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Geraniums, Pelargonium

Pelargonium Domesticum

Named after a stork, due to its seeds looking like a stork's head, this plant bears beautiful blooms borne on the long shoots. Flowers come in pink, red, mauve and white. The leaves don't disappoint either with varieties marked with bold streaks in inky black or bright lemon yellow around the edges.

Plant Care

Light

Full sun, bright light best described by South, South East or South West facing window is tolerated.

Watering

In spring allow soil to dry out between each watering. Reduce the amount of water during winter by half.

Humidity and temperature

Do not spray the foliage as the plant prefers dry environment. Do not allow temperature to drop below 10°C (50°F).

Feeding and repotting

Feed from March - September with a liquid fertiliser every two weeks.

SOS

Quick guide to common problems and how to deal with them.

The leaves are yellowed and shrivelled. Underside of the leaves is covered in small white flies.

This is a sign of the whitefly infestation. You may also spot white scale like nymphs. Both stages of the insect feed on the plant and produce a sticky 'honeydew'. Isolate the infected plant from the others and check the infestation has not spread. Trim off leaves that are heavily occupied and dispose of them properly. Do not add these trimmings to your compost. Syringe undersides of the remaining leaves with water to wash off whiteflies and their ’honeydew’.

Vacuum whiteflies in the early morning when the insects are cold and slow moving. This removes adults before they have a chance to lay more eggs. After vacuuming, empty the vacuum bag into a sealed plastic bag and remove from the property.

To reduce the risk of infestation, check the leaves in early spring. Sticky sheets can be hung to trap the white fly as a preventative in early spring. Ensure the isolated plant has good ventilation. Avoid excessive pruning as this stimulates new growth that attracts whitefly.

Black, water-soaked stems at the base of the plant.

Blackleg is caused by a fungus called Pythium. The fungi are borne in the soil or the original seed. It can also be spread by rain and wind. The best conditions for the spread of the fungus are cool temperatures, moisture and poor ventilation.

Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment for this problem. It is best to remove the plant and its soil, avoid adding it to your compost, and wash the plant pot thoroughly before re-using it.

Elliptical water-soaked spots on the leaves.

Otherwise known as Pseudomonas Leaf Spot is caused by a soil bacterium. When watering the plant in the traditional manner, from above, it is important to keep the leaves as dry as possible. At your earliest opportunity repot the plant into fresh medium.

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