PELARGONIUMS: SCENTED GERANIUMS
This time of year I am all about my scented geraniums. They are out in a heated greenhouse, 50 different varieties. They do well between 60 and 80 degrees in a bright window indoors in the winter. (Don’t we all?) They take very little care, a light feeding occasionally, weekly weakly as Paul James, The Gardener Guy, used to say. Occasionally offer a bloom food. They will respond with lush growth to feeding and trimming back the sprawling branches. I have many favorites and like people they all have different personalities. Scented geraniums came from South Africa in the Victorian days when explorers were searching for medicinal plants. Scented geraniums have little to no medicinal qualities. They became valued for their different fragrances and textures. They were traded back and forth and eventually brought to America which is when I got in on collecting them. They are not true geraniums. They are pelargoniums. Their blooms are not the pom pom blooms of your common geraniums. They have small blooms resembling small butterflies. There are spicy, nutty, floral, fruity, minty, musky, woodsy fragrances. They have vastly different growth habits and lend themselves nicely to topiary or windowsill plants. The rose geraniums are used in culinary projects such as jams and jellies, pound cakes, pesto. The flowers of scented geraniums are edible.
I like to use some of the finely cut leaves in my papermaking. They tend to bleed a yellow color into my handcrafted paper. They press well for your creative projects.
My favorite of all is the Apple scented geranium. I have grown it from seed and ordered it from Richters in Canada. It is a scented geranium with a well kempt growth habit but it lends itself nicely to a hanging basket. It has a very strong sweet fruity fragrance that you can fall in love with. It doesn’t lend itself to cuttings but it can be divided if it crowds a pot.
Similar to apple’s fuzzy leaf is Peppermint. Nutmeg, Old Spice and Fragrans have smaller, aromatic fuzzy leaves.