Pelargonium Collection

Geraniums and Pelargonium have been part of the Geelong Botanic Gardens plant collection for many years. They have been grown as general garden plants in borders and shrub beds.

The Florence E Clarke Geranium Conservatory was built in 1972 to display the collection.

Pelargonium outdoor display

The Pelargonium House displays the diversity of cultivars. There are over 200 different varieties or cultivars on display.

In 2013 the collection was refocused to display unusual plant species from the Geraniaceae family. Garden beds surrounding the house have been re-designed. The landscape represents the rocky, undulating terrain of South Africa where most of these plants originate.

Pelargonium outdoor display

The collection now aims to conserve a species reference collection for the Geraniaceae family focusing on five distinct Genera. Geranium, Pelargonium, Sarcocaulon, Monsonia and Erodium.

The geranium family

The geranium family was first recorded in 1576 in southern Europe. Hybrid plants began appearing within the first 50 years of discovery. The popularity of these plants continues today.

Sir Joseph Banks on his 1770 voyage with Captain Cook discovered the first Pelargonium in Australia at Botany Bay. He named it Pelargonium australe. Since its discovery many other species of Pelargonium and Geranium have been found in Australia.

Plants related to the Geraniaceae family can be found growing naturally through north Africa, Europe, the middle east, the Himalayas and various islands scattered through the Atlantic ocean. However the vast majority of these plants can be found growing in South Africa.

The Geranium family consists of five distinct Genera. Geranium, Pelargonium, Sarcocaulon, Monsonia and Erodium. All of theses genera are held with in the GBG collection.

The cultivars can be separated into four main groups:

1. Regal Pelargonium

Regals have a very impressive floral display. The flowers are large and richly coloured ranging from pale pinks, reds to darkest purple. They prefer a cooler, wetter climate to other Pelargoniums and flower from September to January.

Example of a Regal Pelargonium cultivar in flower

2. Zonal

Zonal Pelargoniums are often called 'geraniums' and have medium round shaped flowers that bloom through out the year. The colours range from white, to pinks and vivid reds. They are the red geraniums that are often seen in window box planters. Some are also grown for their ornamental foliage.

Example of a Zonal Pelargonium cultivar in flower

3. Ivy Leafed

Pelargoniums are generally climbing plants that have distinctive ivy like leaves. The flowers range in colour from whites to pinks, reds and purples.

The Ivy Leafed Pelargonium in flower

4. Scented

Pelargonium are grown for their scented foliage. Scents include lemon, peppermint, and cinnamon. The leaves can be used as herbs to flavour teas and come in a range of sizes and colours. The flowers are insignificant and range from whites, pinks and purples. These plants will tolerate dry periods better then any other cultivar.

Scented Pelargonium

Need to know more...

Please contact us for more information or you may wish to contact the Geelong Pelargonium Club.

Page last updated: Friday, 14 September 2018