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Pelargonium, Varieties, Forms And Cultivation
Pelargonium, Varieties, Forms And Cultivation

Video: Pelargonium, Varieties, Forms And Cultivation

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Features of growing Pelargonium indoors and in the garden

Pelargonium
Pelargonium

Pelargonium, better known here as indoor geranium, is familiar to everyone who grows indoor flowers. This is probably due to the fact that it has been cultivated for many centuries.

Geranium comes from South Africa, where in the spring (we have this time in August) its lush thickets are covered with an ocean of bright colors. Pelargonium came to the European continent at the end of the 16th century. First to England, and then spread to other countries. It was at first considered an aristocratic plant and was grown mainly in the greenhouses of the nobility, in rich mansions and country villas. Only from the middle of the 19th century it became available to the common people.

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Features of culture

Pelargonium
Pelargonium

It is usually called geranium, but this is not entirely correct, although it is part of the large family of geraniums (Geraniaceae), consisting of 11 genera and more than 800 species.

The generic name (Pelargonium) was given to this plant by the French botanist Lerigne de Brunnel (1746-1800) for its interesting biological feature. After pollination and falling of the petals, the column of the flower grows and lengthens, as a result of which the resulting fruit becomes similar to the beak of a stork (from the Greek "stork" - "pelargos"). The genus Pelargonium includes more than 250 species, most of which are native to the regions of South and South-West Africa. The collection of the Botanical Garden of St. Petersburg includes about 40 natural species.

Pelargoniums are actively used in landscaping: in winter - in our apartments and office premises in a pot or container culture, and in the warm season - in the design of personal plots, gardens and parks. They can often be found also on flower beds and lawns of St. Petersburg.

Pelargonium
Pelargonium

A very wide range of aromas is characteristic of the group of scented pelargonium plants, so many domestic growers are happy to grow pelargonium in rooms precisely for its pleasant smell, which appears at the slightest touch to the plant, to its delicate (often cut or openwork) leaves.

And it is no coincidence that any person, seeing a geranium plant, involuntarily pulls his hand to her to feel the fragrant aroma. If you rub the leaves between your fingers, the smell is greatly enhanced. This is due to the fact that the entire aerial part of pelargonium, especially the leaves, are covered with many hairs - glands, which contain essential oils with a specific pleasant aroma. These oils also evaporate on contact with the plant.

If you look at a pelargonium leaf through a very strong magnifying glass, you will notice that the hair consists of a single-celled vesicle - a head on a leg of four cells. It is in it that the essential oil is located: the bubble bursts - the oil evaporates. The essential oil vapors released by the glands envelop the plant in a light fog, which protects it from overheating in the strong sun in dry weather and from cooling at night.

If, in hot dry weather, which lasts for several days, you look closely at the flowers of fragrant pelargonium in the evening, then you can sometimes notice the following curious phenomenon. When the setting sun is illuminated from the side above the flowers, a faint glow can be seen. If you bring a match to it, then a light flame will quickly run through the entire stem. The plant will remain the same fresh and healthy, it is just that the essential oils accumulated around the plant burn out.

Popular pelargoniums

Pelargonium
Pelargonium

Pelargonium pink

A remarkable achievement of breeders is the breeding of varieties and forms of fragrant pelargonium, the leaves of which have a smell reminiscent of the smell of mint, ginger, pepper, nutmeg and coconut, rose, verbena, pineapple, orange, lemon, apple and even strawberry.

Now the group of plants of fragrant pelargonium has about 100 species, varieties and forms in the world. The most famous ones are:

The most fragrant pelargonium (P. odoratissimum (L.) ex L Herit Ait) is one of the most common species in culture (sometimes it is called strong-smelling). It is a compact bush with a short branched stem up to 15 cm high and leaves emitting a strong apple aroma. Small - up to 1.5 cm in diameter, white flowers are collected in inflorescences from 3 to 11 pieces.

Pelargonium
Pelargonium

Pelargonium felt

Pelargonium felt (P. tomentosum L Herit) has densely leafy, densely pubescent stems and rounded-funnel-shaped leaves, located on long densely pubescent petioles. It usually blooms in late summer (3-8 purple flowers per inflorescence).

