Photo by: DEA / C. DANI
DEA / C. DANI
Ivy geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum) may not be as prevalent as the common garden or zonal geraniums that you see across the U.S. But, they are equally as beautiful and are a perfect planting for window boxes or hanging planters thanks to their trailing, thick glossy green leaves that seem to spill over the edges of containers — much like ivy, hence the name. Because their appearance differs from common garden geraniums, which feature upright ball-shaped blooms, you may have mistaken them for a different plant altogether. However, their flowers — which grow in an orb-shape — are just as stunning as their leaves. Read on for what you need to know to grow ivy geraniums in your garden.
Where & When to Plant
Rather than the upright, ball-shaped blooms (like the ones produced by common garden geraniums), these plants have trailing flowers, making them ideal for window boxes, hanging baskets, and borders in beds. The heads of their blooms will be smaller, so plant in groupings for maximum impact.
They thrive in a moist soil and should receive filtered sunlight or some shade if planted in a zone where temperatures regularly get above 80°F. If you overwintered your geraniums indoors, you should wait until temperatures are above 65°F before moving them outside.
Care & Maintenance
Moderate moisture is key to having a plant that thrives. When the top part of the soil begins to feel dry, it’s time to add water. Be careful not overwater though, as this can cause disease and poor production of blooms. If you choose to fertilize, select a soluble fertilizer and apply every two to three weeks, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Ivy geraniums, unlike zonal geraniums, are self-cleaning and do not require frequent deadheading. The blooms should shed on their own, giving way to new buds. However, if you notice this is not occurring naturally cut the blooms back on your own to encourage new growth.
Whether shopping at your local garden center or searching online for specific hues, you’ll find close to 100 different cultivars. The most prevalent colors—as with zonal geraniums — are red, white and pink with a range of hues available in each. Here are just a few of the popular varieties you might find. ‘L’Elegante’ has white blooms that are tinged with light pink in the center. Similarly, ‘Global White Nicole,’ has pinkish white blooms. For red, try ‘Ruby Red,’ which offers a true scarlet bloom or ‘Contessa Red’ which is similar. If you’re looking for a standout pink, consider ‘Pink Blizzard.’ It is prized for its prolific bright fuchsia buds.