Species pelargonium – indoor flowers in the “retro” style -Care

While modern hybrid varieties of royal and zonal pelargoniums are widely admired, many plants from the genus Pelargonium have almost disappeared. Species pelargoniums once also flaunted on the windowsills in almost every home. They cannot boast of such abundant or long flowering, but they often turn out to be less capricious and much more original. Fashion for “retro” today has returned them the attention of flower growers. But it is far from easy to find plants from “basic” pelargoniums. The unique variety of forms of bushes and greenery, unusual flowering – these are just a few of the reasons why it is worth taking a closer look at the species pelargoniums.

Species Pelargonium – indoor flowers in the “retro” style. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com ligaspelargoniums

A special category of decorative pelargonium

Like many ornamental plants that have become extremely popular, pelargoniums have almost lost their original face. “Wild” species, which have remained unchanged for millennia, have replaced modern varieties and hybrids. But the more valuable are the almost disappeared relatives of fashionistas.

Species pelargoniums from “simple” plants have turned into collectible rarities over the past half century. Their fans create whole clubs, and the opportunity to acquire a new look is valued no less than the search for other indoor rarities.

Species pelargonium, or primordial, wild, natural pelargonium (in the English version – Pelargonium species, Species pelargonium) Is a large group of plant species from the genus Pelargonium that have not undergone selection and have retained their natural beauty. There are more than two hundred species in the Pelargonium genus. And they are all decorative.

In nature, almost half of the species of pelargoniums are found in Africa, but there are also New Zealand, and island, and Australian, and eastern endemics. The history of the cultivation of pelargonium from the group of species dates back to the 17th century.

Pelargonium species combine herbaceous perennials, annuals, and dwarf shrubs. These are straight-growing and ampelous, spreading and more austere, densely leafy and almost “naked”, mainly fragrant crops.

Some pelargoniums have trunks storing water, others have tuberous thickened roots, others do not form stems, and some conquer hearts with stems. Not to mention the fact that pelargoniums are not only evergreen.

Pelargonium capitatum
Pelargonium capitatum. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Frozen Seed Capsules

Variety of species of geraniums

To navigate in the diversity of all species pelargoniums, they are combined into easily distinguishable sections according to quite obvious signs, even for inexperienced growers:

  • Section Pelargonium – “visiting” beautiful plants with spreading bushes, woody shoots from below, curly leaves and a very high content of essential oils.
  • Section Chorisma – a group of shrubby plants with often semi-succulent stems, long-petiolate simple leaves and few-flowered inflorescences of flowers with very large two upper petals.
  • Section Campylia – a group of compact tricolor pelargoniums, semi-ampelous or ampelous, with serrated silver leaves of graceful shape and unusual flowers, in which the upper bright petals are combined with white lower ones and a bright eye.
  • Section Otidia – a group of succulent, forming fleshy thick stems of species with densely dissected into narrow lobes of small foliage. White, moth-like flowers seem outlandish.
  • Section Hoarea – stemless tuberous plants with a very long dormant period.
  • Section Glaucophyllum – creeping species with grayish-blue carved leaves and pink flowers.
  • Section Ciconium – a group of evergreen species with whole, simple, palmate-lobed leaves and pink-red-purple flowers.
  • Section Myrridium – species with single, woody stems and pinnately dissected leaves. Inflorescences are few-flowered, with irregular flowers.
  • Section Cortusina – succulent species with round long-petiolate falling leaves, thickened roots and rare inflorescences.
  • Section subsucculent – beautiful shrubs with juicy, fragile, woody shoots with thorns and beautiful shields of 10 flowers.
  • Section Magnistipulacea – tuberous pelargoniums with fringed flowers.
  • Section Ligularia – species with fleshy stems and leaves.
  • Section Poliactium – beautiful views with pinnately-divided leaves and flowers smelling at night.
  • Section Reniformia – a section of dwarf shrubs with simple leaves and small flowers, appreciated for its aroma.
  • Section Peristera – a section of dwarf, creeping, randomly branching species with small, regular flowers.
  • Section Jenkinsonia – charming tuberous species and shrubs, shedding leaves before flowering, with feathery or finger-like leaves.

