Types of Geraniums for Your Garden

Key Takeaways

  • Geranium plants are a type of flowering plant that are known for their bright, colorful blooms and are grown as annuals in most zones, although they are considered evergreen perennials in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11.
  • There are six major types of geraniums: zonal, ivy, scented, regal, interspecific, and hardy. Each has its own unique characteristics and growing requirements.
  • They come in a wide range of colors, including pink, red, orange, white, and purple, and are often characterized by their intricate petal patterns and delicate appearance.
  • Geraniums are a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers because of their ease of care and beautiful blooms. Just follow these basic steps:
    • Watering: They prefer to be kept evenly moist but not waterlogged. Water deeply when the soil begins to feel dry to the touch.
    • Sunlight: These plants generally thrive in full sun to partial shade, depending on the specific type. Double-check the light requirements for your particular variety.
    • Soil: Geraniums prefer well-draining soil that has some organic matter. Adding soil amendments like compost or other organic material to the soil can help improve drainage.
    • Fertilizing: Geraniums benefit from regular fertilization during the growing season – spring through summer.
    • Pruning: Regular pruning can help keep geraniums compact and encourage bushy growth. Pinch back the tips of the stems periodically to promote branching, and deadhead blooms to encourage more flowers.

Geranium plants are one of the favorite houseplants among indoor gardeners.

They are straightforward to grow, colorful plants, and their flowers emit a fascinating scent.

These plants are mainly for decoration purposes. They will bloom throughout the year if you can provide sufficient sunlight.

These houseplants prefer warm temperatures and full sun exposure to grow.

So, summer gardens are the best choices for growing geranium plants. These plants are native to the eastern region of North America.

Scientifically, there are two main types of geraniums: i) plants that belong to the Pelargonium genus and ii) plants that belong to the Geranium genus.

Pelargonium plants are called annual Geraniums, while Geranium plants are called perennial Geraniums and are known as the true Geranium or Hardy Cranesbill because these plants have elongated seed capsules that look like the top of a crane.

However, both of these types belong to the same family—Geraniaceae.

In this article, we will focus on the most popular types of cranesbill or actual geranium plants to grow.

But before we jump into the discussion, you must know a little about the other types of geraniums so that you don’t get confused.

6 Categories of Geranium plants

In general, there are six different types of geraniums, five of them belong to the Pelargonium genus, and one belongs to the Geranium genus.

So, let’s take a look at the varieties of Geranium plants.

Zonal Geraniums


Zonal Geranium is also known as Garden Geranium, and these plants are popular among indoor gardeners.

Interestingly, many people consider this variety to be the Geranium plant.

The beautiful white, peach, salmon or crimson-colored flowers have dark patterns of various colors, like dark green, bronze, or purple.

You can identify garden geraniums by their tall and bell-shaped flowers.

Ivy Geraniums


Ivy Geranium plants have a different appearance from the other varieties, and hence, they are unique.

They don’t have upright flowers. Instead, the flowers have a trailing nature, which shows the beauty of these plants.

The range of different colors, such as bright red, adds beauty to them.

Due to their cascading nature, Ivy Geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum) can be the best houseplants for growing in hanging baskets.

Scented Geraniums


It is a favorite variety among gardeners because of the lovely scent that the plant produces.

You can enjoy the beautiful smell simply by rubbing the leaves, and hence, it is called scented leaf geranium.

The aroma of scented geranium may range between apple, lemon, orange, rose, chocolate, etc.

During the summer months, these plants produce beautiful white or pink-colored flowers.

Regal Geraniums


The Regal Geranium is alternatively called Martha Washington Geranium or Lady Washington Geranium. Like the other annual geraniums, Regals belong to the Pelargonium genus.

These houseplants grow well even in partial shade and cold weather.

Beautiful Regal Geranium flowers show up as long as the weather remains normal (not too cold or hot). The color of the blooms may vary from lavender, burgundy, pink, or white.

Interspecific Geraniums


These Geranium plants are known as Pelargonium hybrids because they are crossed between two different varieties of Pelargonium, especially Zonal and Ivy Geraniums.

