Friday, February 18, 2011

Red and Spring...Must Be a Geranium!!!!


If there is one plant that heralds the advent of Spring for me it is the timeless classic Geranium. My favorite color is red of course, but there are cultivars of pink, white, and there are also trailing geraniums. These are classic beauties to be used in bed plantings and pots for the patio or for a stunning high visual impact for front entrance pots. They love the cool nights and moderate days. But will need rich well drained soil, plant after last frost date and they will last till mid May or till the days reach desert temperatures....which could be February in Texas.....(just kidding....but not much). They are eye candy for the Spring.... do not expect them to be a summer color plant.  I have included a partial article by Jimmy Turner from the Dallas Arboretum on Geraniums and his take on the values of the plant........Enjoy!!!

Jimmy Turner
Director of Research & Garden Designer
Dallas Arboretum

Nothing satisfies that early-spring itch like a geranium!
I’m going to share with you a little horticultural secret that all great gardeners know. “It’s OK if some plants don’t live forever, or even all summer.” I know this may be hard to accept. I’ve even known some new gardeners to cry over the death of a petunia or marigold, but this is the true purpose of annual bedding plants – to make a huge flower show, and then fade away. It’s important to recognize that this or that plant may not be there all summer, but only in your garden as temporary filler-what I term a “long-lasting outdoor floral arrangement.”

We test several varieties of plants in the Dallas Arboretum Trial Program that won’t flower all summer for us, but that’s OK. They are beautiful enough to compensate for the limited time they grace our gardens. One of the most popular of these plants is the familiar geranium or pelargonium.

Although geraniums may not flourish as well for us as for northern gardeners, Texans can’t resist them. The big, round orbs of bright red and other colors are traditional spring showoffs in our containers and gardens. Their true niche is late winter and the early part of spring, when we start having warm days, but a late frost is still possible. That’s when the “garden itch” hits Texas gardeners, and we head to retail nurseries in droves.

The one plant that is always waiting for us is geraniums, their bright flower clusters beckoning us to take them home. As many of you know from experience, they flower wonderfully through those cool days and cold nights, but when July hits, the flowers stop, and if the plants get too dry or hot, they die. But, as noted earlier, that’s OK. Be calm, take a deep breath, and go get some lantana for the rest of the season.

Excerpts from this article are courtesy of Jimmy Turner and the Dallas Arboretum. Visit for information on the Dallas Arboretum Trial Gardens

All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author. Permission to use an article is given if the author is attributed and a link back to this article at is included.

Thank You Very Much and Enjoy the Life


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