Among pelargoniums, only a few species became famous not for flowering. And the main of the decorative deciduous species is fragrant pelargonium. Its main and most valuable advantage is rightly called luxurious leaves. They are more like the plants with which pelargoniums are so often confused – garden geraniums. Delicate inflorescences of fragrant pelargonium are lost against the background of its lush-blooming relatives. But this species is so fresh, harmonious and fragrant that this feature cannot be called a disadvantage. Pelargonium is very easy to grow. And according to this parameter, it will give odds to any other species.
Fragrant Pelargonium – impressive leaves and aroma. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Heli Viedehof
Description of the plant
It is not by chance that Pelargonium fragrant is called the most underestimated of indoor pelargoniums. But she has some of the most beautiful carved leaves with a velvet texture.
Pelargonium is fragrant (Pelargonium graveolens) Is a densely branching evergreen dwarf shrub with powerful fibrous roots and a maximum height of almost 1 m. Among the varieties there are more powerful, suitable for standard culture and compact dwarf ones. The stem is woody only at the base, covered with a pleasant velvety edge.
Without a particularly complex formation, the bushes look amazingly correct and elegant – at first they are umbrella-shaped, spreading, with age they become almost round spheres, luxurious thick pillows of openwork leaves.
At the bottom of the branches, the leaves sit opposite, at the top – alternately, but always – on rather long pubescent petioles. Heart-shaped along the contour, large, deeply dissected into 5-7 lobes, with a stunning filigree carved edge, the leaves of fragrant pelargonium look like bright green lace.
The dazzling cold shades of herbaceous colors or all the richness of the olive and silver-gray tones emphasize how special this plant has greens. There are varieties with curly, more thinly dissected or more massive leaves, with different metallic color effects.
The essential oils contained in the leaves can often be felt with even the slightest contact. And rubbing the leaves allows you to fully appreciate the sweetish-rich “geranium” aroma, in which the overtones of the rose are felt much stronger than in other species.
The smell of fragrant pelargonium can have a healing effect: it relaxes, soothes, improves mood and performance, relieves tension and stress, helps to cope with weather dependence and headaches.
The plant acts in the same way as the geranium essential oil, which is obtained from its aerial parts. By the way, one of the most valuable for perfumery and cosmetology. There are many varieties of Pelargonium fragrant, in which the aroma is dominated by lemon, cinnamon, pineapple, coconut, ginger, peach, chocolate, pine, mint, nutmeg or apple notes.
The flowering of fragrant pelargonium is often underestimated. Small, elegant umbrellas are less common in varieties than single flowers. Similar to butterflies, fragrant pelargonium flowers seem very romantic and delicate. They are painted in pastel colors ranging from white to reds and purples with strokes and veins.
Growing conditions for fragrant pelargonium
Good lighting and warmth are all that scented pelargonium needs to reveal its beauty. It is a surprisingly unassuming plant that can easily adapt to change.
Lighting and placement
Bright lighting without any extremes is the best option for scented pelargonium. The leaves are brighter in diffused light, but in a sunny place they will retain their beauty (the plant will be more sensitive to watering and air humidity). The direct summer afternoon sun can cause burns.
Placing fragrant pelargonium, you should make sure that the plant has room to develop – in all directions. This species does not like close groups, the proximity of walls or glass – the air should circulate freely around the bushes. An ideal place for scented geraniums is an eastern or western window sill.
Temperature control and ventilation
One of the most thermophilic, fragrant pelargonium seems to have been created for indoor conditions. She cannot stand a drop in indicators below +12 degrees. Even in winter, it can be in normal room mode. But lowering the temperatures to + 12 … + 16 ° С will allow you to better preserve the greens and achieve more spectacular flowering. Intense heat requires more careful maintenance. The plant is most decorative in temperatures from +18 to +23 degrees Celsius.
For the summer, fragrant pelargonium can be safely moved to the balconies and to the garden. In the fresh air, it easily adapts even to sunny places. When kept in rooms, regular ventilation is necessary, but without cold drafts.
Read about other types of pelargonium in our article Pelargonium – the most hardy of the flowering ones.
Caring for fragrant pelargonium at home
This plant is content with minimal maintenance and easily forgives irrigation mistakes. Fragrant pelargonium is suitable even for those who often travel.
Watering and air humidity
You should not overdo it with watering for fragrant pelargonium. She does not tolerate dampness, water should not stagnate in the pallets. But on the other hand, this species copes well with droughts and can forgive both business trips and oversight. It is best to water the plant when the topsoil in the pots is dry. Watering is adjusted depending on the temperature of the content – it is carried out more generously in summer and reduced in winter, drying the substrate more strongly.
Like all velvety stars, scented pelargonium cannot stand spraying or drenching. But high humidity only has a positive effect on the attractiveness of the leaves. For a plant, you can install a pallet or bowl with wet expanded clay or moss at hot temperatures.
Top dressing and composition of fertilizers
Fragrant pelargonium needs feeding only from mid-spring to the end of summer (or until the end of flowering). For her, it is better to use complex fertilizers or mixtures for decorative deciduous plants. The frequency of feeding is standard, once every 1-2 weeks. An excess of fertilizer leads to a weakening of the aroma.
Pruning and shaping fragrant pelargonium
This is one of the easiest indoor plants to “manage”. It is enough to pinch Pelargonium fragrant to thicken bushes, control height and size. The earlier they begin to pinch the tops, the more the plant branches and the less it stretches upward.
By pruning shoots to 2-3 internodes, the fragrant pelargoniums are radically renewed, although it is easier to grow a replacement for too deformed bushes from cuttings. Any pruning is desirable in early spring.
Transplant, containers and substrate
Radiant pelargonium is transplanted only when the previous container has been fully mastered and the roots are shown from the drainage holes. The transplant is carried out in March.
Unlike some relatives, scented pelargonium will prefer compact containers. Their size is increased by only a few centimeters, the width and height of the pot should be approximately equal. A large amount of untapped substrate leads to active root growth to the detriment of greenery. Scented geranium grows best in ceramic vessels.
For fragrant pelargonium, you need to pick up a loose and nutritious soil mixture. A universal substrate or special soil for summer cages is suitable – with an equal amount of sod, leafy soil and sand. Pelargonium fragrant does not tolerate peat. This species must be grown with a high drainage layer (up to 1/3 of the capacity), adding loosening additives to the soil that do not allow the substrate to thicken. The plant is transplanted by the transshipment method, keeping the earthen lump intact.
Read also our article Rules for wintering pelargonium on the windowsill and in the basement.
Diseases, pests and growing problems
Being one of the most powerful phytoncides and actively repelling moths and pests, scented pelargonium became famous as a natural repellent. She is only threatened by decay of the roots during overflow or the base of the stems with inaccurate watering.
Reproduction of fragrant pelargonium
The simplicity of reproduction will make it easy to grow lush pelargoniums without much effort. Green cuttings can be cut from March to September, semi-lignified – in August-October, they take root in less than 3 weeks even without greenhouse conditions and just in water. An apical cutting about 5 cm long with 3-5 leaves is enough, of which only 3 are left, deeply burying the cuttings into the substrate.
It is more difficult to grow scented pelargonium from seeds. It requires shallow sowing, foil coverage and stable moisture content.
Large bushes producing shoots can be divided into parts.