Growing Geranium, Scented

Care of Plants On Arrival: Open the shipping box and remove the pots as soon as possible after arrival. Your plants have spent up to 3 days in the box, with no light and no water and may show evidence of wilting or have yellow leaves. They now need light, air circulation and proper moisture. If the soil in the pot is dry, water immediately by setting the pot in a saucer of water for an hour or so, but not longer. Place the plants in bright but indirect light indoors, or if temperatures permit, in a shady location protected from wind outdoors. Over a few days, gradually expose them to more and more sunlight.

Scented Geraniums Outdoors: Your new geranium plants should be transplanted to larger containers or into your garden within 2 weeks of receipt. When you transplant, loosen the surface roots slightly from the root ball to encourage them to grow out into the surrounding soil. Protect plants from freezing and from abrupt changes in weather. Feed monthly with fish emulsion or a good all-purpose fertilizer at the rate and frequency suggested by the manufacturer.In temperate and coastal areas, plant scented geraniums in full sun; in hot-summer climates, put them in partial shade or indirect sun. They are not picky about soil but do require good drainage. If your soil is exceedingly alkaline, dig in peat moss or compost before planting. In areas colder than Zone 9, transplant scented geraniums into containers and move them inside before the first frost is due, or simply treat them as annuals and replace them with new plants in spring.Scented geraniums make excellent container plants. Use a light, well-drained potting mix and choose pots with adequate drainage holes. Proper watering of plants in containers is important. As a rule, the top inch of the potting mix should be allowed to dry before you water. Be sure to water your plants enough so that excess water drains from the bottom of the pot, but don’t leave them sitting in water; the roots will suffocate and rot in saturated potting mix. Do not use artificially softened water because it contains sodium, which is toxic to plants.

Growing Scented Geraniums Indoors: A south- or west-facing window that lets in lots of light is ideal for growing scented geraniums. You’ll need to shade your plants in the heat of summer, but in the winter they will thrive. Since geraniums are day-length sensitive plants, at least half of the light they receive should be direct sunlight, or they will not grow actively. If necessary, supplement the available natural sunlight with artificial light in the winter months. Pinch plants regularly to promote lush growth and maintain a bushy habit. In general, allow three pairs of leaves to form on a stem before pinching. Smaller leaved varieties may be pinched back more often.In the dry conditions of a home with central heating, you need to increase the relative humidity of the air around your scented geraniums. Place the pots on a bed of gravel in a waterproof tray and fill the tray with water. Set the pot on the pebbles above the water to prevent root rot.Good air circulation and frequent removal of dead and damaged leaves will go a long way toward keeping your plants healthy. The biggest pest of scented geraniums is the whitefly, a tiny white insect that lurks on the undersides of the leaves and rises into the air when you run your hand over the foliage. To eliminate whiteflies, spray the undersides of the leaves with insecticidal soap formulated for indoor use. Spray again a week later to take care of the next hatching of young. It’s a good idea to use this spray once a month because whiteflies are very persistent. Botrytis, or gray mold, is a fungal disease that appears when conditions are damp and cold. Clean culture is the best prevention. Remove dead leaves that collect on top of the soil, as they may harbor mold spores. Botrytis starts on the leaves as a gray mold. If you detect it early, you may be able to save the plant by pinching off the affected area. If you need to pinch off all or almost all of the leaves, water sparingly until your plant sprouts new leaves and is actively growing.

Orange Scented Geranium Iced Tea:

  • 4 teabags or 2 tablespoons loose black tea leaves
  • 6 medium size, orange scented geranium leaves, washed
  • 12 cloves
  • thinly sliced lemon or orange
  • crushed ice
  • sugar

Place the tea, geranium leaves and cloves in a warmed teapot. Fill with 2 cups boiling water. Let steep for 5 minutes, then strain, cool and chill. Fill tumblers with crushed ice, then pour in the tea, and finish each glass with lemon or orange slices. Sweeten to taste. Serves 4.

Ginger Scented Geranium Honey.

  • 4 to 5 tablespoons chopped ginger scented geranium leaves
  • 1 pint honey
  • 1 clove
  • 1 allspice berry

Place geranium leaves in a small saucepan and bruise them with the back of a wooden spoon. Add honey, clove and allspice berry. Warm mixture over low heat for a few minutes, stirring well. Pour honey mixture into a sterilized jar. Seal tightly and place in a sunny window or warm place for 1 week to 10 days while the flavors blend. Heat honey again until it becomes liquid, then strain out geranium leaves and spices. Pour into a sterilized glass jar and seal tightly. Robers Lemon-Rose Ice Cream (Adapted from a recipe by James O’Shea, chef at the West Street Grill, Litchfield, Connecticut, in Edible Flowers from Garden to Palate, by Cathy Barash, Fulcrum Publishing). You’ll have your guests guessing with this deliciously floral ice cream.