This cross generates an entirely new variety, and unlike the other plants, they are pretty hardy and heat-tolerant.

Additionally, the flowers are larger than the others. Angel Geranium plants are the hybrids of Regal and Scented Geraniums and have a great appearance.

Hardy Geranium (True Geranium)


Hardy Geraniums are called True Geraniums, and these are considered hardy because they can tolerate temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Interestingly, these plants have similar colors to the Pelargoniums but aren’t too bright or have variegated leaves.

The flowers have a saucer-like shape. They are comparatively low-growing plants and come up with bright and large blooms.

Cranesbill can get around 2 feet tall, but other geraniums may reach double this height.

Are Pelargoniums the Same as Geraniums?

Technically speaking, geranium and pelargonium are not the same plants. However, they are both Geraniaceae family members.

The fundamental distinction between Pelargonium and Geranium is the flower’s form. Pelargonium plants have two upper petals that are distinct from the three lower petals, whereas Geraniums have five petals of uniform shape.

Their flowers are the primary difference between geranium and pelargonium. In the Pelargonium species, the two upper petals are different from the three lower petals, but in the Geranium species, all five petals are the same.

So, in this article, because both of these flowering plants come from the same family, we will be covering both pelargonium and geranium plants.

Most Common Geranium Plants

If you’re looking for a flower to add some color to your garden, then you might want to consider geranium. Geraniums are one of the most common types of flowers that are used in landscaping and gardening. There are many different types of geraniums, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Here are a few of the most popular types of geraniums:

Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’


Geranium biokovo is a variety of Geranium cantabrigiense. It is a low-growing plant and comes up with large and showy white flowers, which have a pink hue.

The flowers start appearing from late spring to early summer and may rebloom throughout the entire season if the plant receives favorable conditions.

Geranium biokovo may spread up to 3 feet wide but reach less than 1 foot. The beautiful foliage turns red during the winter.

To grow them indoors, you need to make sure that they receive partial to full sun and enough moisture (but not too much).

Additionally, you can feed them during the growing season to encourage their growth.

Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Karmina’


Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Karmina’ is a hybrid Geranium plant. Like most geraniums, it has trailing stems and may form a beautiful carpet of fragrant foliage that may reach more than 2 feet wide.

They can be grown in hanging baskets because of their trailing stems.

The glossy leaves have a light green color, and their long-persisting blooms keep appearing from spring to mid-summer.

The flowers of this plant have a beautiful deep pink or purple touch. Like a few other species, they are drought-tolerant when established in the summer gardens.

Remember that the growing location should receive full sun. Keep the soil moist and feed them with liquid or organic fertilizer in spring.

Geranium carolinianum


Geranium carolinianum is commonly known as Carolina Geranium or Carolina Cranesbill. It is because these species are native to the California region. You may also find them in Central Mexico.

Remember that there are two more varieties of this specimen—Geranium carolinianum var. carolinianum and Geranium carolinianum var. sphaerospermum. In many areas, these species are considered invasive.

The stems of these plants are usually covered in hairs, and the color may range from red to pink.

During the blooming period, these perennial geraniums produce flowers that are quite small and have five petals in light pink, lavender, or whitish.

So, you can easily distinguish these species from the other geranium plants.

Geranium clarkei


Geranium clarkei is also known as Kashmir White Cranesbill as it is native to Kashmir and a few other Indian states. This type of Geranium plant is often cultivated in gardens.

These flowering plants grow up to 1.5 feet in height and have green leaves.

During the summer months, it produces wonderful purple to white flowers with pink veins.

Growing these plants indoors is quite easy. It prefers growing under partial shade.

The growing environment should be warm and humid, and the soil should be well-drained and humusy.

Keep the soil moist, but excess moisture can damage the roots. To encourage flower production and growth, you can feed them with slow-release organic fertilizers.

Geranium endressii


Geranium endressii is also known as French Cranesbill. These hardy geraniums are semi-evergreen plants that are native to Spain and often cultivated for decorative and even commercial purposes.

Like the other species of the genus Geranium, it has a sprawling nature and can spread around 1 to 1.5 feet wide and 1 foot tall.

