Pelargonium is a genus of plants from the geranium family, represented by many very diverse species suitable for growing in an apartment, in a garden, in a rock garden. The generic name of the plant is a Latinized version of the Greek word for crane, given for the resemblance of a long seed pod to the beak of a crane. During the period of seed ripening, the base of the seed capsule tapering towards the end, dries up, is divided into five parts (each of them carries one seed), bursts and scatters the seeds far around.
Pelargonium. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com floradania
Description of pelargonium
Pelargonium (Pelargonium) – a genus of plants of the Geranium family, or Crane (Geraniaceae).
Homeland of Pelargonium South Africa. There are about 280 species of annual and perennial herbaceous plants, dwarf shrubs and shrubs.
Pelargonium is one of the most common plants. Pelargonium, or geranium, can be found not only in the collection of an experienced amateur florist, but also on the windowsill of any grandmother, who, not really knowing what to plant and how to water properly, nevertheless, always enjoys the annual fragrant flowers.
Pelargoniums appeared in Europe at the end of the XNUMXth – beginning of the XNUMXth century. In the last century, a lot of breeding work was carried out to breed numerous hybrids and varieties. Variegated plants were obtained, dwarf forms, varieties with white and two-colored, as well as double flowers were bred.
And it is not surprising that pelargoniums are so loved all over the world. They are easy to care for, they are easy to propagate, they bloom for a long time with large and colorful inflorescences. These plants are usually called blooming geraniums by hobbyists. A small group of scented pelargoniums are even grown not because of the flowers, but because of the fragrant leaves.
The use of pelargonium
Pelargonium is used as an ornamental-flowering pot culture, as well as an ampelous plant, for balconies and open ground.
See the article: Wintering pelargonium without soil
Conditions required for pelargoniums
For the normal growth of pelargonium, warmth and good lighting are necessary. In late spring – early summer, the plant should be taken out into fresh air, shading it from direct sunlight.
If there is not enough light, then pelargonium, as a rule, reduces its flowering, its leaves and flowers lose brightness. If the plant is indoors behind glass, then direct sunlight is harmful, they can cause a burn, but on the street under the open sun, pelargonium easily tolerates them. In winter, the plant needs illumination with fluorescent lamps or phytolamps.
Optimum temperature: In summer – room temperature. In winter, a temperature of +8 .. + 10 ° C is desirable.
Pelargonium requires regular and abundant watering in spring and summer and moderate watering in winter, because with weak vegetation, the root system is easy to fill. Pelargoniums do not require spraying or washing the leaves. It belongs to the category of those plants that are better to dry than waterlogged. All pelargoniums have the ability to store water, so they are considered dry hardy.
When watering, it is necessary to ensure the drainage of excess water to prevent waterlogging. If pelargonium receives more water than it needs, then its leaves and flowers change their appearance. With excessive watering, even if the foliage is good, it may not bloom.
To grow pelargonium, the soil must be nutritious. A mixture of equal parts of garden soil, peat and sand is suitable for this. The same soil is suitable for sowing geranium seeds. When grown in gardens, geraniums prefer well-drained soils. In the fall, geraniums are dug up and transferred to a pot. When growing pelargonium in pots, good drainage is required to avoid stagnant water in the roots. Periodically, the soil in the pots must be loosened, this provides air access to the roots and prevents root rot.
Pelargonium pot size
Pelargonium can be grown in pots or crates. The size of the pots is selected according to the size of the root system. The pot should not be too large – in this case, it is not possible to control the growth of the plant and form the desired height. In small pots, pelargonium blooms better, the flowers will be more beautiful and bright, and in spacious pots the bush develops well, but blooms worse. For young bushes, a small pot is selected, since the roots of the geranium are small.
Flower pots are changed to large ones only when the old plant is already clearly cramped. If the pot is large, you can plant two or three cuttings in it. Pelargonium pots can be plastic or fired clay, but in plastic pots, the soil dries out more slowly, so it is more likely to undergo root rot, while clay pots are good for moisture and air. The optimal pot diameter for one plant is 12-14 cm and 22-25 cm for three or more plants in one pot. The height of the pot is 10-15 cm. The smaller the pot, the more compact the plant (this is especially true for geraniums grown from seeds).
