Pelargonium: Growing, Care, Reproduction

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Pelargonium: Growing, Care, Reproduction
Pelargonium: Growing, Care, Reproduction

Video: Pelargonium: Growing, Care, Reproduction

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In the cultivation of pelargonium, a clear annual cycle is visible, which depends on temperature and light. Usually, the flowering time in our climate begins in spring and can continue in some varieties until late autumn, as long as there is enough light and warmth.

Lighting

When growing pelargonium, it must be remembered that these are light-loving plants. Planted in the open ground or taken out into the open air for the summer, they perfectly tolerate direct sun. The exception is royal pelargoniums, which are more picky about the effects of wind and rain, so it is preferable to grow them on terraces, balconies and window sills, in sheltered places. If pelargonium is placed indoors (in a greenhouse, on a window), where light enters through glass, the plant may overheat, especially in conditions of poor ventilation. Then you need protection from the scorching summer midday sun. It will take out pelargonium and a little shading, but with a lack of light, the lower leaves will begin to turn yellow and die off, the stem will be bare, the plant will not bloom.

Pelargonium royal Kimono
Pelargonium royal Kimono

Pelargonium royal Kimono

It is important to regularly, once every few days, turn the plant at a small angle relative to the light source, this is necessary for uniform crown growth.

Temperature regime

In summer, pelargonium prefers moderate heat, within + 17 + 23 o C. Landing in open ground should be done only when the danger of return frosts has passed. At a steady temperature of 12 of C and lower stops pelargonium bloom, bloom also negatively affects the temperature is too high, especially indoors. The fact that the plant is cold can be signaled by reddened leaves.

In the fall, the temperature of the content and the abundance of watering are gradually reduced - growth should not be active, so that pelargonium does not stretch and deplete under low light conditions.

Pelargonium Red Gables
Pelargonium Red Gables

Pelargonium Red Gables

Winter care

Optimal wintering conditions can be created on a glazed and frost-free, well-lit loggia or in a greenhouse. It is necessary to maintain a minimum temperature at night not lower than +6 о С, in the daytime - about + 12 + 15 о С. In case of overheating on sunny days, open the greenhouse doors for ventilation. Angels, bicolor and tricolor varieties are best kept at higher temperatures, placing them in warmer places in the greenhouse or loggia.

Pelargonium zoned star-shaped miniature tricolor (Bob Newing)
Pelargonium zoned star-shaped miniature tricolor (Bob Newing)

Pelargonium zoned star-shaped miniature tricolor (Bob Newing)

Good air circulation around the plants is essential, they should not be placed too closely, if necessary, thick roots should be thinned a little. This will help avoid the occurrence of fungal diseases. Watering this time is rather scarce, experienced growers spend it from pallets, clearly measuring the amount of water and determining the time of the next watering by the weight of the pots, while the top of the soil is always left dry.

There are other wintering methods. One is to keep the plants as rooted cuttings and discard the mother plant. The method is used for summer cultivation of pelargonium in the open air.

The second method is also used for outdoor cultivation: on the eve of frost, the plant is dug up, excess soil is shaken off from the roots, the plant is strongly cut and wrapped in paper, then hung in a cool basement. The room should be well ventilated and high humidity so that the plant does not dry out. In the spring it is planted in a pot, with the onset of heat, it is planted in open ground. You can combine the first and second methods: first take the cuttings, and then send the mother plant to winter in the basement.

Wintering occurs in the darkest time of the year and lasts approximately 2.5-3 months (from November to February). Already in late January - early February, with an increase in daylight hours, pelargoniums gradually begin to wake up.

Pelargonium pink Pelargonium radens
Pelargonium pink Pelargonium radens

Pelargonium pink Pelargonium radens "Red-Flowered Rose"

Watering

When watering pelargonium, it is important to remember that these are rather drought-resistant plants, at the same time they are easily susceptible to fungal diseases. Therefore, it is better to underfill the plant a little than to water it too much. In summer, water as the top layer dries, provided that the plant is in a warm and sunny place. In winter, in cool conditions, watering should be limited, but not brought to complete drying of the soil.

