Scented Geranium

by Jennifer Gregory

What do apples, apricots, strawberries and citronella have in common, aside from being the worst edible arrangement basket ever? These are all but a sample of the assortment of fragrances that scented geraniums can produce. The name of this perennial is a slight misnomer as it is not truly a geranium, but rather a member of the Pelargonium family. The common name is storksbill. A native of south Africa, it performs exceptionally well in our climate. Scented geraniums tolerate dry soil, drought, heat and poor soil. They are not frost hardy, and need to be protected or winter indoors with bright light. The varieties come in an assortment of heights, growing anywhere from Gooseberry at 1 feet tall to the 3 foot tall Rose scented geranium. This tender perennial requires early fall trimming to prevent legginess. The plants all produce five petaled flowers, but the foliage is the primary reason for cultivation. The fragrant oils are secreted when the plants are brushed against, can be used in soaps, scent sachets, salts, preserves, sugars, and candies.

Plant Profile:

Full sun to Partial Shade
Dry soil with minimal watering
Sporadic Flowering
6″ to 3 feet tall based on variety
Evergreen, requires pruning to prevent legginess Heat hardy, but not frost or cold.
Tender Perennial