  • 5 to 7 Robers Lemon-Rose geranium leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Robers Lemon-Rose geranium flower petals
  • 1 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Combine leaves, petals and half-and-half in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat immediately. Allow to cool for 20 minutes. In a small stainless steel saucepan, whisk together sugar and egg yolks. Continue to whisk until mixture is light and frothy. Slowly whisk in half-and-half. Simmer over low heat, stirring continually until custard coats the back of a wooden spoon. Strain custard into a bowl and set into an ice bath to cool. Beat heavy cream until it forms peaks. Gently fold cream into the cooled custard. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Remove from ice cream maker and place in freezer overnight to set. Serve in small glasses garnished with sprigs and flowers of Robers Lemon-Rose geraniums. Serves 4 to 6.

Cornish Game Hens With Ginger Scented Geranium Honey Glaze:

  • 4 Cornish game hens, about 1 pound each
  • 1/2 cup ginger scented geranium honey
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 8 ginger scented geranium leaves, cut into julienned strips, and 3 to 4 flowers, if available, for garnish

Rinse hens and pat dry. Split the breast and flatten hens. In a shallow dish large enough to contain the hens, combine the honey, orange juice, cinnamon and dry mustard to make a paste. Add the hens, coating them thoroughly with the honey mixture. Marinate hens in the mixture, skin side down, overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place hens in a large baking pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until juices run clear. Before serving, garnish each hen with the julienned geranium leaves and the flowers, if available. Serves 4.

Rose Scented Geranium Sugar: Easy to make, this fragrant sugar goes well in iced or hot tea, lemonade, or punch, and is delicious sprinkled over sugar cookies. Mix it with fresh sour cream, yogurt or creame fraiche as an excellent accompaniment to fresh berries, or use it to make a floral icing for your favorite cake.

  • 1 large handful rose scented geranium leaves
  • 4 cups granulated sugar

Wash and thoroughly dry geranium leaves, then bruise them between the palms of your hands. Pour 1/2 cup of the sugar into a 4-cup mason jar and place a layer of leaves on top. Add another 1/2 cup sugar, then another layer of leaves. Proceed in this manner until jar is full. Cap tightly, and let flavors infuse for a week before using.

For information on planting and care of annuals, .

How to Grow and Use Scented Geraniums

Mint: Peppermint, Joy Lucille, Pungent Peppermint, Crowfoot, and Chocolate Mint.

Fruit and Nut: Apple, Strawberry, Orange, Apricot, Filbert, and Pretty Polly.

Spice: Nutmeg, Ginger, Old Spice, and Cinnamon.

Pungent: Beauty, Clorinda, Mrs. Taylor, Pine-scented, Old Scarlet Unique, and Southernwood.

Oak-Leaved: Fair Ellen, Sharptooth Oak, Staghorn Oak, Pheasant’s Foot, and Village Hill Oak.

Altogether there are some 80 varieties available, yet at one time there were more than 250. The original herbs were introduced to Europe from South Africa in the early 1600’s and attracted so much attention that by 1652 the Dutch East India Company had established a brisk trade in the plants. Specimens were sent to Holland, where they were multiplied and hybridized. By the 1700’s they were being grown in quantity for the perfume industry, and with the discovery that the Pelargonium capitatum—known as Attar of Roses—could serve as a substitute or adulterant for the costly true rose attar, extensive plantations of scented geraniums were established by British landowners in Kenya. (This will give some idea of just how extensive these plantations needed to be: It takes one ton of green material to produce a mere two and a half pounds of essence by the process of distillation!) In the 1800’s the Victorians cultivated them widely as ornamentals and used them in a number of folk remedies. Compresses or head baths of scented geranium vinegar, for example, were reputed to cure headaches … a remedy that doesn’t seem to have survived the Victorian era.

With the advent of World War I and its concomitant fuel shortages, greenhouse production of ornamental plants was banned. As a result, propagation of scented geraniums fell into a decline, and many hybrids were lost. It wasn’t until after World War II that interest in them was rekindled and it’s going strong today.

