How to grow Zonal Geranium

Pelargonium zonale

Take dead flowers off the plant to prolong flowering. Pinch to encourage well-branched, full plants. Pelargoniums like to dry out between watering cycles. If possible, avoid watering over the tops of the plants and flowers. Do not over water your geraniums as this will result in root rot. Pelargoniumss need to be fertilized heavily and frequently.

Pelargonium zonale is an easy plant to grow, and does best in gardens where frost is not too severe. It requires semi-shade to full sun conditions. The plants should be pruned after flowering, and respond very well to feeding with liquid organic fertilizers. They look very effective when used as the back planting of a bed to form the main structure of the design. Pelargonium zonale also grows well in containers.

Growing Zonal geranium from seed

Pelargonium zonale is usually propagated by means of tip or stem cuttings, or seed. The optimum time for taking cuttings is in autumn (March-May) and spring (September-November). Cuttings should be cut below a node and dipped into a suitable rooting hormone. The cuttings should then be places in trays filled with coarse river sand. The medium should be pre-treated with a fungicide as preventative measure for fungal attack. These cuttings should then be placed into cold frames for rooting.
Seed can be sown in spring, summer or autumn.

By our calculations*, you should look at sowing Zonal geranium about 105 days before your last frost date .

Transplanting Zonal geranium

Plant geraniums outdoors after all danger of frost is past and the soil has warmed.
For maximum growth, your potting mix soil should provide adequate drainage. If planting into flowerbeds, make sure to loosen the soil, and to add 30-50% compost or peat moss for increased drainage.

Zonal geranium is half hardy, so ensure you wait until all danger of frost has passed in your area before considering planting outside - as a guideline, the minimum temperature outside should be approximately 21°C / 70°F.

How long does Zonal geranium take to grow?

These estimates for how long Zonal geranium takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

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Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Zonal geranium?
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Days to Maturity How long until Zonal geranium is ready for harvest / bloom?
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When should I plant Zonal geranium?

Our when to plant Zonal geranium estimates are relative to your last frost date.

When to sow The number of days to sow Zonal geranium before or after your last frost date.
105 days before Last Frost Date

Zonal geranium Etymology

The genus Pelargonium gets is name from the resemblance of the shape of the fruit to the beak of a stork, pelargos in Greek. The species name zonale refers to the horseshoe marking found on the leaves, zona meaning a band or belt in Latin.

The genus belongs to the family Geraniaceae, which also includes four other genera, Geranium, Erodium, Monsonia and Sarcocaulon. There are ± 220 species within the genus Pelargonium, and 80% of them are confined to southern Africa and about 80% of these are confined to the south-western corner of the country.

Zonal pelargoniums and hybrids are often commonly called geraniums or pot geraniums. This misnomer causes a lot of confusion. What is actually a Pelargonium is also known as a geranium, and what is actually a Geranium, is also commonly called geranium or crane’s bill. The two genera are easily told apart and are not mistaken for each other, but a gardener going to a nursery, asking for a geranium, but wanting a pelargonium is going to be surprised when shown a plant of Geranium multisectum when they are expecting to see Pelargonium zonale.

The Latin word “Americana” means “of the Americas”.1

Zonal geranium Folklore & Trivia

Pelargonium zonale is a parent of many of the zonal pelargonium hybrids grown all over the world and is an integral part of any pelargonium breeding program.

Other names for Zonal geranium

Horseshoe geranium, Horseshoe pelargonium, Wildemalva (afrikaans)

Pelargonium hortorum


1 Latin Dictionary

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