A wide spectrum of colors are created by the two groups of geraniums (belonging to the family geraniaceae). The genus pelargonium — known as the garden geranium — is the popular annual frequently seen in summer containers. The genus geranium — called true geranium, hardy geranium or cranesbill — is the perennial used in borders, rock gardens and as ground cover. Pelargonium flowers come in every color except blue and yellow. Geraniums are violet, blue, pink, white and magenta.
The vibrant reds and pinks of the common garden geranium.
Zonal, or common garden, geraniums and ivy-leaf, or trailing, geraniums are two types of pelargoniums with similar colors: vibrant shades of red, white, lavender and pink. Many zonal geraniums have distinct dark-purple patterns, or zones, in their leaves and are the geraniums most commonly found in hanging baskets, containers and borders. Ivy-leaf pelargoniums have trailing, ornamental leaves and resemble ivy.
The pinkish-purple of regal pelargoniums.
Regal, or Martha Washington, geraniums have the richest blooms. Blossoming in shades of red, pinkish-purple and white, they usually contain darker splotches and veins. Sometimes associated with azalea-like blooms, they are looser in clusters and flower on long stalks, with a longer blooming period. Less heat-tolerant than other geraniums, they are often used as indoor plants.
Some scented pelargoniums are a lilac-pink.
Scented pelargoniums have delicate flowers in white, pink or lavender. Grown for their scent, they include numerous varieties. Lemon geranium, with lilac-pink flowers and curly leaves, has a lemon scent. Apple geranium, with white flowers, has a sweet apple scent. Scented geraniums often have gray-green leaves and a soft texture.
True geraniums have darker, often veined, leaves.
A strong trend in perennial plants today are true geraniums, notes Dr. Leonard Perry, professor and nursery specialist at the University of Vermont. Their striking feature is their leaf color, which is never the standard green of most leaves. For example, the leaves of Elizabeth Ann, the newest true geranium, have yellow veins lining a dark green. Their blooms are lavender-pink. Ann Folkard, an increasingly available true geranium, has deep-magenta flowers with black centers.