Red Geraniums

Learn all about the red geranium on this Focus on Flowers.

A red geranium.

Photo: BitHead (Flickr)

The original red geraniums have been extensively hybridized and now there are many scented varieties with single and double flowers in many luscious colors.

The annual geranium is one of our favorites for planting in pots to brighten decks, terraces, and porches. It is actually a member of the Pelargonium genus and was introduced to England from South Africa during the 1600′s.

Later, it was  introduced to the American colonies by John Bartram in 1760. Our pioneers carried them west. These annuals should not be confused with the perennial “cranesbill” geraniums that winter over in cold climates. The ubiquitous red annual geranium is associated with hospitality and creates a welcoming entrance to a home. D. H. Lawrence wrote about their intense color:

Imagine that any mind ever thought about a red geranium!

As if the redness of a red geranium could be anything

but a sensual experience

and as if sensual experience could take place

before there were any senses.

We know that even God could not imagine

The redness of a red geranium.

The original red geraniums have been extensively hybridized and now there are many scented varieties with single and double flowers in many luscious colors. Plant them in full sun with moderate watering (water daily if they are in pots which dry out so quickly) and frequent fertilizing to maintain exuberant bloom until the frost.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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