Zonal geranium is a common plant for the garden. There are also many showier varieties that make beautiful and rewarding houseplants. These special pelargoniums have graced sunny windows for many decades.
Leaf variegation often appears in halo patterns, with a red or bronze halo ringing the leaf’s center and white bands or splashes near the margin. Varieties with mostly green leaves are valued for their flowers, which often are produced year-round when plants are pruned periodically to force out new growth.
What does Zonal geranium mean?
Zonal geraniums get their name from the “zone” striping through the middle of their leaves. The colors are red, blue, or purple color. This physical attribute is a helpful way to distinguish a zonal geranium from other types of Geranium. Zonal geraniums can live up to 3 years. However, you can make it to live indefinitely by propagating it from rooted stem cuttings.
Where did geraniums come from?
Geranium originates from South Africa. At present, you can find more than 250 wild species of geranium still growing in Africa. The first geranium came to Europe at the beginning of the 17th century
Zonal geranium plants care guide
- Light: Zonal geranium is one of the best flowers for full sun. They like to receive at least six hours of sunlight each day. I usually put mine in their favorite spot – a place with a lot of bright light from a south or west window.
- Temperature: Zonal geranium temperature tolerance range is from cool to average room temperatures (60–75°F/16–24°C).
- Watering and fertilize: Allow soil to dry to within 1 in/2.5 cm of the surface between waterings, but do not allow the roots to become so dry that the plants wilt. I usually feed my geranium plants every 2 weeks with a balanced houseplant fertilizer in summer
- Soil: Any good potting soil that drains well. I always add a handful of sand to standard potting soil to improve drainage when potting geraniums. Try to repot the plant annually in spring to provide a clean pot and fresh potting soil. This will give the plant a fresh start. It will reward you with a lot of flowers in summer
- Propagation: When new growth emerges in spring, take 3–4 in/7.5–10 cm-long stem tip cuttings and root them. Some varieties are much easier to propagate than others.
- Deadheading geraniums: I always deadhead my geranium whenever I see the bloom look brown or weak. When deadheading your geraniums, you need to go snap the stem below its node or joint, where new growth begins. If you just simply pull off the top flowers, you missed the chance to promote new growth and bloom
How to coax bedding geranium into bloom?
Coaxing bedding geraniums, which also are zonal types, into bloom is very easy. In late summer, I gradually move outdoor-grown plants to shadier quarters to acclimate them to reduced light.
Even when acclimated, zonal geraniums often shed half their leaves when they are moved indoors, so it’s a normal thing. Don’t be alarmed. Clean up after them, and prune off up to half of the long, brittle branches. Blooming should resume after 3 to 5 weeks.
Geranium winter care. How to overwintering zonal geranium?
Zonal geraniums can grow health in containers with little care. I usually bring the plant inside in winter before the first frost. You want to cut the plants half the normal size, dig it up and transplant into the container. Remember to inspect the plants for any sign of disease. I recommend using a potting mix that drains well. Throughout the winter, place the plants in a cool location with bright, direct sunlight. Water the plant as normal.
Varieties and selections
Once-popular dwarf varieties with variegated leaves, such as Skies of Italy, are well worth seeking out. In addition, some zonal have scented leaves, including pink-flowered Roger’s Delight, Prince Rupert Variegated, and many others.
Advices when growing in containers
There are many ways to draw out the beauty of Geraniums. The easiest one is to grow geraniums in good quality terracotta pots that feature simple relief patterns.
Geraniums are among the cheeriest plants you can grow in an office that includes a spot of bright sunlight. They will reward you with beautiful flamboyant flowers years around
When growing geranium in hanging baskets uses the standard good potting mix that drains well. Remember to let the soil dry 1-2 cms between watering. Hanging baskets of zonal geraniums can give a little Italian touch to your balcony