Thursday, July 1, 2010

the scented geranium

The scent of geranium is still on my hands as I type this - a bright and invigorating symphony from the various scent geraniums I was just handling.

I have always loved the smell of my standard geraniums; the ones I'm sure we're all familiar with from the flats at the nursery, but I recently started collecting heirloom scent geraniums and I've fallen in love. These plants have been collected by gardeners for centuries, and the hunt to find new varieties is part of the fun.

The fragrances include rose, peppermint, pineapple, nutmeg, and lime. They all have a base of something decidedly "geranium" - never too sweet or perfumey.

The scent geraniums will not produce the big blossom balls that you may be familiar with, they have very delicate, demure blossoms. These plants are also known as "crane's bill geraniums" because of the shape of the seed pod. The scent is found in the oils all over the plant.

Right now my small collection includes:

A couple Pelargonium Graveolens - large green leaves with a lemon/rose fragrance and small lavender flowers.

Robert's Lemon - irregular, green, lobed leaves with strong lemon/rose fragrance. Pale pink flowers on long stems.

Snowy Nutmeg - nutmeg fragrance. Leaves are round and frosty colored. Small white flowers.

I have my city dwelling/plant lover friends in mind as I post this. I think the scent geranium is a wonderful potted plant to collect and enjoy that won't take up too much space.


  1. I love scented geraniums. I just revived a very leggy citronella-scented one. It looks great, and I've also successfully taken cuttings from it!

  2. Wonderful!
    I’m going to take some cuttings…maybe we could trade in the future??

  3. I love scented geraniums. When I lived in Tempe, AZ, I had a huge collection -- 22 different varieties at one point. If you can, find one of the tomentosum varieties -- huge leaves that are soft and fuzzy to touch and the most amazing fragrances like pure, pure peppermint and chocolate mint that will take your breath away. They are delicate and need to grow inside, but are completely worth the effort. I liked to tuck some leaves into fine caster sugar for a long time. The sugar took in the fragrance. Wonderful stuff.

  4. Sunny - What an excellent idea! I'll try that out.

    I'm excited about growing my may take me a little while to get to 22 varieties though : )



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