What Is Ivy Geranium?

M. West
M. West
Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

The species of ivy geranium, Pelargonium peltatum, is frequently used in hanging baskets or window boxes. It is native to Cape Province of South Africa and was brought into Holland in 1700 and into England in 1774. As of 2011, there are 75 different cultivars, which vary in appearance as well as growth characteristics. Color choices of ivy-leaf geraniums include white, pink, or lavender, as well as purple, orange, or red, while blooms may be single, semi-double, or double. Care must be taken in the cultivation of this flower, with considerations including light, temperature, and watering, as well as other considerations.

Light and temperature are two care factors to keep in mind when tending to ivy geranium plants. A location in full sun should be selected when the temperatures are between 65° and 80° Fahrenheit (18° to 27° Celsius), but the plant should be relocated to an area of partial sun when the temperature rises above 85° Fahrenheit (29° Celsius). As it does not like the cold, it should be brought indoors once the temperature falls below 50° Fahrenheit (10° Celsius). During winter, experts recommend storing the plant in a cool basement with a minimum temperature of 50° Fahrenheit (10° Celsius). For the duration of this winter rest, it should be watered only sparingly and not fertilized at all.

Part of caring for ivy geranium involves some particular watering requirements. It is best to keep the soil evenly moist, rather than soggy, letting the surface of the soil dry between waterings. The plant should not be watered in the afternoon, because wet foliage can foster disease.

Aside from light and watering, a few other guidelines should be followed in taking care of ivy geranium plants. They should be fed about every 10 days to three weeks in the spring through the autumn with a high-potassium liquid fertilizer, using a mixture of equal parts water and fertilizer. Branching can be fostered by pinching off new stems, while more blooms can be encouraged by removing dead flowers. Some gardeners advise using a peat moss-based soil-less mix. It is recommended that ivy geranium plants be slightly pot bound; when repotting in spring, they should be transferred to a pot one size larger or kept in the same pot with fresh potting mix. Pests do not present a major problem for ivy geranium and though the consumer can purchase pest-free plants as the best pest control method.

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