In late spring to early summer, this plant produces large flowers that have a light purple touch.

The flowers grow well when the grower feeds the plant with slow-release organic fertilizer.

These are cold-hardy plants, so you don’t have to worry about them too much during the winter months.

Geranium johnsonii


Geranium johnsonii is known as Johnson’s blue because of its mesmerizing lavender or blue-colored flowers that appear in the early spring and continue till fall.

It has a long blooming period, and it can be a true bluestone for your container garden.

Many gardeners love growing these geraniums because of their mounding habit, easy-to-grow nature, and flowers.

A mature Geranium johnsonii may grow around 1 foot tall and spread up to 1.5 feet wide.

Like a flowering plant, it prefers humus-rich potting soil, which should have a good drainage system.

Moist the growing medium too often, but make sure that the soil doesn’t get waterlogged.

Fungus gnats can be a real pain if you cannot control the soil moisture.

Geranium macrorrhizum


Geranium macrorrhizum is alternatively known as Bigroot Geranium.

This plant may grow approximately 0.5 to 1 foot tall. Like the other Geranium plants, it has a spreading nature. This specimen will spread using its rhizomes.

Due to its spreading nature, it can be a perfect groundcover. An amazing fact about this plant is its fragrant foliage.

The green leaves and beautiful blooms increase the overall beauty of any indoor garden.

The wonderful leaves become reddish during the winter, and from early spring to late summer, the plant produces purple, pink, or white flowers.

Many gardeners prefer growing these plants because of their easy-to-grow nature.

Geranium maculatum


Geranium maculatum is commonly known as spotted Geranium and is native to the moist woody regions of eastern North America.

These perennial geraniums grow upright and may reach up to 2 feet tall.

It has unbranched stems and produces pale violet or white-colored flowers during the early summer.

These types of Geraniums form clumps like the other plants. They grow best in full to partial sun.

The soil should have an average moisture level, but waterlogged conditions can cause root rot.

The fan-shaped leaves become greener if you feed these geraniums during the spring season.

This wild geranium attracts different pollinators through its flowers.

Geranium phaeum


Geranium phaeum is more popular by its other name, Dusky Cranesbill.

This herbaceous specimen can be found across the western, central, and southern regions of Europe.

This variety is cultivated on the garden bed, and since it has a spreading nature like the others, it can be a great groundcover.

Compared to the other varieties, this plant grows quite fast.

Geranium phaeum has stunningly beautiful green leaves with brown blotches.

During the early to late summer, these geraniums produce deep violet-colored blooms that have purple petals.

To cultivate them indoors, prepare a well-drained potting soil and feed the plants organic fertilizers.

Geranium pratense


Geranium pratense is commonly known as Meadow Geranium. It is also a flowering variety that is native to Asia and Europe.

This plant forms a clump and grows approximately 3.5 feet tall and wide.

Perennial Geraniums have hairy stems and come up with wonderful pale violet-colored blooms.

The bushier shape of these indoor plants makes them an excellent choice for growing in container gardens.

They are cold-hardy because they can tolerate temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remember that many people often become confused with Bloody Cranesbill and Wood Cranesbill because of their similar appearances.

Bloody Cranesbill produces deep purple to magenta-colored flowers, while Wood Geranium plants produce small mauve flowers.

Geranium pratense ‘Double Jewel’


Geranium pratense ‘Double Jewel’ is a variety of Geranium pratense, and it is popular for its white-colored, saucer-shaped, large, double flowers with a purple center. The leaves have a dark green appearance.

This hardy perennial plant may reach around 1.5 feet tall and spread 1 foot wide. We suggest you go for this specimen if you have a container garden.

These plants grow well in the partial shade, but you can keep them in the full sun for a few hours.

We suggest you keep them near the eastern window boxes. Warm temperatures are recommended.

You can also increase the humidity level sometimes, as they enjoy moderate-high humidity.

To keep these plants bushier, you should pinch the tops of their stems.

Geranium pusillum


Geranium pusillum species are the easiest varieties to identify because of their small purple-colored flowers.

