Types Of Geranium Varieties – All Different Kinds of Beautiful!
There are hundreds of geranium (Pelargonium) varieties available, encompassing a diverse range of colors, growth habits, and scents. The most common ones are Regal, Scented, Ivy-Leafed, Zonal, and Hardy Geraniums.
Geraniums are a popular and diverse group of flowering plants that belong to the Geraniaceae family. There are 400 different types of geraniums available in various colors, sizes, shapes, foliage, and fragrances.
The geraniums are globally cultivated as ornamental plants and are prized for their easy-to-care-for nature and long-lasting blooms.
They are used in window boxes, gardens, and hanging baskets, but some people also have different varieties of geraniums as indoor pots.
Some of the most renowned geraniums you will commonly spot around you are the common garden geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum), ivy-leaved geranium (Pelargonium peltatum), scented-leaf geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), etc.
Other geraniums include the regal geranium (Pelargonium domesticum), the dwarf geranium (Pelargonium nanum), and the perennial geranium (Geranium sanguineum).
Regardless, these plants will add charm and beauty to your indoor space or garden.
Geranium Varieties For Your Garden and Hanging Baskets
Typically, geraniums are classified into five main categories based on their leaf size and flower.
- Zonal or garden geraniums
- Ivy-leaved geraniums
- Hardy geraniums
- Scented geraniums
- Regal geraniums
Beyond this, some other common geraniums include angel geraniums, mourning widow geraniums, meadow geraniums, and wood geraniums. These are easy to grow and are readily available.
There are some rare hybrids for geranium as well, but today, we will curtail our discussion to the most common types of this flower that home growers and gardeners can enjoy.
1. Hardy geranium
Also known as Cranesbills, Hardy Geraniums are the true geraniums that can endure extremely low temperatures. They have saucer-like, flat flowers and come in various attractive colors.
You can easily prune back these perennial geraniums because they will bloom every spring. These kinds of geraniums are versatile and hardy.
So, you can use them in different ways, such as in rock gardens, borders, containers, and ground covers. They also attract pollens like butterflies and bees.
|Tolerant of a broad range of soil types but prefer well-draining soil
|They prefer full sun to part shade, but they appreciate afternoon shade in warmer climates.
|They do not require much fertilizer and can thrive without it, but they may benefit from an annual application of compost around their base.
|Hardy geraniums have a long bloom season, typically from late spring to early fall.
|They are hardy to zone 3 and can be found in many countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Are you interested in growing different types of geraniums from this category at home?
Here are our top three.
A. Geranium Endressii
French Cranesbill, or the Geranium endressii, is a semi-evergreen plant. It is native to Spain and is grown for commercial and decorative purposes. The plant has a sprawling growth habit.
They spread about 1.5 feet wide and approximately a foot tall. This variety produces large light purple flowers in late summer to early spring that thrive with slow-release organic fertilizer.
As a cold-hardy plant, it can withstand winter temperatures sans much maintenance.
B. Buxton Blue or Buxton’s Variety
Though not as prevalent as the other types of geranium plants, it is one of the best hardy geraniums. The plant blooms in early summer and produces a second, smaller flush of flowers in early fall.
It is recommended for container gardening and has a striking white eye. However, be cautious of the slugs attracted to geraniums, typically growing in shady locations.
You can grow them in USDA hardiness zones four through nine. The plant typically reaches a height of 12-20 inches and prefers full sun to partial shade.
Do you wish to add a vibrant pop of color to the front of your garden border? If yes, consider planting ‘Elsbeth’ geraniums. These geranium cultivars boast magenta blossoms that stand out against their healthy green foliage.
After planting them, you can expect a large flush of flowers in June, followed by a brief repeat in September. These flowers thrive in well-drained soil rich in nutrients.
Keep their roots moist and cool with three inches of mulch layer. Native to Western Asia and Europe, the ‘Elsbeth’ geraniums thrive in USDA Growing Zones 3-8 and can reach a height of 9-14 inches. They will flourish in areas with full sun to partial shade.
2. Zonal Geranium
Also known as Pelargonium x hortorum, the Zonal Geraniums is one of the most popular types of geranium plants amongst consumers. They have ball-shaped, tall flowers in different colors like crimson, white, peach, and purple, with fan-shaped dark green leaves.
These flowers are unique as they are all rooted in cuttings and not grown from seeds. Thus, they are energy-efficient at producing flowers that thrive in containers, window boxes, and bedding plants.
The Zonal Geraniums’ leaf stems and flowers stand upright. Hence, they are suitable for adding height to the gardens.
|Well-draining, pH 6.0-7.5
|Full sun (at least six hours per day) to partial shade
|Regular feeding with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer
|Spring to fall
|USDA zones 9-11, originally from South Africa
Here are the three geranium types you can consider from this category.