An attractive form of Variegatum in lemon yellow pelargnia (P. x limoneum Sweet.). This is due to the originality of the curly variegated foliage. It has small green leaves with a pleasant lemon scent and a white border around the edge, divided into lobes. They have grayish pubescence. The flowers of this pelargonium are pink with purple veins.

Pelargonium
Pelargonium

Pelargonium capitate

Pelargonium capitate (P.capitatum Ait.) Is a rather tall shrub for the windowsill (50-60 cm), which eventually needs a solid support. It has green, pubescent, lobed (with a jagged edge) leaves that have a pleasant scent reminiscent of a rose. In the inflorescences, there are 7-11 purple-pink flowers with dark purple veins up to 2 cm in size.

Pelargonium pink (P. roseum Willd.) Is characterized by light green leaves (often with a yellow tint), with soft glandular pubescence, which also emit a delicate aroma of rose. It is interesting that the petioles are almost three times longer than the leaf blades, so from a distance the plant looks like an openwork. This shrub has long, thin stems (up to 1-1.5 m). Pelargonium blooms in late summer. Inflorescences on short peduncles bear 3-8 flowers with narrow unclosed petals of light purple color.

Fragrant Pelargonium (P. x fragrans Willd.) Is famous for its leaves with the smell of nutmeg.

Pelargonium fine-toothed (P. denticulatum Jacq.) Is a weakly branching dwarf shrub. With age, it needs support, because it reaches a height of 50-60 cm. Its green, densely pubescent, strongly cut leaves have a pungent pungent odor. Collected in inflorescences of 6-10 pieces, flowers up to 2 cm in size are very beautiful: light lilac, two upper petals are dark lilac with dark purple veins.

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Indoor and outdoor cultivation

Pelargonium
Pelargonium

Pelargonium fine-toothed

For the summer period, it is better to place pelargonium on windows from the south-west or south-east side, as it can suffer from direct sun, high temperatures and low air humidity. Water it abundantly, but be sure to remove excess water from the pan; twice a month, they are fed with solutions of complete fertilizers.

To activate the appearance of new flowers, the faded ones are cut with a razor. For the winter content of pelargonium, the optimal temperature is considered 5 … 10 o С, it is usually located on the north side, kept away from the hot batteries of the heating system. At this time, the plants continue to grow weakly, but they stop feeding them; rarely watered, avoid getting water on the leaves and especially on the stems.

For the summer period, geraniums can be transplanted into open ground on the sunny side of a flower garden with well-prepared soil. This is done when a stable daytime temperature is established (above 18 o C). The climatic conditions of the North-West make it possible to grow geraniums in the open field only in an annual culture, since at a temperature of 0 … -3 o С these heat-loving plants die. They can be used to design a personal plot, lawns and flower beds in parks, squares and along paths. In autumn, the plants are dug up to frost and brought into the room. But pelargonium often painfully tolerates a transplant (the leaves turn yellow and fall off).

Scented pelargonium pots will look great on balconies, loggias and well-lit staircases. Plant it at home, and it will respond to a caring attitude towards it with abundant and long flowering. It is a pity that in the retail sale you can still find a very limited number of varieties and forms of this pelargonium, the leaves of which are famous for such a wide variety of aromas.

Reproduction

Pelargonium
Pelargonium

Pelargonium is easily propagated vegetatively (green cuttings) throughout the year.

For this purpose, healthy 2-3-year-old plants are chosen, grown in sufficiently spacious containers, where they are evenly provided with moisture and nutrition. For rooting, the middle part of 4-5 internodes is used in young shoots, pinching the upper juicy part and removing the lowest, lignified one. The stalk is cut half a centimeter below the knot. Before planting, it must be dried for 1 hour, then the lower leaves are removed, the upper ones are shortened by half, the inflorescences are plucked out.

They are planted in washed clean coarse-grained sand (10 cm thick) or in a layer of a mixture of peat and sand, on top of which 5-6 cm of sand is poured - in this case, the cuttings take longer to root. The plant material is planted to a depth of 2-3 cm of a watered and leveled substrate. The planted cuttings are watered abundantly. They are kept open, since excess moisture is destructive for them, therefore, in order to avoid decay, they are watered carefully - it is better if the top layer of the substrate is slightly dry. In sunny weather, be sure to shade. The leaves are periodically sprayed with a spray bottle.