Using Scented Geraniums

Although fragrant pelargoniums are grown in a garden setting primarily for their direct appeal to sight, smell, and touch, they have some practical uses as well. The leaves, which retain their fragrance for years, can be dried and crumbled, then sewn into sachets or stirred into potpourri. Mesh bags containing the newly picked herbs can be steeped in bathwater to perfume it, while leaves of the lemon-scented varieties, in particular, are a pleasant addition to finger bowls. (At one time bunches of the fresh greens were even strewn on earthen or flagstone floors where—serving in much the same capacity as today’s room fresheners—they gave out sweet odors when trod upon.)

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Geraniums can be used in the kitchen, too, for jams and jellies, cakes, flavored sugars and syrups, puddings, custards, and beverages such as tea or wine. Add one or two leaves of rose geranium to hot apple jelly to give the spread a delectable extra hint of flavor. For a soft rose taste that’s both unusual and elegant, lay several of these leaves in the bottom of a greased and floured loaf pan when you’re baking a white or pound cake. To make this flavor stronger, add one or two drops of rose oil or rosewater to the batter.

Growing Scented Geraniums

Since the soil in South Africa is light and has excellent drainage, it would be best to duplicate this medium if you intend to grow scented geraniums. Different authorities have different ideas, though, as to precisely what constitutes the best mixture for the potting soil. Some suggest a pH of 6 to 7 (very slightly acid, or neutral), with peat moss, sand, or perlite added to provide balance and good drainage. Author/gardener Helen Van Pelt Wilson feels that a blend of half leaf mold and half peat moss works quite well . . . or a mixture of 3 parts loam, 1 part coarse sand, and 1 part leaf mold. All authorities seem to agree that scented geraniums like moderate temperatures (55° to 70°F is ideal) and plenty of light, although heavily blossoming ones like Clorinda and Mrs. Taylor need direct sunlight. (Actually, like people, scented geraniums can get sunburned, so be sure to shade them a bit during the hot summer months if they’re in a window with southern or western exposure.) Like the garden geraniums, the fragrant varieties do best when slightly pot-bound. Water them only when the soil has dried out somewhat (it should feel dry to the touch, but do not let the plant roots dehydrate), then soak them thoroughly and allow them to drain completely.

In their native land, these aromatic beauties can grow ten feet high or so outdoors. Although they can winter over in some sections of our country, most have to spend at least the colder months indoors (where they need to be pinched back lest they outgrow available space). Indoors or out, the plants tend to get woody with age, producing fewer new shoots and leaves. However, one can take cuttings from mature plants in springtime, root them and grow them over the summer, then discard the old plants and keep the rooted cuttings for next year’s garden.

Propagating Pelargoniums

Although you can start fragrant pelargoniums from seed, it’s a difficult task; furthermore, because scented geraniums have been hybridized so much, their seeds don’t always produce true to type. A better method of propagation is by rooting cuttings. These should be three or four inches—or as much as four leaf nodes—long, taken from the main stem, and either cut with a very sharp knife or snapped off cleanly. All leaves should then be removed from the bottom quarter of the stem. Scented geranium cuttings are more susceptible to rot than those from the familiar garden type, so the rooting medium should be very well drained, and you should water conservatively. Some experts advise using a mixture of sand and perlite; some prefer moist sand. Chuck Heidgen of Shady Hill Gardens recommends that cuttings be taken in the evening, swished in a solution of 1 or 2 tablespoons of ordinary bleach and 3 or 4 drops of dish detergent to half a gallon of water, and allowed to dry overnight. By morning the clipped ends will have sealed over slightly. The cuttings should then be put into peat pots (Chuck uses Jiffy-7 pots at Shady Hill) kept just moist, not wet. For best results, Heidgen places the peat pots on a cake rack that’s set into a pan with some water in the bottom. This provides humidity while keeping the pots out of direct contact with the water.

Once the cuttings are rooted, you can transplant them into a standard growing medium in 4″ pots and set them out in the garden (if there’s no danger of frost). Repot the plants when their roots fill the containers, or put them directly into the ground. A handful of bonemeal or compost in the planting hole will help the young geraniums develop strong roots and stems. Don’t add a nitrogen fertilizer unless it’s absolutely necessary: Too much nitrogen will encourage excessive, weak growth and a corresponding loss of fragrance.

Fragrant Flowers

There’s something very special about plants with aromatic foliage … they have a kind of unexpected and delightful allure. When the plants also have charming flowers, a great assortment of textures and shapes, and an array of fragrances that duplicate some of our favorite flavors and perfumes, most people would agree that they’re nothing short of scentsational!

scented geraniums

The name “Geranium” usually evokes the showy rounded blooms that shout out from window boxes and hanging baskets every summer. But there is a whole group of Pelargonium species and varieties grown for their leaves’ fascinating texture and wonderful fragrance produced when rubbed or crushed. Most are modest-blooming, South African natives and many have flavors strong enough
to use in cooking.

