I’ve planted out lots of variegated Geraniums on the balcony for this summer this year. I have two forms that are named & one I don’t. One is a very dark leaved one, like chocolate, called ‘Black Prince’. I was sent a cutting from a man in Scotland who used to be a member of another gardening forum I write on. I sent him an Amaryllis bulb in return. It has lovely light pink flowers held up on very long stems. I’d taken & rooted lots of cuttings &, together with a couple of last years’ plants, I put them in one of the troughs on the balcony floor. I also put some plants from last year in a smaller trough on the balcony railings.
I also have many plants of ‘Vancouver Centennial’. I bought the original plant in a supermarket on a whim because I liked it so much. I don’t normally buy things on whim but this time I did as I thought if I wait for a day or two they will all have gone! This has variegated green & red leaves but the leaves are very “star” shaped. The flowers are a very bright red & the petals look like red diamonds! I’d taken & rooted lots of cuttings &, together with a couple of last years’ plants, I put them in one of the troughs on the balcony floor. I also put some plants from last year in a smaller trough on the balcony railings.
This last Geranium, whose name I don’t know, is green & white (or cream). This was bought at the same time as ‘Vancouver Centennial, in the same supermarket. This plant has light pink flowers that look quite delicate but it is very floriferous & practically flowers non-stop! I’d taken & rooted lots of cuttings &, together with a couple of last years’ plants, I put them in one of the troughs on the balcony floor. I also put some plants from last year in a smaller trough on the balcony railings.
These Geraniums have done me proud this year! They have been flowering non-stop for the last couple of months. We have been in a period of very hot, sunny weather almost daily since the last week or two of June. This is quite unusual for the UK & is forecast to continue in a similar vein till the end of July!
The Geraniums have loved this weather & produced much more bloom than in the years previously. The 3 troughs are filled to overflowing with the sheer exuberance of flowers! I’m so pleased now that I put 4 plants in each of the 3 troughs as they are so much more effective as a massed display than if they were in individual pots, as was the case in previous years.
I’m adding a photo that will show just how much they have flowered or are flowering! The photo also shows the Petunias, which are also flowering exceptionally well this year. The troughs of Geraniums are on the middle bar & on the floor of the balcony. The Petunias are in aluminum rings at the top of the railings
The ‘Black Prince’ variegated Geraniums that have been growing in a trough on the balcony railing all summer suffered badly a week ago when we had some very strong winds & some rain. These 4 plants had flowered magnificently all summer but they had grown too tall & lanky in spite of being in full sunshine from 11am till the sun went down all summer.
Although they were growing in a trough on the middle bar of the railings that surround the balcony on 3 sides it is difficult to see just what is happening to the plants. I wrapped chicken wire around the railings many years ago when we had 5 little dogs. This was to keep them from getting out onto the street which is quite busy. It also serves to hold up my troughs & pots. I can tie the troughs & pots to the wire & thus they don’t fall off with the slightest puff of air. But the plants grow through the spaces in the chicken wire which, generally, doesn’t bother me, growing as they like makes the display look more natural which is what I like. However in this instance it wasn’t as favorable to the plants as the stems grew taller & outwards. this wasn’t a problem till the strong winds from storms, (just days before the autumn equinox), ‘Ali’ & ‘Bronagh’ especially the latter, started ripping the leaves off the plants & even bending the stems so far back that they all but broke.
The strong winds & the rain also brought down the strings, I had tied up from the top of the railings to the ceiling, which broke under the winds & rain & all my ‘Morning Glory’ plants came tumbling down. As I couldn’t repair the strings I cut them all off at the top of the railings with the climbers wrapped around them & thew them away – much to my sadness. I had hoped they would go on flowering till the end of October like in previous years but it wasn’t to be. Now I have lost the vertical component of the balcony & it all looks so flat & very open, which makes me feel vulnerable when I’m out there!
I cut back all the stems of the ‘Black Prince’ at the same time & used much of them to take cuttings! So I will have lots of plants of this Geranium next year! It roots very easily so not all is lost even if there will probably be no more flowers this year. As they say “Every cloud has a silver lining”.
The other 2 troughs of Geraniums, ‘Vancouver Centennial’ & the unnamed green & white variegated one, escaped the same fate as they never grew so tall & therefore didn’t get so many leaves torn off or their stems broken like ‘Black Prince’. They did however loose the majority of their flowers & some of their leaves were burnt by the strong winds.
The photos shows what the trough of ‘Black Prince’ looked like after I had cut them back.
In the last few weeks I’ve taken all the plants off the balcony & thrown them all away while taking cutting from them. They did very well indeed this year but they were plants several years old & I wanted to start with fresh stock for the balcony next year.
Many of the cutting will now spend the winter on the windowsills of our kitchen & bedroom.
Since I wrote the above the majority of the Geranium cutting that I took a couple of months ago are growing very well in the kitchen & bedroom windows. I have had very few casualties as the great majority rooted without any problems at all.
A lot of the cutting have produced flower buds but when I’ve noticed them I have pinched them out as I don’t want them to flower but to put their energies into growing strong root systems ready to plant out in the early summer on the balcony.
There are still a few cutting I got from some of my son’s plants that seem to have rooted in the mini-greenhouse on the table on the balcony. They really ought to come into the flat for the winter as the harder frosts will soon be with us & they may not survive in a plastic greenhouse even if I have put the whole greenhouse inside a plastic bag that is thicker than the original greenhouse covering. If the worst comes to the worst I still have a 2nd plastic bag that I can put over the top of the one already covering it. It will be very difficult to find them a place inside the flat.