Pelargonium incrassatum
Pelargonium incrassatum. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Katya Kotskaya
Pelargonium citronellum
Pelargonium lemon (Pelargonium citronellum). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com KL Gaffney
Pelargonium orchid (Pelargonium ochroleucum)
Pelargonium orchid (Pelargonium ochroleucum). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com jeffs bulbesetpots

Species classics among pelargoniums

Beautiful classic symmetrical five-petalled flowers with dark veins and large colored stamens in small heads glorified one of the most magnificent species of pelargonium – pelargonium head (Pelargonium capitatum).

Very beautiful cushions of greenery more than half a meter in height seem strikingly curly and thick. Stems not very stable, outstretched or spreadingly straight. Leaves with a diameter of up to 8 cm flaunt with a heart-shaped base and incised almost to the middle into 3-5 folded, curly velvet lobes. Foliage shades range from emerald green to vibrant and almost marshy, depending on the conditions of their growth.

Also, with its beautiful bundle-shaped scutes of inflorescences, she became famous and pelargonium faded (Gross pelargonium) – one of the stemless species of pelargonium, in which the tubers rise above the soil. The delicate lilac color and teardrop shape of the upper petals in the flower seem very original.

Leaves are lanceolate-ovate, with soft silvery pubescence, deeply dissected, growing in bundles from several points of growth. They are carved, light silver with an olive shade of the base color. This pelargonium does not create lush bushes, conquering with its grace.

Pelargonium lemon (pelargonium citronella) Is a very aromatic plant with predominant overtones of lemon zest and a leaf shape reminiscent of maple. The dense bushes look great, the plant remains compact only when it is formed. Deeply dissected, lobed leaves only emphasize the beauty of the apical bright pink inflorescences with dark strokes on the two upper petals.

Openwork silvery miracle – pelargonium false sticky (Рelargonium pseudoglutinosum) conquers not only with its curly, heavily incised leaves, but also with the round heads of bright red flowers with almost black strokes.

Flowers in few-flowered shields remind of beautiful orchids pelargonium orchid (Pelargonium ochroleucum): her three lower petals are painted in delicate creamy white, but the two upper ones are light green. This tuberous pelargonium blooms after the leaves wilt. The greens are very bright, lingual, non-standard. This is a miniature and non-standard pelargonium, however, very prone to rot.

Pelargonium ceratophyllum
Pelargonium ceratophyllum. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Elena Joganson
Pelargonium cortusifolium
Pelargonium cortusifolium. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com 橋 橋 HQ
Pelargonium cotyledonis
Pelargonium cotyledonis. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Elena Joganson

The best succulent species of pelargonium

One of the most beautiful succulent species of pelargonium – pelargonium hornbeam (Pelargonium ceratophyllum). Bizarre, with traces of fallen petioles, shiny, woody at the bottom, capable of storing water stems, up to 2 cm in diameter, create, together with irregular lateral branches, outlandish, almost alien silhouettes. Antler-like leaves are fancifully dissected at the tops of the shoots. The flowers look like cream spiders, they are solitary.

Succulent pelargoniums include corusoliferous (Pelargonium cortusifolium) Is a beautiful compact plant with fleshy straight stems resembling tridents, woody very quickly. The leaves are gray, almost silver, grow in whorls, surprise with strongly curly lobes and long straight petioles. The inflorescence shields with protruding white-lilac, watercolor flowers are very effective.

Pelargonium cotyledon (Pelargonium cotyledonis) Is a very rare non-aromatic plant native to Saint Helena, which naturally resembles a bonsai due to its thickened, short, scaly stems. The leaves of this species partially fall off, they surprise with their heart-shaped shape and smooth surface. The white flowers are strikingly symmetrical.

Peerless patterns on the two upper petals of flowers – pride pelargonium prickly (Pelargonium echinatum). Openwork inflorescences, like a flock of soaring butterflies, rise above the compact bushes of unusual whitish-pubescent foliage. It is a semi-succulent plant whose stems are covered with original thorns. Leaves are long-stemmed, silvery, with a carved edge.

Pelargonium humpback (pelargonium convex) Is a unique succulent, capable of growing 50 cm or more in a year, easily forming. Thickened stem nodes, gray thin leaves with a suede surface, dissected into short lobes, distinguish this plant from other species. Yellow-green flowers with a very strong sweet nocturnal aroma bloom in large buds.

