by Bridget Geegan Blanton
My garden has been subject to constant transformation over the years. I'm always trying to make the most of the knowledge earned from lessons learned. I can list the brilliant successes and the dismal failures, as well as how much sunlight that plant received.
For a gardener, the end of summer is a good time to conduct a review of which plants performed well. For me, not a gardening season passes without introducing new plants into the mix, yet I have my old favorites that appear year after year. Reigning triumphant at the top of the list are Pelargoniums, commonly known as scented geraniums.
Scented geraniums produce highly aromatic foliage and delicate, brightly colored blossoms. There is a vast array of leaf shapes, flower colors and foliage scents available amongst the wide world of Pelargoniums.
Scented geraniums are an attractive ornamental plant to add to your landscape. They also do quite well as potted plants. Local availability is usually limited to just a few of the less interesting varieties. During the winter months ahead, search online for a nursery that will ship to your zone and prepare to be dazzled by the scents available.
Just to pique your interest, let me list a few of the fragrances that I've discovered:
The range of variety in leaf shape amongst these plants is as numerous as are the scents that they release. The more vigorous growing pelargoniums have larger leaves. Compact varieties have smaller, more delicate leaves and blossoms to match.
Scented geraniums are fun to collect and with the range of offerings, it's easy to see why! Some of the scented geraniums in my collection were chosen for their scent, others for their blossom.
The blossom of the Wildwood, scented geranium, one of my favorites, displays more than a few hues of pink. It is one of the most attractive flowers I've seen on a Pelargonium. I tend to favor the warmer fragrances like nutmeg and ginger yet, the lemony scented foliage is also a favorite.
You'll be happy to know that scented geraniums are relatively hardy, somewhat drought tolerant and easy to care for. When I go out of town on vacation, scented geraniums are always amongst the survivors of the watering drought in my garden.
These plants do best in a well draining soil. They are excellent plants for terra cotta pots on the patio. Water a scented geranium only when the soil is dry and keep them out of that hot, afternoon sun. They prefer full morning sun along with a little dappled afternoon sunlight. Scented geraniums can tend to be 'leggy' so keep them pruned.
Pelargoniums benefit, as do all plants, when we slow down and spend a little time mixing in some fertilizer with the water.
If you're like me and you maintain an ever-growing number of Pelargoniums scenting the breeze off the patio; you're going to want to use those aromatic leaves for something other than rubbing between your fingers. Toss dried leaves into your potpourri mix.
Make rose geranium scented sugar by inserting fresh leaves into your sugar bowl. Raise even more scented geraniums by inserting cuttings into damp soil. This is one time that you won't want to let the soil dry out. Actually, scented geraniums are notorious as excellent plants to propagate through cuttings.
I don't know if this is good news or bad, but hybridization of the Pelargonium continues to produce new sizes and scents for the scented geranium fan. If anything, shopping for scented geraniums online in the dead of the winter is a sure cure for the wintertime blues.
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