Due to their small flowers, they are also known as the Small Cranesbill. It can grow up to 1 foot tall with erect stems.

The flowers start appearing in the spring to summer months.

Each flower has five light purple petals and may grow up to 0.24 inches long.

You can easily grow these plants indoors with other houseplants.

A well-drained potting mix is generally recommended as these geraniums are susceptible to fungal attacks caused by waterlogged conditions.

Geranium rozanne


Geranium rozanne is one of the most wonderful hardy geraniums on this list.

Like most geraniums, this specimen has a spreading nature, which makes it an ideal variety to grow both indoors and outdoors.

When grown outdoors, it can reach up to 2 feet tall and may spread up to 1-1.5 feet wide.

The most amazing part about this variety is its unique flowers. Remember that Geranium rozanne is one of the largest flowering plants.

The flowers have an attractive blue to purple color that starts to appear from the late spring to the summer months.

The combination of crystal blue flowers and green foliage enhances the beauty of any landscape.

Geranium sanguineum


Geranium sanguineum is known by its other name, Bloody Cranesbill.

This one is a hardy flowering variety and is widely distributed across Europe and a few temperate regions of Asia.

From late spring to early summer, this plant blooms with beautiful deep purple to magenta-colored flowers. Hence, they are called Bloody Cranesbill.

While growing indoors, you should provide these geraniums with sufficient sunlight.

Partial shade is also alright, but bright and indirect sunlight is often recommended. They need moist soil to thrive.

Feed these plants with slow-release fertilizers during the spring months.

These perennial geraniums will bloom for a longer period if they receive ideal conditions.

Geranium sylvaticum


Geranium sylvaticum, alternatively known as Woodland Geranium, is a hardy specimen.

These species are native to northern Turkey and a few European countries.

A mature Woodland Geranium may reach around 3 feet tall and spread 2 feet wide. It is a great plant to grow around garden beds or in hanging baskets.

During the summer months, this plant produces light violet-colored flowers.

To grow them indoors, you need to keep them near the east-facing window boxes because they grow best under the full sun.

The potting mixture should be well-drained, and you can mix coarse materials, sand, vermicompost, and other organic fertilizers together.

Pelargonium citrosum


Pelargonium citrosum is also known as citronella geranium or scented geranium.

Although these plants are often sold as a type of Geranium plant, they actually belong to the Pelargonium genus.

So, scientifically, it is called Pelargonium citronella. It is an evergreen and upright plant that has soft green foliage that has a strong citrus scent.

These plants can be found in Canada and the United States. You can find these pelargoniums at the local garden center.

During the summer months, it produces small lavender-colored flowers.

To grow these plants indoors, you need to keep them near the east-facing window boxes so that they can receive the morning sun.

Make sure that the potting soil stays moist but not too dry or waterlogged.

Pelargonium graveolens


These are called Rose Geraniums because of their pink flowers with a deep violet touch at the center.

Pelargonium graveolens species are native to southern Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

They are multi-branched shrub varieties and can grow to be around 4 feet tall and can spread up to 3 feet wide.

The soft leaves of these plants are incised deeply. The flowers come up from early August to mid-January.

The most wonderful part about this plant is its strongly rose-scented leaves, and this scent may vary.

Pelargonium graveolens is also used as herbal medicine because it has many health benefits.

The plant has antioxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties [1].

Pelargonium peltatum


Pelargonium peltatum is a specimen of Ivy Geranium. These scrambling species have heart-shaped and fleshy leaves that are deeply five-lobed.

These Ivy-leaved Geraniums produce symmetrical flowers that have a beautiful white and violet combination.

Like the other geraniums, Ivy geraniums have a cascading nature, which makes them great container plants.

These species are native to the eastern and southern regions of South Africa. It produces flowers mostly from August to mid-October.

A mature Pelargonium peltatum (Ivy Leaf Geranium) grows up to 7 feet tall. These semi-succulent plants grow well under indoor conditions.

We suggest you plant them in hanging baskets as it will beautify your indoor garden.

Also, you should place them near the east-facing window boxes so that they can receive enough morning sun.