Signs of over-watering will be lethargic drooping leaves, often with signs of gray rot; in a severe case, stem rot will begin, which almost always leads the plant to death. Another symptom of excess moisture is the appearance of "sores" on the underside of the leaves. When the earthen coma is dried out, the plant stops blooming, the leaves turn yellow, their edges dry out.

Air humidity for pelargonium is not important, these plants do not require spraying. Excessive dampness and stagnant air can cause fungal diseases.

Top dressing

It is advisable to introduce top dressing with each watering, accordingly reducing the dosage. So, if watering is done every day, then we divide the weekly fertilizer rate by 7-10 and give this dose at each watering. If the lump has time to dry out between waterings, then you must first moisten it with clean water. During the winter rest, feeding is canceled if the temperature is kept low and the plants are completely resting. When there is even a slight growth, fertilizers can be added in ¼ dosage. Soon after the cuttings have taken root, a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content is used. For feeding young plants that are not yet allowed to bloom, use a complex universal fertilizer. Before the onset of the flowering period, about 2.5-3 months (in April), they begin to use a fertilizer with a higher potassium content.If there are signs of chlorosis, it should be treated with magnesium sulfate and iron chelate (or simply with a solution of trace elements in a chelated form).

Pelargonium star Vectis Glitter
Pelargonium star Vectis Glitter

Pelargonium star Vectis Glitter

Landing

Pelargonium soil prefers fertile and well-drained. It is composed of sod land, humus, peat and sand in approximately equal proportions.

The life span of an individual pelargonium bush is usually 2-5 years, after which the plant loses its decorative effect and it is better to take care of the renewal in time by rooting cuttings. It will take about a year or more to grow an ornamental flowering plant from a cuttings. Cuttings rooted in early spring may bloom this summer, but it is advisable to give preference to the formation of a beautiful bush for abundant flowering next year.

Cuttingscan be taken at any time, from early spring to autumn. But here it is necessary to take into account the time of the onset of flowering of the plant, which for different varieties is from 16 to 20 weeks after the last pinching or pruning (flowering occurs on young shoots that have reached this age). If you have a single copy of this variety, then to cut the cuttings you will have to wait until the end of flowering. If there are several copies, then it is better to take cuttings earlier, starting in February-March, then the young plant will have more time to develop for lush flowering next year, until this moment it is necessary to remove all emerging buds. It is not recommended to take cuttings earlier than the end of January, with a short daylight hours. By this time, the plants are just beginning to wake up from the cool wintering. If you take cuttings from dormant plants,then the level of growth hormones in them is low and it will take more time for rooting. For such pelargoniums as angels, royal and fragrant, it is advisable to take cuttings in late winter or early spring (later, with an increase in the level of illumination, the laying of flower buds will already begin closer to the tops of the shoots). For most varieties of zonal pelargoniums, this period is not so important, since their flower buds are laid along the entire length of the shoot and cuttings can be taken at any time of the growing season.since their flower buds are laid along the entire length of the shoot and cuttings can be taken at any time of the growing season.since their flower buds are laid along the entire length of the shoot and cuttings can be taken at any time of the growing season.

Cuttings must be cut only from healthy and powerful plants - the stronger and chunky the cutting, the better it will develop in the future. For cuttings, take the apical parts of the shoots about 5-7 cm long, from miniature and dwarf varieties - about 2.5-3 cm.The lower leaves and stipules should be carefully removed, under the lower node, make an oblique cut with a slight slope. Dry the lower cut of the cutting in the air; depending on the conditions, this may take from several hours to several minutes. You can use drugs that stimulate root formation, but pelargonium gives roots well without their use.