Pelargonium trifidum
Pelargonium trifidum. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com wexthuset
Pelargonium odoratissimum
Pelargonium odoratissimum. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Robert Sarkisian
Pelargonium pink (Pelargonium radens)
Pelargonium pink (Pelargonium radens). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Dave’s Garden

The best ampelous views

Unique in its elegance Gooseberry pelargoniumwhich they often like to nickname “Coconut pelargonium” (Pelargonium grossularioides). Rounded, notched, as if slightly crumpled leaves, the diameter of which is increasing from tiny young discs to almost ten centimeters, sit on long cuttings on threadlike, thin, gracefully hanging down to a length of up to a meter shoots. The plant branches from the base, it is creeping in nature.

Dissected, curly, silvery pubescent, strikingly ornate and miniature leaves of a unique pelargonium three-notched (pelargonium forked) Is its main decoration. This species is so easy to form that it can be used for indoor topiary and even bonsai. Its spicy, pine-wormwood aroma cannot but conquer.

But by nature, this pelargonium is sprawling, ampelous, climbing, capable of growing up to 1 m, with thin and very fragile shoots and beautiful three-lobed leaves with a deep section and jagged edges. The edge is light, but gives the plant a very beautiful look.

Very unusual and quite simple in appearance the most fragrant pelargoniumsometimes called fragrant (Pelargonium odoratissimum). The almost inconspicuous bloom of lovely five-petalled star-shaped flowers with narrow petals, gathered in sparse shields, seems especially precious due to the location of the inflorescences in the thickness of the leaves. They seem to be hiding, offering to find a fragrant surprise, while the fancifully convex, round, velvety leaves attract the main attention. The bushes are creeping, the thick stem turns into sprawling long main shoots.

The best custom pelargoniums for growing in the home

One of the most original leaves among all pelargoniums in an amazing pelargonium pink (pelargonium grazing). Deeply dissected leaves are more like corals due to their deep dissection.

Individual leaves are almost indistinguishable, since they merge into a single lace pillow, hiding both the triangular shape, and their rigidity, and the glandular hairs. Emerald, slightly bluish velvet color only emphasizes their beauty. This plant is prized mainly for its high content of essential oils.

Charming stemless pelargonium turnip (pelargonium dulce) surprises with its unusual, reminiscent of funny faces and flowers of peas, unique flowers with large three lower petals and upper “ears” closing around the stamens.

Delicate apricot-yellow color only emphasizes the beauty of the rounded scutes of inflorescences. It forms a tuber that really resembles a turnip or a radish. The leaves are double-pinnate, they are more reminiscent of ferns.

The only pelargonium that boasts two types of leaves – a unique fast growing Bowker’s pelargonium (Pelargonium bowkeri). Some of the leaves resemble parsley or celery with a bright rich color. Others are light gray-silvery, with a deep division into almost needle-shaped lobes. “Fir-trees” on very long stalks seem to be a small miracle against the background of lush spreading bushes.

It is worth paying attention to the species with unusual leaves:

  • rosemary-like bushes with small lanceolate leaves pelargonium smooth (Pelargonium laevigatum) with creamy pink flowers and purple spots;
  • striking miniature heart leaves on long twisting cuttings in openwork bushes pelargonium dichondrolist (pelargonium dichondraefolium);
  • developing almost in the form of a pillow of lanceolate narrow bluish leaves pelargonium lanceolate (Pelargonium lanceolatum);
  • more reminiscent of miniature dark green panicles-spikelets of cereals leaves pelargonium tricolor (Рelargonium tricolor) with its unique “violet” flowers in three colors.

Pelargonium turnip (Pelargonium rapaceum)
Pelargonium rapaceum. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Agaveville
Pelargonium bowkeri
Pelargonium bowkeri. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Elena Joganson
Pelargonium laevigatum
Pelargonium smooth (Pelargonium laevigatum). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Chris Mallek

Growing conditions for species pelargonium

Pelargonium species are very different from each other. Succulent, stemless, creeping, semi-shrub – all of them, it would seem, should require different conditions and care. But despite individual preferences, they are still strikingly similar.

