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Thursday, 21 May 2009

The Power Flower

Love them or hate them, bedding geraniums have to come top of my list for their sheer staying power. But even with geraniums, it pays to be a little bit discriminating if you are after maximum performance for the minimum effort.

For ultra low maintenance, my advice is to stick to the zonal types, the ones with banded markings on the leaves. Named varieties are the safest bet as they tend to form compact, bushy plants. The ones sold simply as geraniums often grow rather leggy and uneven, not what you want for a container display. They are also less prone to geranium rust, a common fungal disease that disfigures the leaves late in season.

Don’t worry too much about actual name: ‘Aprika’, ‘Ringo’, there are hundreds to choose from but they are nearly all good, so go for the colour that takes your fancy. Think twice about white though because the flowers turn brown as they fade and they need constant deadheading to keep them looking good. In a wet summer, double flowers often collect the rain and the blooms can start to rot during prolonged grey spells.

Written By Alistair Ayres

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