Scented Geraniums

Scented Geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) occur in too many varieties to list. Suffice it to say that they are great mimics — even with our eyes closed we could recognize the favorite rose-scented ones. Other flavors, like lemon, strawberry, ginger, nutmeg, and lime can also be found. Leaves of all can be used in potpourris, flower arrangements, and dainty sachets. The fruit and rose flavors are also used in desserts and jellies. A favorite pound cake recipe found in Southern Herb Growing by Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay calls for lining the cake pan with rose geranium leaves!

Scented geraniums love heat and are easy to grow. Because of their woody and sometimes odd growth habit, they are often planted in containers — a big clay pot full of scented geraniums is a wonderfully fragrant greeting to your guests during the spring and summer. They become leggy if they don’t receive enough sun — prune them back after blooming and re-fertilize generously.

Scented geraniums will winter over very successfully in pots placed in a sunny area. Keep them on the dry side, watering only when the soil is dry to the touch. Good drainage is extremely important.