TOW Tuberous Pelargonium -- old information from M. Vassar

Mary Sue Ittner
Mon, 30 Aug 2004 07:51:03 PDT
Dear All,

I found this from Michael Vassar when we discussed this while I was doing 
the topic of the week on the IBS list for those in cold areas wondering 
about summer growing Pelargoniums:
"Some summer growing species in section Polyactium are:

P.  schizopetalum. Large rosettes of coarsely lobed leaves. The flowers are 
rather straw-colored and have red fimbriated petal edges. Reputed to have a 
bad scent, I don't find the scent bad at all.

P.  bowkeri. Finely divided leaves in fairly tight rosettes. Light yellow 
flowers with pinkish fimbriated petal edges.

P.  luridum. A very variable species, with leaves entire to leaves so 
deeply divided that the leaves consist only of the ribs. Flowers are on 
tall stems (plants are usually found growing in tall grasses) and flowers 
vary from pure white through shades of pink to light yellow.
Very easy to grow and maintain."

And from another note:
"Summer growing Pelargonium species are relatively tolerant of moisture 
when dormant in winter if the planting mix drains well, but are best if dry 
or nearly dry when dormant."

Also on propagating Pelargoniums:

"Pelargonium species are easy to propagate. Almost any piece of root or 
stem will root and form a new plant. Adventitious buds and then growth 
shoots will develop on any callus tissue forming at the TOP of a piece of 
root. I take the side tubers off large tubers, plant them up like cuttings 
with the tops 6mm above the soil. I find that light induces callus and 
shoot formation. Keep the planting mix just slightly moist until growth begins.

Seeds, when obtainable, are usually easy. Remove the seeds from the papery 
husk which has the "feather". Either scratch a small hole in the end of the 
seed or cut off a very small piece of one end of the seed. Called 
scarification, this allows water the quickly enter the seeds. Non-scarified 
seeds can be remarkably slow to germinate. (An experiment in England showed 
germination even after 10 years on non-scarified seeds.) I have planted 
seeds up to 14 years old and had 90% germination. I plant winter growing 
species seeds in September after the hottest part of the summer and as the 
night temperature is beginning to cool down. Summer growing seeds should be 
scarified and planted in Spring."

Mary Sue

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