Pelargonium zoned miniature Brookside Fantasy
Pelargonium zoned miniature Brookside Fantasy

Pelargonium zoned miniature Brookside Fantasy

It takes 2 to 4 weeks to root, depending on conditions and variety. The roots are formed on the lower cut of the cutting. A mixture of sterile peat substrate and perlite in approximately equal proportions is used as a rooting soil. It is important that no water stagnates in the ground. Sterilizing the soil prior to use reduces the likelihood of cuttings rotting. Small pots (6 cm in diameter) or transparent cups (100-200 ml) are filled with the soil mixture and kept on a tray with water until the upper part of the substrate is wetted. After that, the soil is allowed to dry for about a day.

Another way of rooting is also popular. They take two pots, insert a second, narrower pot into a wider one, fill the space between them with soil, and plant prepared cuttings here. They are immersed in the ground by about 1-3 cm (depending on the variety) and lightly pressed.

The next watering is carried out sparsely and through the pallet when the soil dries up. It is advisable, after planting the cuttings, to introduce a systemic fungicide into the soil during the second watering. A greenhouse for rooting pelargonium cuttings is not required. For the first 2-3 days, the leaves may wither (do not put the cuttings in sunlight!), Later they restore turgor.

The optimum temperature for rooting pelargonium cuttings is about + 20 + 22 o C.

After rooting the first pinchedthe cutting is carried out when it forms 8-10 leaves. The apical growth point is removed with a sharp sterile knife. This stimulates the growth of lateral shoots from the axils of the remaining leaves. If shoots begin to grow only from 1-2 upper buds, then it is advisable to remove them or pinch them immediately, as soon as they give 3 leaves. The next pinching is carried out as the side shoots grow, when they form 8-10 leaves. This will ensure lush branching, and subsequently abundant flowering. It is optimal to form a crown in the form of 2/3 of a ball. The last pinching of the plant is carried out no later than 16-20 weeks (depending on the variety) before the expected flowering. Since flowering is also influenced by external factors (illumination), it can be expected to start in May or June, so the last pinching is carried out no later than February. As it grows, diseased or weak shoots are removed,too rapidly growing are shortened, trying to maintain the uniformity of the roots. Also, cut out all leaves that do not match the grade in size or color.

As the young plant grows, it is transplanted several times per season (by careful transfer) into a slightly larger pot, not trying to give a large volume at once. Transshipment is carried out only when the roots are tightly entwined with a lump. For a one-year-old plant, the maximum pot size should not exceed: for miniature varieties - 9 cm, dwarf varieties and angels - 11 cm, for other varieties - no more than 15 cm in diameter. The last transplantation of cuttings rooted this season is carried out closer to the winter rest or after its end at the beginning of the next season.

Pruning an old plant after flowering, taking cuttings

After the end of the flowering of the mother plant, the apical cuttings are cut from it for rooting. Pelargoniums are very susceptible to fungal diseases, so it is advisable to make a cut on the mother plant above the node and be sure to treat the cut with a fungicide, sprinkle it with charcoal or sulfur, these measures will reduce the likelihood of stem rot. It is optimal to carry out cuttings in a warm season, this also reduces the risk of disease. It is better not to remove old leaves that remain on the plant at this time, as lateral shoots will soon begin to grow. As young shoots grow, old leaves are removed. As soon as young shoots grow 8-10 leaves, they are pinched.

To make the crown uniform and stimulate good flowering, old specimens immediately after the winter rest are pruned, frail and diseased shoots are removed, the long ones are shortened, leaving from 2 to 5 buds on each shoot. It is undesirable to carry out pruning in the fall, since at home, without strict adherence to the cool wintering conditions, weak lateral shoots are formed, which will have to be removed.

Reproduction

Cuttings. Pelargonium reproduces well with cuttings - this is the main method of propagation of varietal plants, only it completely (excluding cases of the appearance of somatic mutations - spots) guarantees the preservation of all varietal traits in the plant. Read about grafting pelargonium above.

