Tuberous Pelargonium

David Victor
Tue, 31 Aug 2004 11:00:36 PDT
Hi Mary Sue,

>Yesterday I scanned some slides of some geophytic Pelargoniums we saw on
>our first trip to South Africa in 2001 and added them to the wiki. The
>first was Pelargonium echinatum. We saw this one while hiking with Rod and
>Rachel Saunders in the Gifberg. The flowers were magenta (so a contrast
>from the one I am growing from Andrew Wilson) and they were growing through
>other vegetation and Rod and Rachel were very excited to see it since it
>was an especially striking color. I noticed on Robin Parer's internet site
>that she sells a lot of different forms of this species.

Many South African plants show wide variations of flower colour.  This is 
very true of a number of species of Pelargonium, such as P. echinatum, as 
well as, for example, Oxalis spp.

>I also added a picture of P. incrassatum seen in Namaqualand. My plants
>like the ones in David's picture are often stretching and leaning for more
>light whereas the one we saw in the wild where it most certainly has much
>more light was shorter and straighter.

I'm sure you are right about reaching for the light.  The quality of light 
in this country is very poor compared to South Africa and this is 
emphasised by the fact that I am growing them under glass.

>I also added a picture of very dark flowers of P. lobatum. At least that
>was what was written on my slide and I didn't take a picture of the leaves
>to confirm so David please let me know if you think I identified this
>correctly if you can do that just from the flowers. We saw this one on the
>West Coast, if that helps, in a sandy habitat not far from the ocean.

I'll have a look when I have a minute.

>On both of our trips we saw P. triste in many different areas of the Cape,

I find that its particularly difficult to catch the beautiful texture of 
the foliage, which is exquisite.

Hi Jim,

         I admit to scanning a lot of the comments on this subject not
seeing anything specifically on hardiness. Some of the comments from
cold climate gardeners suggested these are all pot grown, not
outdoors in the ground.
The only comment that I would make on hardiness is that they will grow 
quite happily with a the occasional freeze i.e. a few hours in a day.  I 
don't believe that you could grow them outside in zone 6 and hope to see 
them again.
         I have Geranium tuberosum and lineare (?) and a selection
from Ruksans. They do well in a variety of sites.
I think that you will be growing G. linearilobum de Candolle, which comes 
in two subspecies, linearilobum and transversale.  The latter is the one 
most frequently in cultivation.  Alternatively, it could be G. tuberosum 
subsp. linearifolium.  I have more data if it would help.

Best regards,
David Victor 

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