Tips for growing Pelargonium domesticum, regal or Martha Washington geraniums. How to care for and keep Lady Washington regal Pelargoniums blooming from year to year.
The regal Pelargonium can only be propagated from cuttings so don't bother looking for these attractive flowers in your spring seed catalogs.
The flowers are large (for geranium blooms) brightly colored and sometimes double or bi-colored. They resemble azalea flowers and cover the plants when they appear in late spring.
These are the flowers of the wild ancestor of P. domesticum.
Here it is in its native South Africa where large bushes of it grow on the mountainsides.
When growing Martha Washington geraniums in the garden, expect them to grow to 4 feet tall. A potted Lady Washington may only grow to half that height or less.
This is cool season tender perennial. It may not survive a particularly hot summer outdoors or winter temps below 15 degrees F.
If you have a plant you particularly enjoy, take cuttings in late summer and grow them indoors in a sunny window over the winter.
Set your Martha Washington geranium in a sunny window for best flowering. Fertilize monthly during the spring and summer. Every 2 months in the fall and winter.
Lady Washington geraniums prefer day time temps around 65 degrees F. with night temps 10 degrees lower. Keep it in a cool room and well away from heat vents.
Cut it back to 4 inches above the soil in late summer. New growth will appear quickly and rejuvenate the plant for next year.
Pelargonium domesticum is a bit tricky to overwinter as it requires a cooling period in order to set buds for the following spring.
Keep the plant outside right up until the first frosty night. It needs several weeks of cold chill, like a fruit tree. But it must not freeze.
Once you bring your regal Pelargonium in for the winter, you must give it full sun. Place it in a south facing window or under a grow light for best results.
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