Regal Pelargonium, Houseplant of the month of March

In March, the Regal Pelargonium is the Houseplant of the month, a plant which is also known as Pelargonium grandiflorum. You only have to look at the size of the flowers and the colours, to understand how this spring flower has earned its second name.

Regal Pelargonium versus the Geranium
You will know the plant by its large flowers with six petals, which grow in bunches. These flowers shine in one or more colours in bright purple, bright pink, light pink, dark red, bright red and white. An interesting fact: it’s not the flowers but the leaves of the Regal Pelargonium which have a scent. That is one of the differences between the Regal Pelargonium and the ‘common’ Geranium. One similarity between both plants is that they both give you a happy feeling!

From Africa to Europe
The Regal Pelargonium flourishes in its natural habitat in the southern region of Africa. Around 1600, ships from the Dutch East India Company took the plant from the Cape of Good Hope to Europe, where it landed in a range of botanical gardens. With its southern roots it’s not surprising that the Regal Pelargonium likes to be outside as soon as the night frost has disappeared.

Caring for the Regal Pelargonium
The Regal Pelargonium is happiest in a light position which will help it to flower. Water it regularly, directly into the pot and not on the plant itself. If you remove the dead flowers, the Regal Pelargonium will continue to create new flowers. After its flowering period in your home, the Regal Pelargonium is happy to go outside. It will then bring colour to your patio until late into the autumn. Place the plant indoors during the winter in a cool room and give it limited water.

Fun facts:
• A Regal Pelargonium needs a minimum of 4 hours sunlight to keep on flowering.
• Does your Regal Pelargonium have yellow leaves? You are probably giving it too much water.
• In the USA the Regal Pelargonium is called the Martha Washington Geranium.
• In the winter you can cut the Regal Pelargonium back to 10cm and leave it in a room with a temperature of around 12°C.
• The name Pelargonium is from the Greek ‘pelargós’ (stork), because people thought that the seed head looked like a stork’s beak.

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Published on: 26 February 2015