Caring for pelargonium
Strengthening branching, the formation of a bush and crown of pelargoniums is achieved by pinching. Pinching is done on 8-10 leaves if the plant is grown from a cuttings, and on 6-8 leaves if pelargonium is grown from seeds. When pinching, the growth point is removed. In some cases, re-pinching is required. There are two ways to form a bush.
If, after pinching, new shoots began to grow not from the rhizome, but from the axils of the upper leaves, they must be removed. Only axillary shoots are left below the upper pair of leaves. Or in another way – let these upper axillary shoots grow and after two or three pairs of leaves, pinch again. Pelargonium is pinched in February-March. Although pinching will increase branching and thus increase the number of flowers, it will delay flowering.
In late February – early March, when pelargonium wakes up, during this period in the spring it is necessary to form a crown, for which old and large stems are cut off, leaving 2-5 buds on each shoot. The cut stems are used for grafting. Pruning and grafting in December-January is undesirable, since this is the most difficult period in the life of a plant.
Pruning in the fall leads to the appearance of young, frail growth, which weakens the plant and it can die during the winter. Usually, pelargoniums grow intensively in rooms in winter, forming discolored elongated shoots, which must be cut out in early spring. To get a good bush, it is useful to take the plant outdoors in summer. Pruning, as well as pinching, will delay flowering.
Pelargonium responds very positively to mineral and organic feeding. During the period of active growth, fertilizing with mineral mixtures or liquid fertilizers should be applied. During the flowering period, fertilizers are used that contain more phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen. Such fertilizers stimulate flowering. If it is necessary to obtain abundant greens, then fertilizers with a high nitrogen content are used. Top dressing is carried out once a week from late spring to early autumn. If pelargonium was transplanted into a new soil mixture, then feeding usually begins three months after transplanting, when the land is depleted.
Reproduction of pelargonium
Sowing of geraniums
Pelargonium grown from seed blooms much more abundantly than that which is propagated by cuttings. The plant can bloom up to 30 inflorescences at the same time. Such pelargoniums are more resistant to low air humidity and get sick less. Sowing of pelargonium is carried out in January-February in seedling pots or bowls. The soil for sowing is preliminarily spilled with boiling water and a dark solution of potassium permanganate. Seeds are spread on damp ground, lightly covered with seedling soil and sprinkled with a growth stimulant.
The dish is covered with glass or foil. Crops must be kept evenly moisturized. Watering should be done carefully so that the seeds do not go deep, otherwise they will not germinate. Seedling bowls with emerging seedlings must be ventilated daily by lifting the glass or foil and removing condensation. Seed germination time 7-14 days, temperature fluctuations beyond
20-24 degrees. When 2-4 true leaves appear on the seedlings, the seedlings dive. At the same time, in order to prevent the formation of stem rot, it is necessary to plant the plants at the same depth at which they grew earlier. Seedlings are grown at a temperature of 16-18 degrees in a bright room, moderately fertilized. After 6-8 weeks, the plants are transplanted into another pot. Flowering occurs in mid-summer.
But most often, pelargonium is propagated by cuttings. This is the fastest way to get a flowering plant. In addition, the seeds obtained from hybrid geraniums do not reproduce exactly all the qualities of the parental forms. Therefore, cuttings are much more often used, which guarantees the safety of the variety, in addition, the plants begin to bloom soon after rooting. When planted with seeds, the period to flowering is longer. The cuttings are rooted in February-March and July-August.
The choice of the propagation period by cuttings is due to the fact that rooting of cuttings worsens at an air temperature above 25 degrees (in cold summers, it can be propagated during the entire growing season). It is best to renew pelargonium by cutting off the apical shoot for rooting with 2-3 leaves and a length of 5-7 cm.After cutting, the cuttings are dried in the shade for a day, to prevent rotting of the cutting, the cut is dipped in crushed coal, and then planted in a light mixture, deepening them by 2-3 cm and kept at a temperature of 20-22 degrees. The land mixture must contain at least one third or one fourth of sand.