Scented geraniums are NOT hardy in our area but are typically brought indoors before the first frost to be treated as houseplants, wintered over (as with Fuchsias) or grown as annuals. Varieties range from 9 to 36 inches tall. While the blooms are not spectacular like other Pelargoniums, many are attractive in shades of red, white, maroon, pink and lavender.

CULTURE

Scented geraniums need rich, well-drained soil and full sun, except mint geraniums (P. tomentosum) which do best in part shade. Avoid locations of extreme summer heat, cold or wind. Water with a drip hose, or long-spouted watering can, to keep water off the foliage. Water thoroughly, then let dry between waterings. Fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer once a month.

Bring indoors before frost to a sunny window and water sparingly. Cutting back to a few inches of stem will prevent plants from becoming straggly. You can also take cuttings in late summer and root them indoors over the winter. Watch for whiteflies or mealybugs and treat with insecticidal soap if they appear.

GARDEN USES

“Keep ‘em where you can smell ‘em” (and easily maintain them). Good in containers or window boxes near where you spend a lot of time. If planted near entries or walkways, you’re more likely to brush against them and release their fragrances. Some work well as hanging basket subjects or groundcovers; others as standards or topiary. Individual tags may suggest best uses.

KITCHEN USES

Leaves (and flowers, although generally less fragrant and flavorful) can be added to canned or baked fruit recipes, sauces and teas. Leaves added to the bottom of a tin or pan will infuse muffins or cakes with flavor (remember to remove the leaves before serving). Flowers make a nice salad garnish.

Repeat these tips for another season of indoor color.

Rose-Scented Geranium Collection (Pelargonium hybrids)
Roses are a traditional Mother’s Day gift. Our Rose-Scented Geranium Collection offers you, or a loved one, the pleasing fragrance of roses the whole year-round. Included in the collection are 5 varieties of rose-scented geraniums:
Rober’s Lemon Rose – a vigorous grower with pink blooms whose leaves emit a fragrance of both lemon and roses. Attar of Roses – a trailing geranium whose large leaves have a distinct rose perfume. It blooms in clusters of small pink flowers True Rose – a cherished vintage rose-scented geranium whose fragrant leaves and purple flowers are suitable for any fragrance garden Red-Flowered Rose – a true rose-scented geranium with large leaves and deep pink flowers make this a “must-have” for its delightful fragrance. Grey Lady Plymouth – the rose-scented, gray-green leaves have a fine white leaf edging and small lavender flowers.
Easy-to-grow scented geraniums are low-maintenance plants for the indoor or outdoor garden. Collection includes 5 plants, one of each variety listed above, each in a 2.5” pot.

Scented Geranium Rose
Botanical Name: Pelargonium graveolens

The Rose Scented Geranium is an erect, multi-branching evergreen shrub growing to 1.3 M high by 1 meter wide. It is herbaceous when young, but as the branches age they become woody. The stems are hairy and the leaves have a covering of many glandular hairs, which create a soft velvety texture. The leaves have a strong rose scented aroma. The leaves are mid green, palmately lobed and heart shaped at the base. The flowers have 5 light pink petals and are held in pseudo-umbels, or loose clusters. Each petal has a distinctive set of crimson coloured stripes extending out from the centre. The flowering period is from late winter to summer, with a peak in spring.

The Rose Scented Geranium has the genus name ‘pelargonium’ which comes from the Greek word ‘pelargos’, meaning stork. This is a reference to the shape of the fruit which looks like a stork’s beak. Pelargoniums are called ‘storkbills’ in some areas of the United States. The species name ‘graveolens’ means ‘strong smelling’ in Latin and refers to the strong fragrance in the leaves. This species has many hybrids and cultivars that have been developed to take advantage of the strong fragrance. Common names may include Rose Geranium and Old Fashioned Rose Geranium.

The original wild variety of Pelargonium graveolens is quite uncommon and is confined to only two limited regions in South Africa. Each has hot summers and mild winters, with varying rainfall. The plants grow in hilly or mountainous areas, usually in sheltered and moist positions. The cultivated variety of P. graveolens is said to be a hybrid of the original wild type. Many additional hybrids and cultivars have since been developed and are highly valued as ornamental plants by gardeners.

