TOW Tuberous Pelargonium - Part 2

Thu, 26 Aug 2004 19:09:33 PDT
Dear Mary Sue,

This is wonderful that you have got PBS to hear words about Pelargoniums.
The tuberous kinds (as well as the non-tuberous) are so well worth
cultivating. They are the essence of refined plants. Not gaudy, but
beautiful in form, leaf and bloom.

I was also glad to hear the P. fulgens and P. echinatum have bloomed for
you. I think it is probably best in your case to keep P. fulgens quiet in
summer. I have a plant  in the ground, six feet across, that remains dormant
for months. In pots they are normally dormant also but with light watering I
can induce flowering in summer. However, it is not the mass of bloom that
will show up in winter and spring. I also have a pink variety that Michael
Vassar gave me.

My favorite tuberous one may be P. appendiculatum although it is rather
futile to say which is best. This species becomes a plant a few feet across
with the most gorgeous, soft, downy gray leaves you will ever see (much more
gray than the WIKI specimen). Then it blooms very late in season (in May
here) when most of the others are done.

Of course, P. incrassatum is everyone's favorite. I think you've seen it in
bloom in Namaqualand, haven't you? Today, of the tuberous kinds, I notice P.
nephrophyllum putting out deep pink blooms from bare soil. And like the rest
of the tuberous kinds it is in full shade, unwatered all summer. But, it's a
bit early. (By the way, the first of my Nerines is just about to open its
first flowers - also very early). Well, these are warning signs that I'd
better start paying them some attention now and start bringing them out into
the sun at the end of the month. Those in the ground remain fully dormant. I
think that is because they are being blasted by the sun.

One word of caution - tree rats love the soft foliage of P. echinatum for
their nests. They devastated the best specimen I had last year, just as it
was coming into bloom. Every cloud has a silver lining, but also a dark one!

All the best


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