A. Pelargonium Zonale
It is native to the western region of the Cape and southern Africa and is a parent plant for different hybrid geranium species, with Pelargonium hortorum being the most well-known.
These upright shrubs reach up to three feet in height, with stems that seem succulent when young but woody as they mature.
Its dark green leaves have a zigzag pattern, and during the flowering season, the plant yields beautiful blooms in shades ranging from light pink to bright red, with red lines on the petals.
B. Fancy Leaf Geranium
Also known as the Frank Headley, Fancy Leaf Geranium is one of the popular Zonal types of geranium that typically resemble regular geraniums courtesy of their similar appearance.
These plants are appreciated for their eye-catching, large flowers and variegated leaves with a pleasant scent and glossy texture. With their cascading habit, they thrive in container gardens and are an excellent addition to outdoor garden beds.
These plants bloom with pink flowers from mid-spring through autumn and can endure intense heat and sunlight. However, be sure to provide them with bright light for them to grow successfully.
C. Mrs. Pollock pelargonium
Among other geranium varieties in the Zonal Geraniums, Mrs. Pollock pelargonium, is christened after the head gardener at the Hodsock Priory in Nottinghamshire, England, where it was first grown in the mid-1800s.
It is a beautifully appealing plant with orange and red flowers and variegated foliage. Its leaves are large and have a bright yellow-green center surrounded by a band of deep bronze-red, which is edged with green.
This cultivar is famous for its heat tolerance. It can thrive in full sun to partial shade and blooms from late spring through fall. It can reach a height of 1-2 feet and is usually grown in containers or used as garden bedding plants.
They need regular watering and well-draining soil. You can propagate them through stem cuttings.
3. Ivy Geranium
These kinds of geranium have a distinct appearance, which sets them apart from the other varieties. Ivy Geraniums have glossy, thick leaves that make them attractive in every setting.
The flowers on the Ivy Geraniums trail down the stem, giving them a cascading effect that showcases both the leaves and flowers. These are ideal for window boxes, hanging baskets, and ground cover or borders.
There are 75 different Ivy geranium varieties, including those with self-cleaning options and patterned leaves. They are all suited for dry climates.
|Full sun for four to six hours
|Pot with pre-mixed fertilizer and fertilize again at a light frequency.
|Mid-spring to autumn
|USDA zones 9-11; tropical plant native to southern Africa
A. Pelargonium peltatum
These are a preferred choice in wildfire-prone regions as they are less flammable than other flowering plants. These plants have rounded, fleshy leaves that form a base from which the stems rise, and each stem can accommodate a clump of eight or nine pink or streaked pink flowers.
Most flowers have five petals and can be streaked from the flower’s center up along the petals, creating a beautiful look. Even though these are susceptible to some forms of disease, they can be an excellent addition to any garden.
B. Alpine Ivy Geranium
It is another popular geranium species known for its white, bright pink, or red flowers. It is a compact plant that thrives in small spaces and is ideal for hanging baskets.
These bloom from late spring until the first frost and prefer full sun. Alpine Geraniums have a trailing habit and are suitable for trailing down the sides of pots or hanging baskets.
The plant requires regular watering but can be left to dry out between watering. It is hardy in USDA zones 9-11.
C. Cascade Ivy Geranium
Also called trailing Ivy Geraniums, the Cascade Ivy Geraniums have a cascading habit that makes them suitable for wall planters, window boxes, and hanging baskets.
Their glossy leaves are similar to Ivy, with trailing stems bearing clusters of flowers in shades of pink, red, and white. These are easy to care for and thrive in full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil.
They blossom in the spring and summer and are hardy in zones 9-11. You can add them to any outdoor space where you need a bright splash of color.
4. Scented Geraniums
These are a popular choice amongst gardeners because of their unique fragrances. By merely rubbing their leaves, you can test the scent of these geranium cultivars, such as apple, lemon, chocolate, citronella, rose, cedar, and orange.
These geraniums come in distinct leaf shapes like lacy, serrated, and rounded. Their velvety leaves release a scent, making them stand out from the other varieties.
Typically, they yield white and pink flowers during summer, with the upper two petals blooming dramatically. These are self-cooling plants, meaning they are more heat-tolerant than other geraniums and have glands on the underside of leaves that release aromatic oils to help them cool.
Some varieties, such as the citronella-scented geranium, are used as natural insect repellents. Others are used in aromatherapy and as herbal remedies for various ailments.
|Well-draining, fertile soil
|Full sun to partial shade
|Balanced fertilizer every two weeks during growing season
|Zones 9-11, native to South Africa
A. Apple Geranium
These are a beautiful variety with a pleasant fragrance reminiscent of apples with a hint of citrus. Apple Geraniums are best grown in partial shade and cherish a loamy soil with medium drainage.
