“Grandmother plant”, “balcony boxer” and “farmhouse” are certainly among the most common images people associate with the word “geranium”. At least true plant lovers will also remember the durability and easy care aspects of these lovely southern belles. On the contrary, such words as “modern”, “peppy”, “diversified” or “yummy” would hardly be the spontaneous reaction to the popular summer plant. And unjustly, as the geranium, whose correct name is actually pelargonium, is a real allround talent and is more multi-faceted than most people know. Geraniums adorn balcony boxes, planters and flowerbeds, add decorative highlights on walls, as houseplants or cut flowers, and particularly the newer cultivars with their trendy colours and original shapes are a perfect match for young, modern or elegant living worlds. Additionally, the essential oils in some varieties can ward off pesky insects. The dried flowers of some scented geraniums are used in potpourri and perfumes, while the flowers and foliage of other varieties add flavour to food.
The geranium, a diversified deco darling
Its showy flowers and durability make the geranium one of the most popular summer plants on the market. This easy-care blooming beauty effortlessly transforms balconies, terraces, gardens and parks into luminous oceans of colour. Trailing ivy geraniums are especially well-suited for balcony boxes, hanging baskets and other suspended containers. With tendrils of up to 1.50 metres and a superlative diversity of colours and shapes, the so-called peltatum geranium instantly creates an impressive cascade. Geraniums with upright growth patterns, the so-called zonals, are equally profuse bloomers and as versatile as ivy geraniums in eye-catching topiaries, pots and planters in the garden or on the terrace, or as table decorations. Meanwhile there are even varieties available that serve as ground cover and transform flowerbeds into bright floral carpets. Geraniums come in so many different colours and shapes that they can be mixed in wonderful combinations without ever appearing monotonous. Zonal geraniums harmonize with both ivy geraniums and their impressively variegated cousins, the fancy leaf geraniums. The advantage of mono geranium plantings lies in the very similar care requirements of the various types. But geraniums also cut a fine figure with other sun- and warmth-loving plants. In the Mediterranean style they are combined with grasses or herbs such as sage, rosemary or lavender in beautiful eye-catching arrangements.
In addition to the classic geraniums in red, white and pink, over the past few years more new varieties with appealing snappy colours and particularly attractively-shaped flowers have appeared on the scene. Whether bicolour, orange, yellow or lavender, the new geranium cultivars have little in common with the well-known farmhouse flowers and are in great demand among even younger consumers and as floral decorations in modern or elegantly designed outdoor areas.
Geranium indulgence for all the senses
However, geraniums have more than just optical qualities. The so-called scented-leaf geraniums contain essential oils and therefore emanate an intensive scent. They can have numerous different perfumes, from lilac and rose to peach, lemon and orange to mint, cola, coconut and chocolate. Placed on a windowsill, scented geraniums can ward off mosquitoes and other insects. When dried along with their leaves they can be used to make a sweet-scented mix for potpourris or sachets. And in the kitchen scented geraniums also find their niche: their leaves and flowers are edible and lend not only decorative touches but also a fine aroma to meat dishes, salads and desserts. Scented geraniums will grow not only indoors but are just as easy-care as other varieties on a balcony or terrace.