCCULENTS.
The name refers to the HAIRY LEAVES of this species, but we can’t say that we’ve noticed that these leaves are PARTICULARLY hairy. They seem to be succulent and branched. The section OTIDIA is very confused. This plant is VEGETATIVELY propagated from a selection made in SOUTH AFRICA, but we must say that we’re not confident of its identification. The FLOWERS are WHITE AND REFLEXED. It occurs on the NORTHWEST COAST OF CAPE PROVINCE IN SOUTH AFRICA.
STEM SUCCULENT, the BRANCHES SWOLLEN at the nodes; leaves on longish petioles, sub-bipinnati-partite, fleshy, glabrous or pubescent, the segments narrow-linear, semiterete, channelled, inciso-pinnatifid; stipules minute, cordate; flowering branches naked, dichotomous and divaricate, downy; umbels 4–6-flowered, with oblong, obtuse, small bracts; pedicels downy or glabrescent; longer than the calyx-tube, calyx-segments linear-oblong, obtuse. A very STRAGGLING PLANT with panicled inflorescence and more fleshy, NARROWER AND MORE DIVIDED foliage than in others of this section. P. dasyphyllum, from Silverfontein, looks like a starved state, with simpler leaves and SHORT cuneate and trifid leaf-lobes.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF PELARGONIUM DASYPHYLLUM?
- Allow soil to dry to some extent between waterings, then water thoroughly.
- During the winter, water much less, but do not let the roots dry out entirely. Geraniums do best when given a period of dormancy through the winter months, during which they use less water and do not grow much. See below for more overwintering instructions.
- To encourage blooming, deadhead spent flowers.
- To promote bushiness and avoid legginess, pinch the stems.
- During active growing months, fertilize every 2 weeks. Use a water-soluble fertilizer at half strength. Don’t fertilize in winter.
- Geraniums can be re-potted as needed during the spring to be refreshed.
TIPS IN PLANTING PELARGONIUM DASYPHYLLUM
- When buying geraniums, pay close attention to color and size. Healthy leaves will have no discoloration on or below them and stems will be sturdy, not straggly. Be sure to avoid any plants with obvious signs of pests as well.
- Place plants in pots with drainage holes to avoid root rot.
- Use a well-draining potting mixture (not heavy, clayey soil) when planting in containers. Geraniums do not like to sit in soggy, compacted soil.
- For maximum bloom, place the plants in an area where they will get 4-6 hours of sunlight.