Ivy geranium (Pelargonium peltatum), is an easy-to-grow annual bloomer available in a range of sizes and bright colors, including pink, bright scarlet and lavender. The attractive foliage is bright green, or variegated green and white. Because of its trailing growth habit, ivy geranium is most often planted in hanging baskets or window boxes where the ivylike foliage has space to cascade freely.
Ivy geranium blooms aren’t as large and dense as regular zonal geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum), and the shape of the petals tends to be slightly narrower. The profusion of blooms compensates for the lack of flower size. According to Linda Naeve at Iowa State University, ivy geraniums are available in more than 75 varieties that differ in shape, color and growth habits. Length of the vines range from 2 to 4 feet at maturity.
Ivy geraniums thrive in relatively cool temperatures, unlike zonal geraniums, which tolerate high temperatures and bright sunlight. Ivy geraniums grow best when summer temperatures are under 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Direct sunlight is acceptable in cooler climates, but ivy geranium benefits from afternoon shade when summer temperatures exceed 80 F.
Planting Ivy Geraniums
Plant ivy geranium in a hanging basket or container filled with a fresh, good quality potting mixture. The type of container isn’t important, but the container must have a drainage hole in the bottom to prevent ivy geranium from rotting in soggy potting mixture. When used as a ground cover, ivy geranium is planted in a protected, semishady location in moist but well-drained soil.
Water ivy geraniums regularly. Keep the potting mixture or soil evenly moist, as uneven moisture levels stress the plant. The soil should be allowed to dry slightly between each watering, but should never be bone dry or excessively wet. Feed ivy geraniums every other week, using a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer for blooming plants. Apply the fertilizer according to instructions provided on the package label. Most types of ivy geranium are self-cleaning and don’t require deadheading. If wilted blooms remain on the plant, the blooms should be pinched off, or deadheaded, to keep the plant neat and to promote development of more blooms.
Ivy geranium is nipped by frost, but the plant can be moved indoors before cold weather arrives in late autumn. Place ivy geranium in a sunny window and continue to keep the potting mixture lightly moist, allowing the potting mixture to dry slightly between each watering. Withhold fertilizer during the winter months. Move the ivy geranium outdoors when the weather warms in spring and there is no danger of frost.