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THE GENUS PELARGONIUM
Pelargoniumshas 200 or more  species  and
exhibit a remarkable diversity in steam and root structure. Many are xerophytic (drought-resistant
with woody perennial stems and deciduos leaves, that are shed during periods of drought. Approximately 185 are
concentrated in the in the winter rainfall area of the south to southwestern portion of the African continent. Another 18 species
are found in the rest of Africa. Some species are true succulents with water- storage tissues in the steams, a few species
even appear to have succulent leaves, some are underground geophytes.
Pelargonium are very atractive and one of the toughest and most durable succulents.
In cultivation these plants presents few problems, and the majority are surprisingly adaptable to a mild climate. It is good choice to put on your shopping list.
They will show you when they wants water by producing a crop of new leaves, almost all species are winter growers. In our hemisphere they grow aprox. between september to end april. After the summer we can wait until the plant begins to grow, but we can also give them lights spryings or shower to stimulate their growth, when they are in full leaves they like water, but as always keep the soil dry out between waterings. Overwatering can cause unnatural growth.
Like Othonnas, most Pelargoniums tend to thrive in cooler temperatures than most other succulents and havevery similar growing requirements. When temperatures warm up in the spring and summer, reduce watering and allow the plants a resting period. They need to be grown in well-drained slightly acidic soil in an open sunny location.
Pollination pis by insects. Seeds are wind- dispersed. The seeds have a drilling action
caused by the hygroscopic spirally twisted awn, when wet the awn unwinds and pushes the seed by a drilling action
into the soil. Pelargoniums like many other succulents have their own defense, mechanical and chemical. The Geraniaceae are aromatic, which
makes them unattractive to most predators. The leaf petioles of some pelargonium are modified to spines. The inflorescence of P.crithmifolium
is persistent and thorny.
Growing pelargonium can be accomplished either by cuttings or seed. If one wishes to propagate by cuttings, it is advisable to harvest material in early autumn when the plant is starting to produce its first set of leaves of the season. It is at this stage thatthe plant is at its most productive. Once the cutting is taken, allow it to dry out for two weeks. The cutting should be 100 - 150 mm in length. Ensure the cutting is healthy and has plenty of new growth on it. They should be allowed to dry and heal thoroughly before being placed in arooting medium. One can use low intermittent misters. A misting four times a day in April should suffice. Ensure thearea where the cuttings are placed to root, is well ventilated and there is enough natural light ( approx. 50% ) . The cuttings should, under the right conditions, root within two to three months.