Here we outline the versatility of our favourite plant by classifying the many different types of Pelargoniums that are available with descriptive videos and notes.
Some other Flower types within the Zonal Group.
Rosebud or Noisette blooms – each bloom fully double and ‘hearted’. The middle petals are so numerous that they remain unopened like the bud of a rose.
Tulip Flowered – having semi-double blooms that never fully open. The large cup shaped petals open just sufficiently to resemble a miniature tulip.
Bird’s-Egg – having blooms with petals that have spots in a darker shade than the base colour, like many birds eggs.
Speckled Flowered – having petals that are marked with splashes and flecks of another colour.
Cactus Flowered – having petals twisted and furled like a quill. In the USA are known as the Poinsettia Flowering
Other Groups Not mentioned.
These are very similar to the larger growing Scented Leaved Pelargoniums but tend to have a more attractive flower both in colour and form. This is because a number of the more modern hybrids have been crossed with Regals to produce what are known as Hybrid Uniques. Many of the original varieties have been around since the beginning of the 19th century when they were often used in early formal bedding schemes. They respond well to being grown as older plants from year to year, as they seem to flower better on old wood. To keep the plant in good shape prune by half each year and feed copiously with high potash feed during the growing season.
The species are the forfathers of all the cultivar groups shown or listed above and are, of course, members of the Geraniaceae family (Family Explanation). In general, the definition of a species is that it breeds true from seed, and is to be found doing this in the ‘wild’. All of the types explained in the above sections are hybrids and do not come true from seed although it does help in the introduction of new varieties with variation of colour and form when both commercial operations and amateur hobbyists undertake their own breeding regimes. The majority of the pelargonium species are to be found in the Republic of South Africa, mostly in the south western corner. There are also about 20 species in Eastern Africa and a few others to be found in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Turkey, Iraq, and the South Atlantic islands of St. Helena and Tristan da Cunha. Species pelargoniums have an incredible diversity of characteristics in habit, shape, size and colour, which no doubt accounts for the incredibly wide range of plant types within the specific genus.
A Primary Hybrid is recognised as being the resultant plant from a first time cross between two different known species. Examples are P x ‘ardens’ – from P. lobatum x P. fulgidum (1810). P x ‘glauciifolium’ – from P. gibbosum x P. lobatum (1822). Usually, but not always, primary hybrids are sterile.
Some of the above videos are extracts from the PAGS Youtube channel. The channel follows the exploits of our Vice Chairman and Show Secretary David Taylor (alias Mr Pelargonium). He provides periodic advice on growing and exhibiting Pelargoniums of all types and is well worth a visit.