Common Name:Scented Geraniums, Storksbills
Although Scented geraniums are in the same family as true geraniums and share some similarities, they are actually a separate genus.
- Leaves: Leaves are thick and hairy. There are many different shapes, from round to finely cut and lacy, in shades from gray green to lime green.
- Flowers: Each flower has five petals, two larger upper petals and three smaller lower petals.
Bloom PeriodLate Spring / Summer
- Apple Scented (Pelargonium odoratissimum) - Crisp apple scent and small white flowers. 3 ft.
- Chocolate Mint (Pelargonium tomentosum) - Yummy scent Round leaves have a dark center ring. 2 ft.
- Mosquito Plant (Pelargonium citrosa) - A song citronella scent. I've never found it particular effective with mosquitoes. 2 ft.
- Variegated Rose Geranium( Pelargonium graveolens 'Variegata') Silver edged, lacy leaves with a rose scent.
Design Suggestions and Uses:
Plant scented geraniums where you will rub against them; along a walkway or at an entrance. These are great plants for containers, filling out and spilling over the edges. Scented geraniums are especially nice in individual pots, clustered together.
Stems and leaves can be used in arrangements or dried for potpourri. Varieties with dense growing small leaves, like Pelargonium crispum, make nice topiaries and small standards.
Soil: Soil should be well draining, but not too rich. As with herbs and other plants grown for their essential oils, a rich soil can lessen the strength of the fragrance. Scented geraniums will tolerate most soil pH, but a slightly acidic pH of about 6.0--6.8 is ideal.
Planting:A handful of varieties can be started from seed, but most are hybrids and will need to be purchased as plants. Small plants are often available in the herb section of nurseries and are usually affordable. You can also easily root cuttings and make more plants.
Watering: Scented geraniums are very drought tolerant and don't like sitting in wet soil. Water when the soil feels dry about an inch below the surface. Prolonged periods of dry soil will cause the leaves to turn yellow, then brown and fall off, but the plant will come back again with regular water.
Feeding: Go easy on the fertilizer. Scented geraniums are light feeders and their scent will be stronger if they are grown on the lean side. Potted plants will need more fertilizer than plants in the ground. Potted geraniums can be feed a balanced fertilizer at half the label recommended dilution, in the spring and every 3--4 weeks through summer, if they look like they need it. Do not fertilize at all during the winter.
Pruning: Occasional < a href="http://gardening.about.com/od/gardenprimer/ss/GardenMaint_3.htm">pinching and pruning will make your scented geranium plants more full and bushy. If your plant gets to be too large, don't be afraid to prune it back. Spring is the best time to prune because this will give the plants time to set buds and flower. But large plants can handle some cutting back during any season. You can always root the trimmings.