These have small white flowers and are hardy in Zones Nine through Twelve. Apple Geraniums grow about one foot tall and two feet wide. Some cultivars to keep an eye out for are Green Apple, Big Apple, and Fringed Apple.
B. Cinnamon Geranium
Also called the P. x limoneum, the Cinnamon scented geraniums are one of the favorite geranium species amongst gardeners because of their distinctive cinnamon scent. They have petite leaves and bright pink flowers.
The candied flowers of these geraniums are an excellent addition to the desserts and retain their cinnamon aroma. These geraniums grow to two feet tall and wide and prefer full sun. They are hardy in Zones 10 and 11.
C. Apricot Geranium
Also called the P. scabrum ‘M. Ninon, the Apricot Scented Geraniums have large leaves and blossoms like the Zonal Geraniums. They have a fruity, sweet fragrance, and their vibrant blooms have a pink base with splashes of magenta, and they grow up to two feet tall. They thrive in Zones 10 and 11.
5. Regal Geraniums
Also called the Martha Washington geraniums, the Regal geraniums are typically indoor plants that prefer colder temperatures.
They are known for their ruffled, large blooms in various colors, making them ideal for potted plants and bordering garden beds. They are not thirsty plants. So, water them only when the soil feels dry.
|Rich, well-drained soil,
|Use a balanced fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season
|Middle of spring until the first frost
|Usually grown as indoor plants, but can be grown outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 10-11
A. Pelargonium Lord Bute
Lord Bute is an old Regal pelargonium variety with purple-black flowers and pale purple edges set against fresh green foliage. These geranium cultivars do well in full sun. These geraniums can be planted in large pots outside for sunny borders.
Fertilize with high potash during summer and deadhead regularly for best results. These plants are grown as annuals, but you can overwinter indoors.
B. Pelargonium Dark Secret
Dark Secret is a popular Regal variety known for its stunning deep purple flowers with darker veins and a small white eye. The plant has a compact and bushy habit, making it ideal for growing in pots or as a bedding plant.
Among the different types of geraniums, this one prefers full sun and well-draining soil and benefits from regular deadheading and feeding with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season.
In colder climates, you can overwinter Dark Secret indoors. It blooms from mid-spring until the first frost.
C. Pelargonium Pink Capitatum
Pelargonium Pink Capitatum is a stunning Regal geranium with deep green foliage and clusters of delicate, pale pink blooms. Its flowers have a slight fragrance, and its leaves have a velvety texture.
Pink Capitatum prefers well-draining soil, partial sunlight, and a high potash fertilizer during the summer. It blooms in the middle of spring and continues until the first frost.
This beautiful plant is perfect for adding color and texture to a sunny border or patio container. Overwinter it indoors to enjoy its beauty year after year.
Some Rare Geranium Varieties
Also called interspecific geraniums, these are rare hybrid breeds formed by crossing Zonal geraniums with different species of Ivy Geraniums. These hybrids have color, bright blooms of Zonal Geraniums, and Cascading foliage of Ivy Geraniums.
Some varieties include:
- Galleria Snowfire
Geraniums For Hanging Baskets
Different varieties of geraniums look good in hanging baskets, such as trailing zonal, scented-leaved, and ivy-leaved geraniums.
These plants are suitable for cascading over the container edges and offer a burst of color to any outdoor space. Some popular varieties for hanging baskets include:
1. Ivy-leaved geraniums: Raven, Rouletta, Red Ivy, and Ballerina.
2. Scented-leaved geraniums: Prince Rupert, Attar of Roses, and Lemon Fizz.
3. Trailing zonal geraniums:Tornado Red, Pink Happy Thought, and ‘Pelargonium Candy Flowers.
Geranium Flower Information and Common Queries
Ques 1. Which are the Annual geranium varieties?
Ans. All Pelargonium varieties, such as Regal, Zonal, and Ivy Geraniums, are grown as annuals, meaning they complete their life cycle in one growing season and do not survive freezing or frosty temperatures.
But some gardeners in warmer climates can overwinter geraniums as perennials with adequate care.
Ques 2. What is the biggest type of geranium?
Ans. Geranium maderense is a tall species of geranium, capable of growing up to 1.5 meters in height.
Ques 3. Which geraniums flower the longest?
Ans. Geranium Ann Folkard, Geranium Mavis Simpson, and Geranium Sweet Heidy are three geraniums that flower the longest.
Ques 4. What is the most common type of geranium?
Ans. The most common type of geranium is zonal geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum).