Saturday 19 February 2011

The shy pelargonium - and a lesson to be learned.

P. mollicomum

I call P. mollicomum 'shy' because I hardly every see it in flower for long, let alone take a photograph of it.  So often I would spot it in flower, pop back to the house for my camera, only to find when I returned that one or two petals had fallen off.  In fact, I don't think both of these are complete flowers.  It is almost always in seed, which it spreads around freely.

P. mollicomum is from the eastern Cape Province and has been associated with P. odoratissimum. Both plants have leaves that are rounded and a grey/green colour, but P. mollicomum leaves have a pineapple scent.   I find that P. mollicomum has a rather more shrubby growth habit and the flowers are also larger. 

As with all the species pelargoniums, it  likes a loamy compost which has plenty of grit incorporated into it.

I now have to confess that I failed dismally with the pelargonium seeds I sowed last January.  I think I sowed about 30 seeds, but I now have only six small seedlings, although they do seem to be growing well.   

On the other hand, Sue's seedlings from France that I have written about before are flourishing.   These are seedlings that Sue found in her pots of pelargoniums in France when we tidied them up at the end of last summer.   Sue brought them back home and has cared for them very carefully over the winter and they are really doing well. 

I think there is a lesson for me here - I must sow the seeds when they are fresh, or keep them in cooler conditions than I have been.

Sue's pelargonium seedlings - February 2011


  1. It makes me so happy to see someone else who loves pelargonium. I always get a lot of heck from people here for liking them. Some day I might even get around to owning more than 4...

    The seedlings are adorable by the way, they look like waterlilies out of the water!


  2. I think pelargonioums are very much under rated - their diversity is just so amazing.
    I hope you do manage to get more than four. I know how difficult it is to source them now in the USA - getting like that here now.
    I've too have always thought the pel. seedlings look a bit like waterlilies out of water.

  3. I used to have around 20 but then through various moves and long hard winters I've lost all but 4. I think if people could just get over the mis-use of the red zonal varieties they'd see that they're really not bad plants at all. Some of the scenteds are downright amazing! The company I used to work for sold about 100 different varieties in the store but they were largely variations on the same plant (60 assorted zonals, 4 fancy leafs, about 20 ivies, 10 scenteds and 10 seed grown varieties). Sometimes we even had Martha Washingtons (Do you guys call them that too? I know they have another name..regal perhaps?) but not often because our climate just isn't conducive to them doing well. We also got in a few different succulent species from our cactus grower occasionally. Now that I've moved to a new town I can't really find anything other than the classic red pink and white zonals and it's really quite upsetting.


I would love to hear your comments about my "ramblings".