Monday, May 14, 2012

Pelargoniums Gone Bad

It is no secret that I am very fond of the family Geraniaceae. But sadly something has gone terribly wrong with the Pelargoniums, in particular those in the family that are raised commercially for the mass market, I can't understand who is still growing these plants with ugly double flowers and course foliage. Even more bewildering is understanding why anyone is buying them.
At a recent plant sale I was reminded how lovely these plants can be if chosen with some discernment. At a table set up by the local Geranium Society there were some stunning varieties that were for me, quite irresistible.

However these clunky old plants (pictured above) are turned out by the millions, their flowers are like wet tissue paper and look worse as they die clinging to the stem and turning brown ( this is especially unsightly on the white flowering forms). The foliage, too, seems to be bred for mediocrity, having lost the striking dark zone that is so attractive on superior plants.

This is more like it! These are the plants bought at the sale, many are old varieties, such as 'Crystal Palace Gem' with its lime green leaves and darker centres. I also chose plants with single flowers which are more delicate.


Paul Jung said...

I can't tell you the number of white plastic urns with red annual geraniums and a dracaena spike I've seen in my travels across this city, lol. Is it a Toronto thing?

Barry Parker said...

Hi Paul,

I think, unfortunately, that this is pretty universal. Sadly, pelargoniums and dracaenas are great plants ( and white plastic potentially a great material), but the combination is overwhelmingly over used and awful.

Valerie Knapp said...

Hi Barry! I have a good healthy stock of that dainty pink pelargonium that I posted in the winter. Let's arrange that swap!

Barry Parker said...

Hi Valerie,
Let's do that! I have number of cuttings of plants I think you might like. Maybe we can get together after the long weekend?

Valerie Knapp said...

perfect, I'll ring then.

LauraH said...

Barry, did you manage to overwinter these?

Barry Parker said...


I managed to save a few cuttings.