Pelargonium denticulatum and its elegant leaf forms

This charming bushy shrub that favours slightly damp conditions usually under trees for shade in hot Mediterranean climates, has pinkish purple flowers with red or pink markings on the upper petals. The leaves are balsam scented, sticky and finely divided which is very similar to its cultivated form Pelargonium filicifolium, a cultivar where the leaves are more delicately finely divided and look very much like a fern in appearance. The flowers can also be quite unique to which the upper petals are split and look as if they are four petals, with reddish markings. Although it is believed that this form doesn’t flower so well as the P. denticulatum.

pelargonium filicifolium

Pelargonium radens also shows some similarities to pelargonium denticualtum, especially its leaf form, which has rose/lemon scented greyish green finely divided triangular leaves, but not quite as fine as P. denticulatum.

P. radens also has a somewhat softer texture, than p. denticulatum which tends to be more sticky. It also doesn’t have a bushy growth and prefers to trail though succulents and under taller plants.

pelargonium radens

P. Radens was originally called P. radula, but after much disarray of plant names during the late 1700s it was changed to P. denticulatum by Moore in the mid 1900s.

In modern times P. Radula is a hybrid derived from P. graveolens. This plant has deeply divided leaves with ragged edges and a rose/lemon scent. The flowers are small, light purple in colour with dark reddish purple on the upper petals.

Pelargonium radula leaf
Pelargonium radens leaf

Subtle pinks-Pelargonium species with light to dark pink flowers

pelargonium longicaule

Pelargonium longicaule- butterfly bush

A  striking & elegant pelargonium with long stems, dark green deeply divided leaves &  white to pale pink flowers that resemble a butterfly on long peduncles  also known as the butterfly bush. Pelargonium longicaule is a low growing  slightly woody  trailing shrub-let with long stems that grow up to 50 cm (20 inches) and the dark green divided leaves have a reddish tint. The name longicaule is derived from the Latin word ‘longus’ meaning long and ‘caulis’ meaning stem , this refers to the long stems of this plant. It prefers sandy loam soil conditions in full sun to part shade and is ideal for hanging baskets, window boxes and small-medium sized pots.

Pelargonium quercifolium

Pelargonium quercifolium-oak leaf pelargonium

A delightful pelargonium that has particularly attractive oak leaf shaped balsam scented leaves, the flowers are light to dark pink with dark purple markings on the upper petals & each flowering stalk has about 2-6 flowers.  P. quercifolium is a tall upright branching shrub which grows to about 150 cm/59 inches in height and can grow in different soil conditions. The name “quercifolium” is derived from the Latin word “ quercus”meaning oak tree. The leaves are used for essential oil and for herbal remedies, it is ideal for fragrant gardens,rock gardens,large pots and containers.

pelargonium cucullatum-cup shaped pelargonium

Pelargonium cucullatum- cup shaped leaves

A tough pelargonium with particularly large pinkish purple flowers that are slightly fragrant with dark purple markings which can attract bees, moths, birds and butterflies. Cucullatum is a tall upright branching slightly woody pelargonium that grows to 200 cm (78 inches) in height.  The rounded toothed leaves tilt upwards forming a cup shape & some variations are scented and release a pleasant sweet fragrance when crushed, It originates from South Africa in the Western Cape where it grows in sandy coastal areas. Best planted in the garden in a sheltered place or in Large pots.

Pelargonium  graveolens L’Her

Pelargonium  graveolens L’Her- rose geranium

A beautiful pelargonium  which is  believed to be a cross between graveolens x radens and is often used for rose oil in perfume, soap and also toothpaste. It has pale pink  flowers with thin purple lines on the upper petals & each flowering stalk has about 1-7 flowers.  P. Graveolens L’ Her is an up right  shrub with a spreading growth often trailing  along the ground and up walls to reach towards the light  and prefers slightly sandy soil conditions in semi shade. It is ideal for fragrant gardens, rock gardens,or pots.

pelargonium zonale

Pelargonium zonale-inflorescence of bright pink flowers

 A striking pelargonium with an inflorescence of about 50 very bright pink flowers,  The leaves are circular in shape with rounded teeth usually with a brown or dark purple zone in the centre. P. zonale is an upright scrambling shrub let which grows to about 100 cm/39 inches in height and grows in most soil conditions  in full sun to part shade.

Best planted in the garden or grown in medium to large sized pots, The botanical name Zonale refers to the dark zone on the centre of the leaf and originates from a wide area of the Eastern  Cape Province.

Pelargonium capitatum

Pelargonium capitatum- rose scented pelargonium

The scented leaf pelargoniums such as P. Captatum were greatly admired by the Victorians who included them in bouquets, pot pourri, flavouring deserts and also in jellies & cakes.  P. Capitatum has strong rose scented ovate crinkled leaves with a soft texture.  Flowers are usually 15 mm across and each head has about 10-20 flowers mauve pink in colour. Essential oils are extracted from its leaves &  are often used in skin care and perfumes. It originates from South Africa  in sandy areas & grows to a low shrub about 100 cm in height which is ideal for a medium to large pot or planted in the garden.

pelargonium denticulatum

Pelargonium denticulatum-tooth leaved pelargonium

 This is a pelargonium of exceptional  delicacy & charm, it has pinkish purple flowers with red or pink markings on the upper petals & each flowering stalk has about 3-6  flowers. The dark green sticky triangular finely divided leaves are balsam scented,  it is a low growing shrub which reaches to about 150 cm/59 inches in height and prefers most soil conditions and can also grow in slightly damp areas. The name “denticulatum” is derived from the Latin word meaning small teeth referring to the sharp pointed teeth along the edge of the leaves. It is ideal for larger pots, planted in the garden, fragrant gardens or near water features.

View on the Pelargonium species world website-