Previously, the land mixture is scalded with boiling water and poured with a dark solution of potassium permanganate. The first watering is plentiful, then it is rarely watered and not sprayed, since excessive moisture can cause rotting of the cuttings. Unlike most plants, cuttings of pelargonium planted for rooting do not need to be covered, this has a negative effect. Rooting of cuttings takes about a month. It is best to root the cuttings in 0,2 liter plastic cups.
Transplanting into a pot of 9-11 cm is carried out if there are roots around the entire perimeter of the cup. Plants grown from cuttings cut in March bloom in mid-summer, cut in August bloom in spring.
Young pelargoniums should be transplanted annually or every two years. This is done in the spring before growth begins. The pot should be small, otherwise leafy shoots will develop strongly and the plant will not bloom. If pelargonium is planted in balcony boxes (after spring frosts), then the distance between them is 20-25cm. If pelargoniums grew in the garden, they are dug up in the fall and transferred to a pot. If it is not possible to transplant plants, then you can replace the top layer of the earth annually without transplanting the plant itself. In the third year of life, it is better to replace plants with young ones grown from cuttings.
Cuttings rooted in August are left for the winter without transshipment. In March-April, they are transferred into 9-11 cm pots. If pelargonium grew in the garden, in the fall, before the onset of frost, it is brought into the house. The roots of the plant are shortened and placed in a pot with good drainage. The tops of the shoots of plants are cut off.
Pests and diseases of pelargonium
With a lack of light, with excess air humidity and excessive watering, rot of the root collar and roots is possible in pelargoniums, pests can appear – aphids and whiteflies. To avoid this, geraniums need to provide favorable conditions for keeping (light, coolness in winter with rare watering).
In pelargoniums, when transferring plants from open ground or from a balcony to a house, the leaves may turn yellow. After acclimatization under new conditions, yellowing of the leaves stops. Yellowing of the leaves is possible if the conditions of winter maintenance are not observed, as well as with a common fungal disease – rust.
With rust, the leaves of pelargonium become covered with yellowing spots, and then dry out. Currently, there are drugs that protect plants from fungal and bacterial infections. Pelargonium disease – lodging of seedlings is caused by fungi that affect the roots and bases of the stems of the seedlings, the plants fall. In order to prevent seedlings from lodging, the seeds must be sown in sterilized soil and not overmoistened.
Difficulties in growing pelargonium
Yellow lower leaves
Cause: If the leaves remain firm or only the edges dry out, the cause is a lack of moisture. If the leaves are lethargic or rotting, it is a matter of excess moisture. In both cases, the leaves may fall off.
Reddening of the edges of the leaves
Cause: The temperature is too low. Move the pot away from the window on frosty nights.
Darkening of the stem base
Causes: Black leg disease. The diseased plant is destroyed. In the future, use sterilized soil and avoid waterlogging. This is a disease of stem cuttings, the base of the cuttings turns black due to fungal infection. Such a stalk is immediately removed. The cause of black leg disease is waterlogging of the soil or its compaction, which prevents drainage. To prevent blackleg disease, sterilized soil must be used. To preserve the variety, you can try to cut the plant.
Bare stems; falling of the lower leaves
Cause: Lack of light – Pelargoniums are photophilous.
Watery soft pads on the leaves
Cause: Edema is a non-contagious disease associated with waterlogging of the soil. Reduce watering.
Gray mold on the leaves
Cause: Gray rot caused by the fungus Botrytis; occurs when the soil is waterlogged. Infectious disease – remove affected leaves, treat with a systemic fungicide, ventilate the room better and reduce watering
Lack of flowers on home pelargonium
Cause: If the plant looks healthy, the likely cause is too warm air in winter.
Pelargoniums are quite resistant to pests, but sometimes they are also affected by ticks, aphids, weevils and whiteflies. Ticks, weevils, gray rot are destroyed by fungicides, and aphids and whiteflies are afraid of permethrin-containing preparations.
Ticks can be destroyed by washing the leaves (especially carefully from the bottom side) with infusion of tobacco or chamomile with green soap. After 2-3 hours, rinse the leaves again with water. Whitefly is especially difficult to control. In this case, the processing of the plant should be carried out every three days. All spraying should be carried out outside the dwelling.
Pelargonium is a very unpretentious, but at the same time beautiful plant!