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perennial

South African Geranium

Pelargonium sidoides

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South African Geranium (Pelargonium sidoides) at Green Thumb Nursery

South African Geranium flowers

South African Geranium flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

South African Geranium (Pelargonium sidoides) at Green Thumb Nursery

South African Geranium in bloom

South African Geranium in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  24 inches

Spacing:  3 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  8b

Other Names:  Umckaloabo

Description:

Long stalked, heart shaped velvety leaves are mildly aromatic; dainty clusters of deep red, nearly black flowers dot the plant all season; perfect for patio containers

Ornamental Features

South African Geranium features dainty clusters of dark red orchid-like flowers with black overtones at the ends of the stems from late spring to early fall. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its tomentose heart-shaped leaves remain grayish green in color throughout the year. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

South African Geranium is an herbaceous evergreen perennial with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep. Trim off the flower heads after they fade and die to encourage more blooms late into the season. It has no significant negative characteristics.

South African Geranium is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting
  • Hanging Baskets

Planting & Growing

South African Geranium will grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 4 feet. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 3 feet apart. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 1 years.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist growing conditions, but will not tolerate any standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This species is not originally from North America.

South African Geranium is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor containers and hanging baskets. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Massing  Edging  Garden  Container  Basket 
Applications
Flowers 
Ornamental Features