Pelargonium General Notes

Pelargoniums are evergreen perennials, sharing many common characteristics with the Geranium species. They range in height from 30- 100cm and may be categorized based on varying leaf shapes, such as crinkled, oak or fern leaf shapes. The leaf colour may vary from deep to light green, with flowers generally held in loose clusters. Most prefer to grow in full sun and they are also drought and heat tolerant. However, some varieties do require some shade and moist conditions where possible. Many grow near streams in their native habitats, but generally ‘less is more’ is a good guideline for watering these plants. They do not like to be damp at all.

This group of plants were initially catalogued by Linnaeus into the same Genus as Geraniums, but were separated into separate genera in 1789. Pelargoniums were taken to England in 1631, but it is likely they were transported to Holland in the earlier 1600’s. Since early times various varieties have been developed and many are now cultivated commercially for the essential oils used in perfumery and aromatherapy.

The Pelargonium genus is one of five in the family Geraniaceae, which has over 800 species. This includes the separate Geranium genus, which often causes confusion since ‘geranium’ is also used as a common name for the many Pelargonium species and cultivars. There is thought to be 270 species of Pelargonium, with 219 being native to South Africa. Among these, there is a number of genera or subtypes of pelargonium based on features such as leaf type. Of this selection about 80% are native only to select areas in the southern regions of South Africa. The remaining 20% are found in Australia, New Zealand and a few select areas such as Madagascar and Eastern Africa. There are now cultivated varieties all over the world, most with origins in South Africa. The true Geranium species is a hardy group of plants native to North America and Europe.

The Geranium plant family is an important food source for certain Lepidoptera species in their native regions. For more information on our other Scented Geranium listings.

Growing Conditions

Most pelargoniums enjoy full sun, but Rose Scented Geranium is one variety that requires more shelter. Pelargonium graveolens grows very well in semi-shaded positions and is good as a filler plant in larger gardens. It requires a moist, but not damp environment, with well- drained soil.

This plant also grows well in containers and hanging baskets. In cold regions it may even be taken indoors, but may be better treated as an annual if this is not possible. Although, not very tolerant of frost some plants may die down and return when the weather warms in spring. It may be propagated by tip or stem cuttings taken in autumn or spring.

Culinary Uses

Pelargoniums are usually suitable for culinary use, particularly the leaves and flowers. They may be used for herbal teas and to sweeten and scent desserts such as cakes and jelly. The most commonly used are those with rose, lemon and peppermint scents. Leaves may be cut and placed in ice cube trays for later use in iced tea or other suitable cold drinks.

A tea infusion may be made using 3 teaspoons of freshly chopped leaves, or 1 teaspoon of dried leaves, and 1 cup (250mls) of boiling water. Let the leaves steep, strain and then drink as needed. There are several varieties suitable for a tea infusion, but it may be a matter of taste.

Medicinal Uses

Many South African varieties of Pelargonium have a history of traditional medicine use by local tribes. General traditional use has included treatment for digestive and respiratory ailments, wounds, burns, ulcers and abscesses, cold sores and sore throats. The active chemicals are slightly astringent so they are good for skin care, oily skin and cleansing the pores. Overall the pelargonium species are seen as having value for creating a relaxing and uplifting feeling, while calming nerves, anxiety and aiding depression. There is also value for use in premenstrual tension and for those seeking an essential oil for creating a soothing and balancing effect on the body. Different varieties may have different effects.

The strongly scented Rose Scented Geranium, Pelargonium graveolens, is one of the best plants in this genus for traditional medicine use. Several active chemicals, in this species, have been determined to be beneficial for having antibiotic effects and nerve pain relief. Research has indicated it is helpful for nerve pain associated with shingles. It is thought to also have a soothing effect on the skin when used to bath rashes, skin irritations or simply used in bath water.

Other Uses

Many of the scented pelargonium species and varieties are cultivated especially for their use in perfumery, aromatherapy and massage therapy. Rose Scented Geranium is often used as a substitute for Rose of Attar. The oil is extracted from the leaf and stems of the plant.

How to Grow Scented Geraniums

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

Scented Geranium Collection

Joy Logee Martin, Byron’s mother and the second generation owner, loved her scented geraniums. It wasn’t unusual to find scented geranium leaves pinned to her lapel. “Scenteds,” as they were often called, were popular in the early 1900’s and although they didn’t have big showy flowers like their cousins, their surprisingly fragrant foliage made them the shining stars in bouquets. It wasn’t unusual to have scents such rose, lemon, lime, orange, nutmeg, almond, apple, anise, pine, musk, violet, lavender, balm, oak, or peppermint emanating from a grouping of flowers.

