Geraniums or cranesbills will bring interest to any border, pot or hanging basket with their profusion of open flowers and decorative foliage. Easy to grow, these garden favourites benefit from a long flowering period and a loose habit which makes them ideal ground cover plants. They are great companions to most perennials and will look especially wonderful with euphorbias, irises sibirica, alchemillas mollis or cosmoses and hydrangeas limelight and grasses. Alternatively, try mixing with dahlias.
Although they will tolerate most grounds, geraniums prefer to be planted in moist, moderately fertile, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. During the flowering season, apply a well-balanced fertiliser monthly and regularly remove spent flower stems to promote new blooms.
Geraniums are supplied in 9 cm pots. Always unpack and store in a cool place until ready to plant.
Potential problems, pests and diseases:
Sawfly larvae:these grey-white larvae feed on leaves, causing defoliation. Whenever possible, put on gardening gloves and remove by hand as soon as you spot them.
Snails and slugs: these pests enjoy munching on young shoots, stems, leaves and flowers. Watch out for damage!
Vine weevils:these black/grey beetles like to feed on ornamental foliage in spring and summer whilst larvae wreak havoc in autumn and winter by devouring plant roots. Host may wilt and potentially die. To prevent infestations, maintain good garden hygiene by disposing of any deceased plant material and debris. Additionally, take a moment to regularly inspect susceptible ornamental plants in spring and summer evenings — vine weevils come out at night — and pick off any visible pests using gloves.
Downy mildews: these fungal diseases usually caused by planting in the shade or by poor air circulation can be seen in the form of yellow marks on the upper side of leaves and white, powdery coating on the underside. Cut off any infected leaves before disinfecting your scissors.
Powdery mildews:these fungal diseases usually caused by planting in the shade or by poor air circulation can be seen in the form of white, powdery coating on the leaves. Cut off any infected material before disinfecting your scissors.
Viruses:viruses can cause a number of problems ranging from the appearance of deformed leaves and flowers to colour patterns and streaking. It is advisable to lift and destroy any affected plant at first sight.