Regals & Zonal pelargoniums

During the 1800s pelargoniums were greatly admired in Europe especially that of England, France, Germany and the Netherlands which were grown in greenhouses or conservatories.

From the mid 1800s to the 1900s the practice of producing cultivars was in development, during this period well over 8000 pelargonium cultivars were being created for the more larger and colourful flowers.

The earliest example of this was mentioned in Sweet’s geraniaceae works, when he describes the hybridization of Pelargonium cucullatum, an upright shrub that grows to 2 metres in height with purple to light purple flowers native to the Cape Province. These new hybrids were known as “Regals” from the 1870s, They have large showy flowers in a range of sizes & colours from white to dark red, in pastel or brightly coloured shades, some with wavy edges.

Later Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858-1954) an American horticulturist & botanist at the American society of horticultural science acknowledged the hybridization of the Zonal & Regal pelargoniums,

Pelargonium Zonale is an upright hairy scrambling shrub that grows to about 1 metre in height with zoned leaves & light pink, white or red flowers.

Zonal pelargonium cultivars are still popular today because of their colourful single, double or semi double flowers in a variety of colours and also because of their wide range of attractive leaf markings also in a range of colours.

Pelargonium zonal was known as P x hortorum (referring those grown in the garden) and Pelargonium cucullatum (referring to those grown in the house).

In the late 1800s a plant nursery by the name of Henri Dauthenay listed seven different cultivar pelargonium types, including Zonals, variegated-leaf, regals, ivy leaf, scented leaf and old pelargoniums.

In modern times there is now wide range of pelargonium cultivars, although these are beautiful plants the old charm of the original species pelargonium cultivars have now been lost.