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Gardening with Geraniums

The Martha Stewart Show, April 2008

The botanical name for geraniums is pelargonium. Geraniums, most of which are native to South Africa, are annuals in colder climates and have roots that can be dug and stored over the winter to be replanted in spring.

Zonal Geraniums
Zonal geraniums are the most common variety of geraniums -- and the one most people think of when talking about geraniums. They are erect and bushy perennials with succulent stems and rounded leaves that are usually strongly bicolored. Their flowers can be single or double.

Regal Geraniums, aka Martha Washington Geraniums
Regal geraniums have rounded or toothed leaves, and do not have the thick fleshy stems like zonal geraniums. The flowers are usually single, and the plants can grow up to 4 feet tall.

Fancy-Leaf Geraniums
Fancy-leaf geraniums are zonal, and are grown for their highly decorative foliage with multiple colors and shapes.

Scented-Leaf Geraniums
Scented-leaf geraniums each have their own distinctive scent, for which they are grown. Often very toothed and fuzzy, the plant has single and usually infrequent flowers. The plants can grow up to 7 feet tall; they are the cold-hardiest variety, and are hardy to Zone 7.

Basic Care Tips
All geraniums grow in full sun and in fertile well-drained soil. In very hot areas, they need afternoon shade -- and be sure to deadhead regularly.

Propagating Geraniums
1. If plants have become too leggy, cut them back and save the stems. Cutting the stems back will encourage new growth at the base of the plant, which will revive the plant, making it fuller.

2. The stems can be cut into pieces and rooted to make new plants. Stick in soil to a depth of 1/3 the length of the piece. In about two months you will have new plants.

Special Thanks
Special thanks to Goodwin Creek for giving our studio audience their catalog.

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