pelargonium guide & flowery photo album

pelargoniums & tropical climates - cultivars

can pelargoniums grow in tropical climates? i received this question and am hesitant to answer as i have no direct experience with those circumstances yet i have a few suggestions...
!WARNING! the following might be a tranquillizer for anyone who is not a plant geek!

if looking for regular cultivars, one should definitely stay clear of regals as they were bred to do well in cool climates and will only bloom with after a cool winter.
stellars, uniques and regular zonals would be my choice, even though none are tropical. they prefer the same lower humidity we do, not the humid hothouse conditions of, say, orchids. yet they are quite hardy and grow quickly which is the way i imagine it to work; once they have a good size, they can overcome a lot!

the main concern for all pelargoniums would be humidity. as the true species originate from places like Africa & Australia, most of the cultivars can tolerate quite high temperatures. but pelargoniums dislike soggy feet no matter where they grow so it would be even more important to keep the watering down if the air humidity is high. to ensure dry feet try these tips:
- use only clay/terracotta pots.
- make sure to use a pot that is small enough, i.e. not much bigger than the root system.
- use a mixed, well draining soil. example: one third soil with lots of structure (for instance a mix with peat), one third leca (2-4 mm) and one third of coarse sand. i buy the kind of sand used for birds as it is already sterilized.
- avoid overhead watering which can encourage fungus and disease. water in the tray and only spray mist the top soil.
- provide good ventilation.

for stellars it would also be vital to ensure shading as they do not like intense sun. zonals dig the sun better but no pelargonium can survive day long direct, tropical sun. uniques stand sun better than any other pelargonium cultivars.

a last suggestion of cultivars would be the scented varieties. if can get your hand at one that already a good size, it will actually need quite a lot of water.

finally, here's a list of pelargonium cultivars that are strong & stubborn growers in my personal experience:
zonals: Dryden/Santa Monica, Red Explosion, Distinction.
stellars: Arctic Star, Snowflake, Vectis Glitter.
uniques: Paton's Unique, Key's Unique, Old Scarlet Unique.
scented: Ardwick Cinnamon, Staghorn Oak, Chocolate Blotch.


Hort Log said...

thanks. now to lay my hands on some seeds....

Hermes said...

You've been really busy whilst I was away on holiday. Great stuff.

kompoStella said...

hort log - you're welcome.
cultivars cannot be propagated from seeds as they are not stable enough. i'll write another post on this subject but about the species which can be seeded.

hermes - welcome back! and thanks for noticing & commenting; i spent way too much time on the make over, so your words are greatly appreciated :-)

Anonymous said...

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