Ivy geraniums are perennial plants grown for their profuse blooms and trailing growth habit. These characteristics make them well-suited for elevated garden locations such as hanging baskets and window boxes. When given the appropriate growing conditions, the ivy geranium will light up the garden with colorful blooms from spring through fall.
Ivy geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum) are trailing, vining plants that grow 3 feet or more in length. The plants have succulent, bright green, glossy leaves that are 2 to 3 inches wide and pointy, resembling ivy (Hedera) foliage. Flowers are 1 inch wide and come in single and double forms in round clumps of five to 10 flowers each. Bloom colors vary and include pink, red, lavender and white. Some flower petals are splotched or striped.
A number of ivy geranium varieties exist. L’Elegante has green foliage edged in white. The Summer Showers collection has blooms in mixed colors of white, pink, purple, red and magenta. Well-known varieties often available commercially include Cornell, Salmon Queen, Mexicana, Beauty of Eastbourne, Sybil Holmes, King of Balcon and Amethyst.
Ivy geraniums look their best when spilling from elevated locations such as hanging baskets, window boxes and raised planters. The plants make an effective focal point from on high, such as cascading off the edge of a balcony or growing on an overhead slope.
Ivy geranium light requirements vary according to weather conditions. When temperatures are mild and range from 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, grow it in a full-sun location. In higher temperatures, hang the plant in part shade. Too much light and heat can inhibit flower production and cause underdeveloped foliage.
Keep ivy geranium constantly moist, but not soggy. Inconsistent watering causes oedema, which occurs when a thirsty plant takes up water faster than it can be used. The condition causes blistering on the bottom of mature foliage and can lead to leaf drop.
Feed ivy geraniums every two weeks with a well-balanced, water-soluble flower food.
Outdoor-grown ivy geraniums rarely get pests. Plants grown as houseplants sometimes fall victim to red spider mites, mealybugs and thrips. Wash these pests off with a steady spray of water and treat with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.
All ivy geraniums can be grown from cuttings. To successfully propagate existing plants, use a moist, well-draining medium such as perlite or a combination of half sand, half peat moss. Before you insert the cutting in the rooting medium, strip the stem of all but the top set of leaves. Insert the stem in the rooting medium, covering at least one root node (bump left by the removed leaf where roots will emerge). Some ivy geraniums can also be grown from seed.