A popular and colorful hanging basket for a sunny location is the ivy leaf geranium. Many of the newer and improved hybrid ivy leaf geraniums will tolerate dry and hot conditions. These hanging baskets will be full of color right up to the first frost as long as you follow these simple suggestions.
LOCATION Ivy geraniums thrive best in areas of full sun. They can flower well if given a half day of sun, but shady areas should be avoided. Protect from any chilly springtime winds and temperatures below 40 degrees. Never keep a basket indoors for any long periods of time, since the leaves will start to turn yellow.
FERTILIZING AND WATERING Ivy geraniums do better under slightly dry conditions. Allow the basket to become slightly dry before watering again. Avoid watering in the afternoon, since wet foliage encourages disease. Ivy-leaf geraniums are heavy feeders,
so feed about every ten days with a recommended liquid fertilizer, such as Rapid Grow or Peters. Occasionally an iron deficiency shows up. This problem effects the newer growth; the veins in the leaves remain green while the margins of the leaves turn a light
green to white. Adding an iron supplement takes care of the problem. Exposing ivy geraniums to very high temperatures will sometimes 'bleach' the new growth as well. As soon as the plants are returned to a cooler location, this problem disappears.
INSECTS AND DISEASES Few insects bother ivy leaf geraniums. The worst insect is mealy bug which lay cotton like masses of eggs in the leaf axils. Red spider mite could be a problem in hot dry weather. They dislike humidity so an occasional hosing of the
foliage will discourage them. Any recommended insecticide will control pests like mealy bugs. During cool and damp conditions, botrytis or gray mold will cause the leaves to yellow and rot. Clean off any old flowers and leaves. Odema which is a blistering of the foliage is caused by watering too late in the day, and keeping the basket too wet.
Ivy geraniums may be brought indoors during the winter, but they bloom rather sporadically. The baskets can be trimmed back next spring and placed outdoors when the danger of frost has passed.
Source: Al Krismer Plant Farm - www.krismers.com
Wikipedia: Erodium is a genus of flowering plants in the botanical family Geraniaceae. The genus includes about 60 species, native to North Africa, Indomalaya, The Middle East, and Australia. They are perennials, annuals, or subshrubs, with five-petalled flowers in shades of white, pink, and purple, that strongly resemble the better-known Geranium (cranesbill). American species are known as filarees or heron's bill, whereas Eurasian ones are usually called storksbills in English.
Erodiums are the Cinderellas of the geranium family: beautiful, worthy, and neglected, although usually easy to propagate and cultivate. Erodium reichardii(syn. E. chamaedryoides) is widely available from retail nurseries in the West for use as a ground cover; small collections of a few species or hybrids of unusual erodiums are sometimes found in collectors’ rock gardens. However, there are many excellent plants that are generally unavailable, neglected, or ignored. Although their cold hardiness can be a problem in the central and eastern parts of the United States, erodiums will grow successfully in most of the West Coast states. Many erodium grow naturally in calcareous soils, and respond well to the addition of dolomite, oyster grit, or even concrete chips to potting soils that are neutral to somewhat acidic. As with many other genera, only a few members of the genus Erodium have silver leaves.
Robin Parer/Pacific Horticulture
Posts are made by Brenda Archer or Sharon Pearce - both are past Presidents of the San Diego Geranium Society!