Pelargonium royal Margaret Waite
Pelargonium royal Margaret Waite

Pelargonium royal Margaret Waite

Seed reproduction. Many varieties are hybrid in nature, and even if they can set seeds, plants from such seeds may not necessarily retain the varietal qualities of the original plants. Species pelargoniums and a small number of varieties are successfully grown from seeds.

Mainly on sale you can find seeds of F1 hybrids (first generation) and F2 hybrids (second generation), they are produced by large seed companies by crossing two different varieties. Plants grown from such seeds are not very interesting to collectors, but are more suitable for mass landscaping - they are not distinguished by a wealth of colors, but they have increased resistance.

The optimal time for sowing seeds is the end of January - February. With an increase in daylight hours, it will be possible to grow strong seedlings, and the seedlings will most likely bloom this summer. You can sow earlier, but in winter you will definitely need additional lighting so that the seedlings do not stretch out.

For seed germination, use poor sterile soil. Seeds are sown on the surface, sprinkled with a thin layer (literally 2-3 mm) of the soil mixture, spilled and covered with nothing. The optimum temperature for germination is + 20 + 24 o C. You can sow the seeds one at a time in individual small cups, then picking is not required. Seedlings appear in 2-3 weeks.

Pelargonium felt Pelargonium tomentosum (species)
Pelargonium felt Pelargonium tomentosum (species)

Pelargonium felt Pelargonium tomentosum (species)

Diseases and pests

Gray Rot deals great damage to Pelargoniums. It manifests itself as a gray bloom on the leaves and other parts of the plant. Its occurrence is provoked by coolness, dampness, waterlogging, poor air ventilation. Especially often, the disease occurs during winter rest, which is why it is so important to provide plants with good ventilation, not to put them close to each other, to remove diseased and unnecessary leaves in time.

  • Rust is often found on pelargoniums. It manifests itself in the form of concentric yellowish above and brown below spots on the leaves.
  • From waterlogging of the soil, rotting of the stem can be observed, which manifests itself in the form of dark depressed spots at the base of the stem. This is a sure death of the plant, but you can try to take the apical cutting.
  • Verticillium wilt is caused by a fungus that infects the plant's conducting system. The disease manifests itself in a gradual yellowing and wilting of the plant and does not respond to treatment.
  • Defeats are also possible with other pathogenic fungi that cause various types of spotting on leaves, petioles and other parts of plants.

It is important to timely carry out preventive treatments of plants against fungal diseases, especially on the eve of winter holidays. Plants are abundantly sprayed with preparations or immersed with the crown in a container with a fungicide. It is advisable to use systemic fungicides of a wide spectrum of action, such as Skor, Topaz, Profit Gold, Topsin, etc. If a fungal disease is detected, the diseased parts of the plant are removed and treated with the same preparations.

Pelargonium is often affected by whiteflies. When purchasing a plant, carefully examine the lower part of the leaf for the presence of small white butterflies or white capsule formations, their larvae. If you find at least a few individuals, you should refuse to purchase.

  • If a mealybug is found, it is also better not to buy a plant. In the axils of the leaves, on the stems, you can see clusters that look like pieces of white cotton wool.
  • Also, pelargoniums can be affected by thrips, aphids, and ticks.

When keeping pelargonium outdoors, the risk of being affected by various pests increases, before you bring the plants home, be sure to treat them with insecticides.

For more details, see the article Pests of indoor plants and measures to combat them.

Physiological disorders not associated with diseases or pests

Reddening of the leaves. The reason is too low temperature. The conditions of detention must be changed.

  • The plant does not flower, although its general condition is good. The reason may be too high temperature, lack of light, or excessive watering.
  • The leaves turn yellow and fall off, the edges of the leaves dry. The reason may lie in insufficient watering, with a strong bare stem, in a lack of light.
  • Pelargonium unique Crimson Unique
    Pelargonium unique Crimson Unique

    Pelargonium unique Crimson Unique

    Photo: Nina Starostenko, Rita Brilliantova

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