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Its name derives from the Greek, from the word pelargos which means stork, a clear allusion to its shape, to that of its beautiful flower that looks like a bird with a beak. The Pelargonium it is a very common flower and the reason its name does not sound familiar to us is very simple: we call it geranium. We will go to see if it is correct or not but above all to learn how to cultivate it to make it joyfully adorn our balconies. Thanks to its smell, and above all with geraniol and lemongrass contained in its leaves, it is excellent insect repellent, and I am thinking above all of mosquitoes. There are many varieties that are grown in a very similar way but that are capable of producing flowers that are very different in color or in bearing that can also be drooping.
Pelargonium: scientific name of geranium in its various varieties
Let's take a closer look at this plant starting from the leaves which are green but with raised veins. And then there are the flowers which are usually formed from 5 umbrella petals and often with very intriguing variegated shades with which we can decorate our balconies and our gardens. Pelargonium is often joined by the Surfinia, a plant with an equally beautiful flowering.
The Pelargonium as Geranium belongs to the Geraniaceae family, the two flowers are often confused because they are actually very similar at first glance. Let's look at the differences. Our Pelargonium is able to resist in extreme weather conditions, even where it often freezes and has flowers that have the two upper petals with different shapes and sizes than the others. It goes without saying that we are faced with a asymmetrical flower, therefore different from that of Geranium, perfectly regular and symmetrical. And in addition this plant develops more in width than in height compared to the previous one.
Pelargonium: how to grow it
The Pelargonium it can be grown both in the ground directly and in the pot. Let's see how you can make it grow well in the pot to be able to successfully expose it from our balconies.
We choose a pot that can comfortably accommodate our flower, and this depends a lot on the variety chosen so it is better to get advice from a specialist or read the instructions present with the plant or seeds. The important thing is that there are holes on the bottom to put a layer of expanded clay to prevent water stagnation from forming.
To arrange it on the terrace we must look for the right position and that for the Pelargonium it is the half shade because it is a plant that needs a lot of light and loves the heat very much but the direct sun all day can damage the flowers. It is better that I have lots of light in the morning and stay protected in the hottest hours of the day. We avoid frosts in winter and protect our pots by placing them in corners also sheltered from currents and we also drastically reduce watering.
As for the soil, we can safely use the universal one of good quality without necessarily creating a fibrous and porous substrate, or we can spoil our Pelargonium with a compound mix 15% fibrous blond peat, with a small part of perlite and light soil.
Flowering of the Pelargonium
The spectacular flowering of these flowers lasts all summer even if it starts already in spring. As soon as the frost period ends, in fact, we always equip ourselves for enrich the balcony of these flowers that will give us satisfaction until autumn.
The flowers are assembled in inflorescences with umbrella shape supported by long stems, they always have 5 petals with very different colors from variety to variety. To obtain abundant flowering, it is advisable to fertilize often during the spring and keep the flower in half shade and not too exposed to the sun's rays which can ruin its nuances. At the end of flowering they appear on the stems saddles elongated berries.
How much to water the Pelargonium
Both in pots and in the ground, watering must be abundant immediately after planting and we take the precaution not to use never too cold water, in fact better if it has a temperature above 15 ° C.
If we have our flower planted in the garden, its roots go deep and are able to draw water from the deeper and more humid layers of the soil. We can therefore water less often by holding humidity controlled of the soil. If, on the other hand, we have our flower in pots, we must be more careful to always keep the soil well moist without creating stagnations, which are dangerous because they can cause root rot. In summer we can water every day, in spring better every other day.
The geranium butterfly is certainly a painful plague for this flower but it is not its only enemy. In fact, in the black list we find
- Rust of Geranium: caused by a fungus that causes the formation on the underside of the leaves of dark spots and small pustules which then release a rust-colored powder.
- Bacteriosis of geranium: it causes the leaves to yellow and causes dark spots on the upper page where they begin to curl up.
- Botrytis cinerea: a gray mold that covers both the flowers and the leaves and then causes them to rot. Caused by excessive watering.
Even parasites "love" geraniums and Pelargonium very much, the most affectionate ones are Aphids, Thrips and Aleirodidae, all to be defeated with specific pesticides
Pelargonium: where to buy it
You still have time to make your balcony bloom with this flower that will color it until autumn. Also on Amazon you can easily buy one bag of 100 seeds for about 10 euros and take advantage of your green thumb even if in this case you will not encounter particular difficulties.
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