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Good-looking geraniums

With over 300 species of annual, biennial and perennial geraniums, there's bound to be one that suits your garden.

 

Growing geraniumsGeraniums bring the brightest of colours to the garden and they are among the most generous of plants. They flower for month after month and then, when they begin to look tired, a cut back and feed starts them off all over again.

Most of what we commonly call geraniums are actually pelargoniums, but few gardeners are worried about this minor technicality — they're too busy enjoying the plants!

Where to grow geraniums

Growing geraniumsAn open, airy situation with plenty of sun is ideal for geraniums. This helps the plants in two ways. First, the sun promotes and encourages plenty of flowering. As well, a light, open position helps the plants to stay free from disease.

Geraniums are often at their best in containers. Growing geraniums in pots guarantees drainage and also gets the plants up and away from the ground where they're less likely to be attacked by fungal diseases. Well-drained pots (like Yates Tuscans, with their copious drainage holes) are a must.

Propagation

Growing geraniumsGarden geraniums are renowned for their ease of propagation. Simply snap off a piece about 10 cm long and put it into a pot filled with Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix. Wait a few weeks and you'll have a new plant.

Fertilising

Geraniums do best if they're not given too much nitrogen-rich fertiliser (which tends to cause soft, leafy growth rather than flowering). Instead, from spring through till autumn, feed the plants regularly with Thrive Flower & Fruit, which has a balance of nutrients that encourages flower production and disease resistance.

Pests and diseases

Growing geraniumsThe most common disease found on geraniums is rust, so-named because of the rust-like bumps that appear on the leaves. Rust control used to be put into the 'almost-too-hard' basket, but, since the introduction of Baycor, effective control is now possible. Baycor works from within the leaf and can cure existing disease as well as helping to prevent new disease from taking hold.

Botrytis, or grey mould, can also spoil the flowers if the weather is wet for any length of time. Affected flowers grow fluffy, grey beards before turning brown and shrivelling up. Pluck off the affected flowers and try to keep the above-ground parts of the plant as dry as possible. Spray with Bravo or Greenguard.

Growing geraniumsWhitefly is an insect pest that is found in vast colonies on certain types of geraniums. Spray with Yates Nature's Way Pyrethrum, talking care to apply it under the leaves as well as on top. Pyrethrum will also help to get rid of any caterpillars that might be thinking about attacking your geranium plant.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH
 
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Last updated: September 25, 2004