The Pelargonium blandfordianum hybrid and its related cultivars

pelargonium blandfordianum

Pelargonium blandfordianum is a lovely pelargonium with deeply incised grayish leaves which are fragrant with a scent of rose and white flowers with reddish blotches on the under petals.
It is believed to be a hybrid between P. radula and P. quinquevulnereum. There are a few variations of this plant, ‘album’ refers to the white flowered form and ‘roseum’ to the rose pink flowered form
which has a distinct rosy wormwood fragrance on the leaves.

This hybrid was developed during the early 1800s, introduced by George Spencer Churchill the Marquis of Blandford to which this plant derives its name. George Spencer was a keen and accomplished botanist while he resided at White knights park estate, a medieval manor which is now part of the university of Reading (white knights campus).
Here he became widely known for has large collection of rare and exotic plants from around the globe. Various species were also transported there from the royal gardens by order of the king. George took out a loan to expand and enhance his new estate, creating many new features, such as the ‘Chantilly garden’ which contained several conservatories possibly for tropical plants, a vineyard, bridges, a wide variety of trees, a botanical garden with a wide selection of unique plants, many from America, a wilderness and many seats, fountains, grotto’s and pavilions. Later the gardens fell into decline after George Spencer became bankrupt and his creditors set fire to his house in rage, the rest of the estate was sold off. But remains of the gardens was again found after the world wars.

photo by James Eggleton-unsplash.com

Pelargonium radula is a parent of the hybrid Pelargonium blandfordianum, it has decorative deeply incised leaves with a lemony rose fragrance and small pale pink flowers with dark purple markings on the upper petals. It has similar characteristics to P. graveolens which is closely related and possibly an equivalent to P. radens or a clone and also has a few forms with varied flower colours. The other parent is
Pelargonium quinquevulnereum

which was also believed to have been a hybrid, grown by Mr Armstrong who lived in Hampshire, that shares some similarities to Pelargonium graveolens.

Pelargonium radens is a tall upright shrub with delicate grey green finely divided leaves and light purple flowers with darker markings on the upper petals. The fragrance of the leaves are rose lemon scented and grows well in medium to large pots often growing beside other Plants.
Pelargonium graveolens has soft velvety triangular deeply incised leaves which have a somewhat rosy mint scent, a well known pelargonium since the 17th century in food and beverages, tea, potpourri and perfume.
Other hybrids related to Pelargonium radens or Pelargonium graveolens is P. ‘citrosum’ which has strong citronella lemon fragrance with pale pink flowers also known as the mosquito plant which is popular in the United States & Canada and is a cultivar of P. graveolens, also said to help deter mosquitoes.

P. ‘lady plymouth’ is a hybrid from the species
P. ‘graveolens’ with silver & cream leaves which
are variegated with a minty scent and light
purple flowers, there is also a similar cultivar
known as P ‘grey lady plymouth‘ with has grey
green leaves.
P. ‘Cinnamon rose’ has spicy cinnamon
scented leaves, and an upright growth with short
branches and pale purple flowers.
P. ‘Secret love’ is a eucalyptus scented leaf
pelargonium with light pink flowers showing
some characteristics to P. capitaum.
P. x melissinum is a cross between P. crispum
and P. graveolens which has large lemon balm
scented deeply cut leaves and pink flowers.

P. ‘rosemint’ has mint rose scented
leaves which are variegated and is used in
perfumes, showing some similarities to P.
lady plymouth.
P. ‘westerlund’ rose lemon scented leaf
close resembling that of P. graveolens.

Angel pelargoniums

The angel pelargoniums are hybrids believed to be derived from P. crispum a lemon scented pelargonium and P. grossularioides a fruit scented pelargonium.

Although they have almost certainly been crossed several times with hybrids such as the regal and other pelargonium species with one of its parents or closely related types.

It was named the Angel pelargonium pelargonium by Dereck Clifford because they looked similar to Pelargonium dumosum which was illustrated and described by Sweet, the Latin name “Dumus” meaning house of the church which may have had some reference to Angel.

Pelargonium crispum may have been crossed with a hybrid known as ” the Shar” but this is not certain, The first known pelargonium Angels to be created was by Arthur Langley Smith who produced many with pink, white and pale purple flowered varieties with veins and patterned markings. Arthur was a school teacher who lives in London, he named one of his creations ” Mrs G H Smith” a white flowered pelargonium with blushes of bright pink after his wife of the same name.

Angel pelargoniums such as P. crispum angel eyes still have leaves that are very similar to P. crispum and are usually scented, the species pelargonium  P crispum has fan shaped crisped edged leaves that are lemon scented and is used for essential oil and potpourri. This plant is native to South Africa in the Western Cape where it grows in sandy rocky areas, on mountainsides and hills.

P. tritidum is also believed to have been used to create the hybrid angel pelargonium which was introduced to Kew gardens in the late 1700s by Masson. It is also known as the brittle stalked pelargonium because it has delicate thin stems and bright green leaves which are divided into 2-3 leaflets and has a strong unpleasant fragrance, the flowers are white with deep purple markings native to the Western and Eastern Cape.

The angel pelargonium “hybrid”Henry Weller” which has large dark purple pansy like flowers with a white outline, has similar leaves and long flower stems to P. grossularioides a fruit scented pelargonium with leaves that closely resembles a gooseberry leaf which is kidney shaped, the flowers are small and reddish purple and is native to coastal areas of South Africa and also further inland in the Eastern Cape.

Pelargonium Species hybrid cross

hybrid peliargoniums fotalia

Many pelargonium hybrids like that of ‘Ardens’, ‘Lavender lass/lad’ and ‘atomic snowflake’ were created as early as the 1800s and usually hybridized between species pelargoniums.

Pelargonium ‘Ardens’ is a hybrid cross of Pelargonium Lobatum and Pelargonium fulgidum which was created in 1810, it has beautiful scarlet flowers.

Pelargonium ‘atomic snowflake’ is a hybrid cross of Pelargonium capitatum which has white blotches & stripes on the leaves, although the shape of the leaf is very similar to P. capitatum, the flowers are also similar.

Pelargonium ‘islington peppermint’ is a hybrid cross of Pelargonium tomentosum (mint scented) and pelargonium splendide (a cross between P. ovale & P. tricolor) which was again created during the 1800s, it has tiny two coloured flowers of burgundy and white and the leaves are peppermint scented like the P. tomentosum.

Pelargonium ‘Lady Plymouth’ is a hybrid cross of Pelargonium graveolens, this plant has cream variegated grey leaves that are rose/lemon scented with purplish pink flowers.

Pelargonium ‘Lavender Lad’ & ‘Lavender Lass’ are hybrid crosses of Pelargonium ionidiflorum, Pelargonium odoratissmum, Pelargonium dichondrifolium and Pelargonium australe which have bright pink flowers & lavender scented leaves.

Pelargonium ‘Lawrenceanum’ was created in 1827, believed to be a hybrid cross of Pelargonium lobatum and possibly Pelargonium ‘Ardens’, this plant has deep purple flowers that are faded along the edges and are scented at night.