IMHO, the prettiest red-green plant combination would easily be taken out by none other than the red geranium. Its deliciously soft green foliage supporting bobbing heads of fire-engine red blooms has an instant pick-me-up effect whenever I spot one growing in a windowsill or along a paved street. And they seem to flourish best wherever they’re neglected.
Commonly known as a cranesbill for their efforts at attracting pollinators, the geranium plant is a much loved bloomer from yesteryear. You don’t see them in gardens much these days, especially newly established ones, as landscapers often pass them over due to their lengthy stretches as leggy twigs. Without the flowers a geranium plant can look ordinary at best and often look very scraggly characters.
Yet, with more than 400 different varieties available as annuals, biennials and perenials there is definitely at least one geranium suitable for any garden situation. Geraniums are great container plants which makes them all the more attractive for the home gardener who can exhibit them when flowering and hide them when they’re not.
Geranium Plant Care
So, how do you care for a geranium plant? Cranesbills are a fairly basic plant and certainly one that is a great starter for any beginner gardener. They’re very forgiving and can grow in most well-draining soil types, even if the soil is devoid of any humus content. Geraniums are not great lovers of wet feet so struggle in clay soils so if this is your soil type then you may want to consider only growing them in containers.
Geranium care is somewhat an oxymoron because they seem to thrive on neglect far more than they do on fussy-preening. Fertilising them with a slow-release fertiliser is far better than heaping mobs of manure around their base or better still soak them with a liquid fertiliser before their blooms begin to open.
Once a bloom has been spent you can deadhead just the dead flower, or if there are no other blooms left on the stalk then cut it back by a third. Depending on your climate and whether you enjoy an extended flowering period may result in a second flourish of blooms. Otherwise, it will just prepare your geranium plant for its dormant period.
And propagating these plants is a cinch. Take a length of the stalk, minus any blooms, and place it in some potting mix – or directly in the soil – and cover if colder weather is on its way. At the start of spring, buds will begin to form on the stalk and you will have produced a brand new geranium plant.