Pelargonium domesticum


Pelargonium domesticum species are also called Martha Washington Geraniums and belong to the genus Pelargonium.

They are a hybrid between Pelargonium cucullatum and Pelargonium grandiflorum.

This specimen has a woody stem and grows to around 3 feet tall. The green leaves have a kidney to heart-like shape with irregular teeth.

During the late spring to early summer months, the Martha Washington

Geranium plant produces pale pink to white-colored flowers that have a deep pink touch at the center.

The interesting markings or blotches of purple, lavender, and pink on the flowers make them attractive varieties to grow in the garden.

The upper two petals can be up to 1.5 inches long with these blotches.

Pelargonium ‘Black Knight’


Pelargonium “Black Knight” is a wonderful variety that belongs to the Pelargonium genus. The most wonderful fact about these species is their flowers.

The deep purple-colored flowers grow from mid-April to October. The centers of these flowers have a white touch, which enhances the overall beauty even more.

Pelargonium ‘Black Knight’ is a variety of Pelargonium ‘Angel’ geranium, which is an overwintering indoor plant.

A mature ‘Black Knight’ plant reaches up to 1 foot tall and 1 foot wide.

To grow these annual geraniums indoors, you should choose a bright location that receives full sun.

Don’t water these plants too much, as excess watering can cause root rot.

Fancy Leaf Geranium ‘Frank Headley’

Fancy leaf Geraniums are a type of Zonal Geranium. These plants are often confused with geraniums because of their similar appearance.

Frank Headley varieties are famous for their bright, large flowers and variegated leaves.

The glossy leaves have an amazing fragrance. Due to their cascading nature, these plants can be perfect for container gardens.

This Geranium plant produces pink flowers from mid-spring to autumn. You can either grow them in your garden bed outdoors or in a container.

To grow them, you need to make sure that the plants receive bright light. They are heat tolerant. So, you don’t have to worry about intense sunlight.

Pelargonium cucullatum


Pelargonium cucullatum is commonly known as “Wilde Malva”.

These species of the Pelargonium genus are perennial shrubs that stand upright and have woody stems.

A mature Pelargonium cucullatum plant may reach up to 6 feet tall with underground runners and taproots.

If you rub the leaves, you can enjoy the fascinating fragrance. It is a faster-growing plant compared to many varieties.

Pelargonium cucullatum is popular mainly because of its large, pink-colored flowers that have a stunning scent.

These flowers attract pollinators like bees and birds. For growing these plants indoors, you should choose a sunny location.

Also, feed them during the spring season to boost flower production.

Pelargonium zonale


Pelargonium zonale is another specimen of the Pelargonium genus, which is native to the western area of the Cape and southern Africa.

It is also known as Horseshoe Pelargonium. This one is a parent plant of many hybrid varieties, among which Pelargonium hortorum is the most popular.

These species are upright shrubs and may grow to be around 3 feet tall.

During the younger period, the stems appear like succulents, but they become woody as they age. The leaves have a zigzag pattern and a dark green color.

During the flowering period, it produces beautiful blooms, and the flower colors may vary from light pink to bright red, with red lines across the petal.

Pelargonium ‘Fireworks Salmon’


Pelargonium ‘Fireworks Salmon’ varieties come up with stunningly beautiful flowers. These perennial geraniums are native to South Africa.

It has a spreading nature like most Pelargonium species. It can grow up to 1.5 feet tall and may spread around 2 feet wide. The leaves have a medium green color.

During the summer months, beautiful and large reddish-pink flowers appear.

They have five petals, and the center of the blooms has a reddish color that fades near the tips.

Your garden will get a heavenly look when these plants bloom with too many flowers.

Therefore, we strongly suggest you get these Pelargoniums if you want to add a red-pink touch to your garden.

Pelargonium crispum


Pelargonium crispum is commonly known as lemon-scented geraniums, and this variety is a perfect one for growing in any climatic condition as it is heat tolerant.

These types of geraniums are native to South Africa and the Western Cape Province.

This specimen has been crossed with other species of the Pelargonium genus to create hybrids such as Pelargonium × nervosum and Pelargonium × melissinum.

