Scented Geranium ‘Attar of Roses’





Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:



12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Time:

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

Unknown – Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown – Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

By simple layering

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Ceres, California

Citrus Heights, California

Northridge, California

Rumsey, California

Kissimmee, Florida

Buckley, Washington

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Attar of roses

rose petal harvestingRose petal harvesting and attar distillation in BulgariaEncyclopædia Britannica, Inc.See all videos for this article

Attar of roses, also called otto of rose, essence of rose, or rose oil, fragrant, colourless or pale-yellow liquid essential oil distilled from fresh petals of Rosa damascena and R. gallica and other species of the rose family Rosaceae. Rose oils are a valuable ingredient of fine perfumes and liqueurs. They are also used for flavouring lozenges and scenting ointments and toilet preparations.

In Bulgaria, roses are grown in humid valleys, and their subsequent distillation has become an important, modernized state enterprise. Turkish Anatolia also produces some attar commercially. In the south of France and in Morocco, rose oil is obtained partly by distilling but principally by extracting the oil from the flower petals of centifolia roses, Rosa centifolia, by means of a suitable solvent. One ounce of richly perfumed attar may be produced from about 250 pounds (113 kg) of roses. Rose water is a by-product of distillation.

The principal odorous constituents are geraniol and citronellol. See also essential oil.

Attar Of Rose Geraniums: Learn About Scented Attar Of Roses

“Attar” is a word used to describe any perfume extracted from flowers. Scented attar of roses, extracted from the blooms of roses, was highly desired and very expensive during the Victorian era, which is understandable when you consider it takes 150 pounds of rose blossoms to make a single ounce of fragrance. Thus, geranium attar of rose became an inexpensive substitute for the real thing.

Growing Geranium Attar of Rose

Attar of rose geraniums (Pelargonium capitatum ‘Attar of Roses’) and other scented geraniums were initially introduced to Europe by way of South Africa. The plants grew in popularity in the United States and became trendy by the 1800s, but as fancy Victorian styles fell out of fashion, so did ruffly attar of rose geraniums. Today, attar of rose scented geraniums have regained a following among gardeners who appreciate them for their attractive foliage and sweet scent. They are considered an heirloom plant.

Attar of rose scented geraniums are easy to grow in the warm climates of USDA plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. The plants are lovely in flower beds, patio containers or hanging baskets.

Geranium attar of rose grows in full sun or partial shade, although the plant benefits from afternoon shade in hot climates. Plant these scented geraniums in average, well-drained soil. Avoid rich soil, which may decrease the sweet aroma.

Gardeners in cooler climates can grow geranium attar of rose indoors, where it remains beautiful all year round. Indoor plants benefit from a little shade in summer, but they need bright light throughout the winter months.

Caring for Attar of Rose Geraniums

Geranium attar of rose is a drought-tolerant plant that doesn’t tolerate soggy soil. Water only when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Water indoor plants deeply, and then allow the pot to drain thoroughly.

Fertilize plants every three to four weeks using a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength. Alternatively, use a slow-release granular fertilizer early in the growing season. Be careful not to over-feed attar of rose geraniums, as too much fertilizer may minimize the scent of the blooms.

Pinch the stem tips of young plants occasionally to produce bushier growth. Prune attar of rose geraniums if the plant begins to look long and leggy.

When you receive your Scented Pelargoniums . . .
Carefully remove the plants from the box and packaging. We take exceptional care in how we pack and deliver our plants.

Pot up your plants the day they arrive, but if you’re unable, check the compost and water if roots are dry. This will help prevent distress for a day or so. Store inside in a cool, dry place away from direct heat and light. It is in your plants’ best interest that it is potted up as soon as possible and if you delay doing this for too long it will suffer and might even die if neglected.

Where to plant, indoors or out?

Outdoors: You can plant scented pelargoniums directly in the garden, in borders, raised planters, hanging baskets or containers once the danger of frost is gone.

Indoors: These geraniums are wonderful container plants and will flourish all year inside the home in adequately sized pots on windowsills or in rooms with plenty of natural light available.

How to care for your Scented Pelargoniums:
Whether you are planting your new scented geraniums in pots, raised beds or the garden be sure to use a light commercial potting mix or multi-purpose compost, with plenty of perlite, vermiculite or sand and fine grit incorporated for drainage is ideal. We use Pro-Mix with Mycorrhizae on the farm. It is essential to use well-drained compost in pots or even in the garden as scented geraniums do not like wet feet.

Plant in the garden where there is ample bright light. Water regularly, preferably from below, letting them dry out fairly well between waterings. Scented Geraniums do not require a lot of fertilizer, however, a regular feeding ever two weeks (half-strength to your usual potted plants) during active growth is recommended. We alternately use a diluted comfrey tea made here on the farm or a fish and seaweed emulsion mix every two weeks to keep our plants healthy and happy..

Keep in mind to prune every several weeks. Some plants may arrive to you looking as if they have received a haircut and they probably have. These plants are not damaged. In fact, pruning encourages bushy, dense and lush growth. To keep your plants in good shape and to prevent them from becoming leggy as they mature they will require pruning every so often. Do not worry! You will not damage your plants by giving them a good trim – providing of course that you do not cut off all of the growing tips. You will be pleasantly pleased with how good your plants looks again in a very short time.

As your plant grows and becomes larger it will require repotting on into a bigger pot. This should be one size larger than present as they do like fairly restricted roots. You will most likely need to do this several times during the life of your plant.

Frost Warning
Scented Geraniums are frost tender and should only be planted directly outside from late May through to early October. The remainder of the year they should be over-wintered inside in a bright room where they get plenty of bright, natural light. It is essential to assess your frost risk by checking your USDA Hardiness Zone and bring the plants inside at the appropriate time. It is highly unlikely that they will survive if they are left outside in winter or very cold months.

The bonus is that these plants can be brought in for the winter! They make great house plants and will often continue to flower for several months filling you home with wonderful living, natural fragrances. A couple of weeks before it is time to move them back out in to the garden, give them a good prune, repot and feed. Acclimate your plants to outside conditions, then plant out. Of course, by then, you will probably just love the aromatic scents so much you’ll want to keep them inside!

Attar Of Roses Scented Geranium foliage

Attar Of Roses Scented Geranium foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 24 inches

Spacing: 10 inches


Hardiness Zone: (annual)

Ornamental Features

Attar Of Roses Scented Geranium’s attractive fragrant round palmate leaves remain green in color throughout the year. It features bold clusters of lightly-scented rose flowers at the ends of the stems from late spring to early fall. The flowers are excellent for cutting. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Attar Of Roses Scented Geranium is an herbaceous annual with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep. Trim off the flower heads after they fade and die to encourage more blooms late into the season. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Attar Of Roses Scented Geranium is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting
  • Hanging Baskets

Planting & Growing

Attar Of Roses Scented Geranium will grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 12 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 10 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. Although it’s not a true annual, this fast-growing plant can be expected to behave as an annual in our climate if left outdoors over the winter, usually needing replacement the following year. As such, gardeners should take into consideration that it will perform differently than it would in its native habitat.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid. It can be propagated by cuttings; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Attar Of Roses Scented Geranium is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor containers and hanging baskets. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a ‘thriller’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

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