When rooting in the autumn-winter period, watering is carefully monitored, avoiding excess moisture. When the leaves turn yellow and dry from the cutting, they are removed during the rooting process. Rooting of cuttings takes 3-4 weeks. Pelargonium grows very quickly, therefore, in order to avoid stretching the plants, they avoid shading them with each other. To do this, the pots are placed at an optimal distance from each other. In the spring, they often practice rooting cuttings placed in water with a layer of 1-1.5 cm thick, in a shaded place, however, there is a danger of rotting of the tips of individual plants.

Geranium use

Pelargonium
Pelargonium

The aromatic pelargonium group has been used for a long time as a source of geranium oil, replacing expensive rose oil. Pelargonium has been cultivated in order to obtain oil since the beginning of the 19th century.

At first, this was done in Algeria in damp, low-lying places. However, in humid and warm conditions, although pelargonium gave a lot of vegetative mass, its oil was characterized by a relatively weak aroma. Better quality raw materials began to be obtained only in Spain and southern France, where sandy soils were selected for the cultivation of pelargonium. The climatic conditions of this region allow the cultivation of fragrant pelargoniums over large areas.

The wonderful properties of Pelargonium essential oils have been known for a long time. They were used to create scented water and fragrant oils, for aromatic smoking in Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. In Ancient Russia, they also used a tincture made on the basis of these oils. Even after the appearance of factories of cosmetic products in Russia in the second half of the 19th century, geranium oil continued to be imported into the country from Spain and France.

Huge plantations (the first in 1929) of the Soviet Union for the cultivation of pelargonium for the production of essential oils now remain in the southern countries of the near abroad (Abkhazia, Eastern Georgia, Armenia, Tajikistan). Pelargonium essential oil is especially popular in the East. There it is known as the oil of the Egyptian geranium. It should be noted that 1 hectare of plantings of fragrant pelargonium gives an average yield of 20 tons of green mass, from which only 20-30 kg of essential oil can be obtained.

Pelargonium
Pelargonium

Essential aromatic oils are pleasant and healthy; they are widely used in medicine, perfumery, soap making and food industries.

It has now been found that the leaves of fragrant pelargonium contain up to 0.35% of essential oil, and in the twigs and stems - only 0.01%. Experts have calculated that 0.00005 mg per 1 liter of air is enough to capture their aroma. Due to the release of oils and aroma with pelargonium, headaches are reduced, sleep returns to normal. Acting on the nervous system, they eliminate depression and improve mood. Pelargonium is appreciated for its remarkable phytoncidal qualities: due to the release of phytoncides that suppress pathogens, it is able to disinfect the air in a room.

It has been proven that the presence of aromatic pelargonium in a small room kills up to 70% of such microbes. According to representatives of traditional medicine, pelargonium helps with nervous tics and trigeminal neuralgia: it is recommended to rip a leaf of geranium, attach it to a sore spot, put a piece of natural linen on top and tie it with a warm scarf (the leaves are replaced several times with freshly torn ones).

Geranium leaf decoction

There is evidence that a decoction of geranium leaves is a good remedy for eczema. For its preparation, freshly picked leaves are dipped in water and boiled over low heat for about an hour. Then make local baths for 5 minutes. By the way, at home it is quite easy to get fragrant oil and even perfume from the leaves of fragrant pelargonium. For a volume of about 1 ml, almost 500-600 g of leaves are required, but we will only make a few drops.

For this purpose, 10-15 geranium leaves must be cut and placed in a flask with 5-20 ml of water. Then it must be closed with a stopper with a curved glass tube, falling down at an angle. The end of the tube is placed in a vial dipped in a glass of cold water. The flask is slowly heated, and together with water vapor, the essential oil evaporates and, passing through the tube into the bubble, condenses. There will be a noticeable yellow spot on the surface of the water collected in the bubble.

This is the essential oil, which is collected with a pipette and, to obtain a perfume, is dissolved in slightly warmed alcohol. If the bubble is taken out to frost (-16 ° C and below), you can get the essential oil in solid form. In addition, experts believe that essential oils also freshen the air and cleanse it of harmful impurities. In Germany, the leaves of scented pelargonium are added as a condiment to some dishes and drinks. It is also believed that scented pelargonium scares away clothes moths.

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