Trailing geraniums, also referred to as ivy geraniums, bear ornamental leaves that resemble ivy and are a member of the genus Pelargonium. They are available in shades of pink, red, lilac and white. Ivy geraniums are usually planted in hanging baskets and window boxes. Although the trailing geraniums are related to common zonal geraniums, they are not as heat resistant.
Summer Showers and Balcon are two cultivars of trailing geraniums. Summer Showers displays a base-branching habit and it doesn’t need pinching. Balcon is a heavy bloomer, but the flowers are smaller than the common trailing geranium. They trail up to 2 feet long and don’t need deadheading.
Trailing geraniums are also available in scented cultivars. Rogers Delight grows lemon-scented leaves, and flowers consist of large red upper petals and pinkish lower petals. Pungent Peppermint, another scented geranium, has mauve flowers and emits a strong peppermint scent. When you crush the leaves of scented geraniums between your fingers, the oil emits a pleasant fragrance. The leaves and flowers of these plants are often used in potpourris.
If you want to save some money, you can sow trailing geranium seeds or start stem cuttings from an existing geranium instead of buying the plants. Sow the seeds at 70 degrees Fahrenheit in late winter or early spring. You might need to start them indoors to provide this temperature. To start from a stem cutting, cut a length of stem 3 or 4 inches long and let it callus over for 24 hours before planting. Remove the lower leaves, stick the lower end in moistened sand and it will root in seven to 14 days.
Trailing geraniums must have well-drained soil and a pot with drainage holes. To ensure adequate moisture, use a good potting mix with peat moss, pasteurized compost and perlite. Fertilize with a time-released fertilizer or an all-purpose liquid fertilizer when watering the plant. Every few waterings, add a teaspoon of Epson salt, magnesium sulfate. Plant trailing geraniums in full sun, but if summer temperatures get above 90 degrees in your region, the plant will need afternoon shade. Before outdoor temperatures drop below 45 degrees, bring these perennial geraniums indoors and place in a window that has a southern exposure and receives at least four hours of sunshine a day.