Geraniums or Pelargoniums? No matter what name we choose to use these attractive plants are a very familiar summer sight. My father would plant them formally with corresponding rows of lobelia, salvias, etc. whereas today a more informal spot planting approach is more common. Many have attractive foliage which combined with the usually strong colours makes them a true stalwart in many planting schemes.
Geraniums are so versatile we grow them in borders, containers, baskets and also as houseplants or colourful additions to our greenhouses. Being tender they are often discarded at the end of the summer perhaps with cuttings having been taken for the following year or they may just be replaced following a browse through the Suttons website.
Of course when grown as a houseplant the fact that the geranium is tender is irrelevant. Looked after properly there is no reason why such a plant should not survive for several years. How about 18 years?!
Gillian Heywood contacted us recently with photos of her lovely red geranium. This plant was sown from a packet of Suttons geranium mix seed back in 1995 and has bloomed well every year since. Gillian gave the red plant to her mother who kept it until she sadly died in 1997 and Gillian has been looking after it ever since.
The photo above was taken in April 2013. The photo below was taken in October 2014. Both a show a vibrant happy, healthy plant.
We asked Gillian for her secret in having kept this houseplant performing so well and looking so good for so many years and she tells us that she actually hasn’t been looking after it very well. Gillian tells us “It’s only been repotted maybe 3 times and fed when I remember – not often. It always has flowers on it, all the year round, sometimes 10 heads, but never less than 3 in flower. It has been difficult to find shoots to use for cuttings because there is always a bud at the end of every branch. I have finally got two cuttings which are now flowering nicely.”
We suspect that one reason for the plant’s longevity is that it likes where it sits. Geraniums like to be grown in full-light but out of any scorching midday sun. Situation is often the secret to a plant performing well.
So, well done Gillian and thank you for sharing your photos with us. If anyone reading this blog has an even older geranium then do get in touch. We’d love to hear about it.