Lighting and placement

Without exception, all species of pelargonium are photophilous. They bloom better in bright light, but can tolerate diffuse light and very light partial shade, especially miniature species. For winter, it is better to increase lighting by rearranging or supplementary lighting, compensating for its natural lack. Pelargonium shedding leaves are an exception.

Temperature control and ventilation

Pelargonium species will prefer moderate temperatures. They feel better at air temperatures of 20-23 degrees than in the heat. The cold is a great stress for them. But the differences between day and night temperatures, species pelargoniums love no less than orchids (from 4-5 to 10-12 degrees).

All pelargoniums bloom after a cool dormant period. For tuberous species with their winter flowering, the optimal regime is 15-17 degrees Celsius. The rest of the pelargoniums prefer wintering at a dormant period with indicators up to 15 degrees.

Pelargonium species love fresh air. Particular attention should be paid to the free movement of air around the bushes: such pelargoniums do not like close placement. When taken out into the garden or on the balcony, the plants must be protected from precipitation and strong winds.

Pelargonium dichondraefolium
Pelargonium dichondraefolium. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Allwoods

Caring for specific pelargoniums at home

Taking care of pelargoniums, classified as species, is quite simple. They can forgive care mistakes, but not over-watering. These are plants with minimal requirements, for which a standard approach is fine.

Watering and air humidity

Shrub pelargoniums, and even more tuberous or succulent species, prefer light soil moisture. They tolerate drought much better than waterlogging. The substrate in containers should be allowed to dry in the upper layer or in the upper third between waterings. Water after these procedures is drained immediately.

Watering should be regulated depending on the rate of soil drying and air temperature. For pelargoniums, which go through a stage of complete dormancy and shed their leaves, watering is stopped, for the rest, they are reduced (to light moisture).

None of the species pelargonium needs high air humidity. It is better to clean the leaves from dust gently with a brush. Spraying, showering and classic wet wiping are not allowed.

Top dressing and composition of fertilizers

For species pelargonium, feeding is carried out only during the period of active growth and flowering. They are content with halved doses of complete mineral fertilizers, which are applied with a frequency of 1 every 2-3 weeks.

Pruning and formation of species pelargonium

These procedures should only be carried out on bush type plants. They are sheared to maintain the compactness and desired shape of the bush. With a strong loss of decorativeness, you can cut the branches hard enough, to hemp, or grow a replacement for them from cuttings.

Transplant, containers and substrate

Plants are transplanted only as needed, at the end of February or March, maintaining the same level of deepening. Soil quality is a key factor in the cultivation of the pelargonium species.

All species, without exception, prefer a light substrate. Even in special purchased soils, it is better to add loosening additives, up to half the mass (vermiculite, perlite, coarse sand).

Diseases, pests and problems in the cultivation of species pelargonium

One of the main advantages of rare and specific pelargoniums is their stability. They very rarely suffer from both pests and diseases. Except, of course, rot during waterlogging of the soil, especially common in tuberous or succulent species.

In heavy and damp soil, at low temperatures, insufficient lighting, plants can die from rotting of the base of the shoots.

Pelargonium lanceolatum
Pelargonium lanceolatum. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Elena Joganson

Reproduction of species pelargonium

These rare collectible plants are so rare on the market that it is often almost impossible to get new specimens. Today, specific pelargoniums are most often started by growing them from seeds. But if you want to propagate existing unique species, then it is better to choose vegetative methods for this. The thing is that pelargoniums are very easily cross-pollinated. And, if they are grown in collections with other species, it will be almost impossible to get “pure” offspring.

The best breeding method for species pelargonium is cuttings. In tuberous or stemless species, daughter nodules can be simply separated from the mother bush. But even for these species, cuttings are preferable.

There is nothing difficult in rooting of specific pelargoniums – it is carried out in the same way as for any varietal plants. You can root cuttings of specific geraniums in sand, water, substrate, under a hood or without it.

Growing pelargonium species from seeds requires patience and accuracy. Seedlings can be expected from 1 to 6 months, while sowing should be carried out superficially, in a disinfected light substrate. Bright lighting, stable temperatures around 20 degrees are very important. With any waterlogging, seedlings suffer from rot. It is better to spray them with fungicides for prevention.


Species pelargonium - indoor flowers in the "retro" style -Care
You can bookmark this page

Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

View all posts by Anna Evans →
Copy link