This shrub-like geranium may grow around 2 to 2.5 feet tall. The small, lemon-scented, and green leaves are arranged in opposite rows along the stem.

From early spring to late summer, white to pink-colored flowers bloom. The tips of the petals are white, which become pink near the center.

Pelargonium ‘Angel’s Perfume’


Pelargonium Angel’s Perfume is another wonderful variety on this list.

Many people may become confused with another Pelargonium variety named Pelargonium ‘Black Knight’.

However, you can easily distinguish them from each other by observing the flower colors.

The Black Knight variety has a deeper purple color at the center, while Angel’s Perfume has a lighter violet-burgundy color at the center.

The most amazing thing about the Angels Perfume Geranium is its scented foliage and pretty flowers. The foliage has a lemon-like fragrance.

That’s why many people often use these for adding lemon-like flavor to soups, salads, jellies, cakes, ice creams, etc.

A mature Angel’s Perfume Geranium may grow and spread up to 1 foot tall.

Pelargonium odoratissimum


Pelargonium odoratissimum is another wonderful variety of the Pelargonium genus.

This specimen can be found widely in South Africa and is alternatively known as Apple Pelargonium or Apple Geranium.

These lovely plants have a distinctive apple-like fragrance, which makes them extremely popular in indoor gardens.

These species are also used for craft, cosmetic, and aromatic preservatives.

Pelargonium odoratissimum can be easily identified by its small white flowers with a pink hue.

A mature Apple Pelargonium plant can grow up to 1 foot tall and spread 2 feet wide.

Pelargonium odoratissimum is often used to create other hybrids, such as Pelargonium odoratissimum ‘Fringed Apple’, Pelargonium × fragrans, etc.

Pelargonium grandiflorum ‘Pinkerbell’

The Pelargonium grandiflorum ‘Pinkerbell’ variety has a stunning appearance. It is one of the most beautiful species that you should try growing in your gardens.

These varieties can be found in South Africa. It is a hybrid specimen of Pelargonium grandiflorum, and all of them are commonly known as “Regal Geraniums.”

These plants are bushy and stand upright, and the leaves are notably serrated.

The soft pink-colored flowers with a white touch are the main attraction of the Pinkerbell variety.

This species produces large flowers that add a beautiful pink touch to any garden.

Even if you don’t like this color, we still advise you to grow this plant in your garden because the blooms will surely surprise you.

Their growing environments should be similar to those of the other types of geraniums.


Is a geranium the same as a pelargonium?

No, geranium and pelargonium are not technically the same plant. However, both are both members of the Geraniaceae family. The primary difference between Pelargonium and Geranium is the shape of their flowers. Pelargonium plants have two upper petals that are different from the three lower petals, while Geraniums have five petals that are all the same shape.

What are the differences between geranium and pelargonium?

The biggest difference between geranium and pelargonium is their flowers. The upper two petals of the Pelargonium species are different from the lower three petals, while all five petals of the Geranium species are the same.

Can I grow geraniums in container gardens?

Yes, you can easily grow geraniums in containers. Geraniums thrive in planters. Geranium flowers look great in a container because of the combination of attractive leaves with enormous clusters of dazzling flowers in various colors.

Do geraniums like the full sun?

Yes, in general geraniums like full sun. However, depending on what type of geranium you have will depend on how much full sun is needed. For instance, the majority of annual geraniums require full sun, with the exception of the ivy geranium, which thrives in partial shade. However, perennial geraniums can thrive in either full sun or partial shade.

Other Flowering Plants to Consider

Geraniums are popular houseplants because of their colorful flowers, and there are a total of six different types of geraniums.

Scientists have introduced two genera to classify geraniums: True Geranium or Cranesbill and Pelargonium.

There are differences between these two genera, and one can easily identify them.

You can easily grow these plants indoors or outdoors. If you can provide them with the ideal environmental conditions, they will keep blooming the entire season.

However, if geraniums are not your favorite type of flower, then there are so many other types of flowering plants you can grow in your garden or landscaping. Read on for other options, such as:


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