Ivy-leaf geraniums have an entirely different character than their zonal geranium cousins. Long, trailing stems make them ideal for containers of all kinds. Their flowers are generally less strident and more toned to the pastel range of their hues. Older varieties are somewhat intolerant of long periods of heat and humidity, but newer varieties are more heat-resistant. The common name springs from the shape of the leaves.
Description of ivy-leaf geranium: Two distinct groups of ivy-leaf geraniums are available to home gardeners. All of them have the cascading form of ivy geraniums, but a group of single-flowered varieties from Europe are proving more floriferous and heat-tolerant. Semi-double flowered varieties have less bloom, but still make real impact all summer. Many varieties are available -- from miniatures with a spread of only 12 inches through vigorous ones that can grow to 5 feet tall.
More About Ivy-Leaf Geraniums
Growing ivy-leaf geranium: Ivy-leaf geraniums grow best in cool, coastal, or mountain climates with lots of sun. In other locations they may need partial shade. Ivy-leaf geraniums in containers relish full sun if temperatures are not above 85 degrees Fahrenheit for long stretches. Where this occurs, give them northern or eastern exposure where they can be protected from hot midday and afternoon sun. Do not let them dry out. Plant ivy-leaf geraniums outside after danger of frost has passed and the soil is warm.
Propagating ivy-leaf geranium: By cuttings or by seed (only one variety so far is seed-grown). Take cuttings from stock plants 10 to 12 weeks prior to planting outside. Pinch tips once or twice to encourage branching.
Uses for ivy-leaf geranium: Ivy-leaf geraniums are excellent container plants. They develop into shapely hanging baskets clothed with foliage and flowers. As window box plants, they excel and are ideal in patio planters. The single-flowered varieties are also good plants to use as sunny ground covers.
Ivy-leaf geranium related varieties: Among the heavy flowering, single-flowered varieties (so-called European types), the Cascade series is representative. Sofie Cascade is a light pink with darker shading toward petal centers. Bright Cascade is a glowing red. Lila Compact Cascade is lavender. Good semi-doubles include Yale, rich crimson; Galilee, a very vigorous hot pink; Salmon Queen; Snow Queen; and Beauty of Eastbourne, cherry red. The seed-grown variety is Summer Showers and includes red, white, pink, lavender, and plum-colored varieties.
Scientific name of ivy-leaf geranium: Pelargonium peltatum