Monday, September 29, 2008

Pink Ivy Leaf Geranium

Ivy Leaf Geranium
Pelargonium peltatum
(pe-lar-GO-nee-um pel-TAY-tum)

This Ivy leaf was blooming at Pound Ridge Nurseries yesterday. I was there looking for some premium mums but didn’t see anything. Most of the mums were kind of run of the mill. They did have the Bush Clover (Lespedeza thunbergii) that I have been trying to locate and a good selection of Sheffield Mums. I didn’t buy them and will have to slip over there during the week.

The Ivy Leaf Geraniums were planted in containers and hanging baskets which is how you usually see them. I didn’t realize my little dream of planting some as groundcover this year (forgot, actually). Definitely want to try it next year. Even though the newer varieties seem to be more heat tolerant than the older ones I still locate them where they are out of the afternoon sun. That probably becomes more critical the further south you go.

This South African native doesn’t like to dry out and needs well drained soil. The 1911 Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica says that “The best soil for pelargoniums is a mellow fibrous loam with good well-rotted stable manure or leaf-mould in about the proportion of one-fifth; when used it should not be sifted, but pulled to pieces by the hand, and as much sand should be added as will allow the water to pass freely through it. The large flowered and fancy kinds cannot bear so much water as most soft-wooded plants, and the latter should have a rather lighter soil.

They must have had a lot of time back then if they were pulling the compost apart by hand.

In Connecticut we plant Ivy Leaf Geranium as annuals although I sometimes take them in for the winter and they do a decent job in the Conservatory.

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