“Scenteds” have other uses too. They were often found in sachets and potpourri bowls or their leaves would be placed in a crystal bowl of water and the fragrance would waft throughout the household. The Rose Scented Geranium became popular in cooking. It wasn’t unusual to have rose flavored honey or rose flavored shortbread, simply by soaking the leaves and extracting the rose flavor out of the leaves and then using the liquid as a food flavoring.

Certain conditions are required to enhance the flowering and foliage of growing Scented Geraniums.

Growing Conditions
Like so many in this genus, they tolerate dry conditions making them excellent subjects for the container gardener. Since Scented Geraniums are dry land plants, they need a period of dryness between watering where the soil is brought to visual dryness or even a slight wilt of the foliage. Then fully saturate the soil and let the water run through. If wet conditions are a problem, a clay pot is a good choice for your container since it allows the soil to reach dryness quicker than glazed terracotta or plastic containers.

Rose Scented Geranium
‘True Rose’ (Pelargonium hybrid)

Logee’s Scented Geraniums
Blooming in our Greenhouse

Light Levels
Scented Geranium plants need high light levels to perform well. Full sun is the optimum light exposure. Scented Geraniums need a south-facing window or they should be placed in direct sunlight outside during the warmer months. They can also be grown in an east or west window but there will usually be some stretching of the stems and leaf petioles making the plants a bit “leggy.”

Temperatures
These native South African plants do well under a variety of temperatures and they can adapt to extremes of hot and cold mimicking their native habitat. However, they are frost sensitive and need to be kept above freezing.

Flowering Cycle
The flowering cycle starts in the late winter or early spring and is induced by the increasing day length and cool nighttime temperatures where the nights dip into the 50’s to just above freezing on a constant basis. With the increased light level, flower buds form. This is followed by a period of nonstop blooming that continues until warm nights force the plants out of bloom. Depending on the weather in Connecticut, we have seen them bloom from early spring into late June.

Fragrance
Fragrant foliage is the reason most Scented Geraniums are grown. To test the scent, simply brush or squeeze the foliage with your fingers and then bring your hand to your nose and inhale deeply. The scents are simply stunning. Scented Geraniums have the following fragrances: spice, rose, citrus, woody, fruit and mint.

Pruning
Pruning is done after flowering and discontinued in late fall so the new growth of early winter can be subjected to the decreased day length and the cool nights that bring the plants into flower.

Fertilizer
Apply a balanced fertilizer every two weeks in a dilute solution. Container grown plants need some fertilizer but it’s best to not overdo it and err on the lean side, because over-fed plants can quickly become rank and unmanageable.

Growth Habit
The best plants are stocky in stature with short leaf petiole and internodes. And although there is a considerable difference in growth habit between the species or cultivars, when grown a little lean on the fertilizer, they make better specimens.

Insects and Disease
Generally, they are free of insects, although whitefly can bother them as well as aphids in the spring. And with the needed dryness, the root systems are generally free of disease.

Hanging Basket
Scented Geranium

Hanging Basket Display
Some varieties like ‘Apple’ and ‘Logeei’ make great hanging baskets since their stems are naturally pendulous. The rose scented and lemon scented geraniums do better as potted plants for the windowsill or summer patio since their growth habit is more upright.

Overall, Scented Geraniums are easy to grow, especially when given the right amount of fertilizer, bright light and dryness between watering. Scented Geraniums are a mainstay in our greenhouses and we can’t imagine our gardening space without their fragrant foliage.

View PDF Care sheet

A Recipe For Rose Geranium Cake:

Isabel Gordon Curtis’s Rose Geranium Cake

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (Calumet)
  • Whites of 4 eggs

Sift flour, salt and baking powder together. Cream butter and sugar. Add alternately water and flour mixture, then whites of eggs. Whip hard 5 minutes. Line loaf pan with buttered paper and rose geranium leaves. Carefully add cake batter. Bake at 350 degrees until tests done. The geranium leaves can be pulled off with the paper. Note: To intensify the rose flavor, add a few drops of rose extract to the cake batter. You can also use scented geranium leaves when making a standard pound cake recipe.

Sources:

The Complete Geranium: Cultivation, Cooking, and Crafts by Susan Condor.

http://history.librarypoint.org/scented_geraniums Scented Geraniums Were Stars In Victorian Valentine Bouquets, by Barbara Crookshanks.
April 9, 2015.

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