Ivy Geranium (Pelargonium peltatum) Indoor Care, Propagation and Common Problems


Ivy Geranium, Ivy-leaved Pelargonium, Pelargonium peltatum

Botanical name: Pelargonium peltatum
Family: Geraniaceae
Common names: Ivy Geranium, Ivy-leaved Pelargonium, Cascading Geranium, Trailing Geranium

Description

Ivy Geranium (Pelargonium peltatum) is a perennial, scrambling plant with five shallowly or deeply lobed, circular to heart-shaped, glossy leaves and large, umbel-like inflorescences atop a long stalk.

The trailing stems and large flowers in Cascading Geranium are spectacular in a hanging basket, on a pedestal or a trellis.

Ivy-leaved Pelargoniums are tender perennial plants which will not tolerate cold. They are not cold hardy, therefore, they are best grown as indoor plants in the cold temperate climates.

In climates with harsh winters, Ivy-leaved Pelargonium can be grown outdoors as container plants during spring and summer which are brought inside when the temperatures drop to about 100C in fall.

Size

Ivy Geranium is a trailing plant which can grow upto 10 ft long when grown indoors.

Flowers

Trailing Geranium bears clusters of flowers which may be white, pink, lavender, purple, orange, salmon, red, burgundy, bicolored or patterned and appear in spring through fall. They occur in single, semidouble or double blooms.

Origin

Pelargonium peltatum is native to Southern and Eastern South Africa.

Toxicity

Ivy Geraniums are toxic to humans and pets as outlined by ASPCA. Keep the plants away from the reach of kids and pets.

Varieties

There are many hybrids and cultivars of Ivy Geranium which include;

'Galilee' with variegated leaves and rose-pink flowers,

'White Mesh' which bears green leaves with bright white veins,

'L'Elegante' with leaves edged in creamy white and a tinge of pink,

'Crocodile' has unique foliage with white veins,

'Rouletta' with red-and-white blooms,

'Mahogany' with bicolor red and white flowers,

'Mauve Beauty' with double flowers that look-like small rose blossoms.

Where to Buy

If you would like to acquire these spectacular plants, they are readily available online at Etsy. Buy Ivy Geraniums online at Etsy.

Ivy Geranium, Ivy-leaved Pelargonium, Pelargonium peltatum

Ivy Geranium Care Indoors

Ivy Geranium (Pelargonium peltatum) blooms in bright light to full sun, moderately warm and humid conditions, and moderately moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with fortnightly feeding during the growing season.

Ivy-leaved Pelargonium requires regular trimming of the branches to encourage branching and control growth. Repotting is only needed when the plant becomes potbound. Keep reading for more details on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Ivy Geranium grows best in bright light to full sun to promote flowering. A spot infront of a brightly-lit window with some 6-8 hours of morning or late afternoon sunlight is ideal for this plant.

Regularly turn the pot to ensure the Trailing Geranium receives adequate light on all sides to promote even growth and prevent the plant from getting leggy.

Ivy Geranium can also be grown under a grow light where the natural light is not adequate.

You can move the Cascading Geranium outdoors in summer for some sun but acclimate it gradually to prevent scorching. Ensure to bring it back inside in fall when temperatures begin to drop, it can tolerate a temperature of 100C.

Watering

Water Ivy Geranium thoroughly during the growing season when the top 1-2 in. of soil dry out and keep the soil consistently moist through out.

Decrease watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and maintain the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Make Sure that the pot has a drainage hole and drain excess water from the catch plate or saucer to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of the plant.

Temperature and Humidity

Ivy Geranium prefers cool to average warmth within the range of 13-240C. Keep it away from cold and hot drafts like windy doors, drafty windows, air conditioning units, hot air vents and others to prevent sudden changes in temperature which may lead to leaf drop and reduced growth.

Ivy Geranium requires average humidity of about 50-55% to thrive. Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to increase humidity for the plant where the air is too dry.

Regularly clean the leaves with a damp soft cloth to get rid of dust as well as discourage pest infestations. Ensure that there is good air circulation to prevent fungal infestations.

Fertilizer

Feed Ivy Geranium every 2 weeks during the growing season with a phosphorus-rich, water-soluble fertilizer to boost blooming and healthy growth of the plant.

Do not feed during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and feeding the plant at this time can lead to fertilizer burn and death of the plant.

Potting Soil

The best soil for Ivy Geranium should be rich in organic matter to provide the required nutrients and at a neutral to alkaline PH for the optimum growth of the plant.

Well-drained soil like this Organic Potting Mix is recommended for Ivy-leaved Pelargonium to avoid getting soggy soil which can lead to root-rot and death of the plant.

Repotting

Repot Ivy Geranium at the beginning of spring only when it becomes extremely pot-bound as it blooms best when slightly pot-bound. Do not repot a plant that is in flower as it can shorten the flowering period.

Repot the Ivy-leaved Pelargonium into a pot 1 size larger than the current one that has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy to prevent root-rot and eventual death of the plant.

Slip the plant out of its pot, shake off the old potting mix and trim the dead roots with clean and sterilized scissors. Place the plant in the center of the new pot and refill with fresh, free-draining potting mix.

Wet the soil thoroughly until water comes out through the drainage hole, empty the saucer and place the plant infront of a brightly-lit window with some 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.

Pruning

Pruning Ivy Geranium involves removal of dead leaves and flowers to keep the plant neat and discourage pests and diseases. Pinch off the growing tips to encourage compact growth and prevent the plant from getting unruly. To control growth and size and encourage a more compact growth, cutback the stems after flowering. This will also promote blooming.

Ivy Geranium Care Outdoors

Ivy Geraniums are tropical plants which require warm and humid conditions to thrive. They are not cold hardy, therefore, they are best grown as houseplants in the temperate climates.

Nonetheless, in climates with harsh winters, Ivy-leaved Pelargonium can be grown outdoors as container plants during spring and summer which are brought inside when the temperatures drop to about 100C in fall.

Trim the plant by 1/3 and place it in a cool place where it can receive bright light and reduce watering to keep the soil slightly moist but do not let it dry out completely.

Do not feed it at this time as growth is reduced. Ensure that there is good air circulation to prevent fungal infestations.

Once the temperatures warm up to 130C in spring, move the plant outdoors under bright sunlight but shield it from hot direct sunlight to prevent scorching.

Ensure that the soil remains consistently moist but not soggy by watering when the top 1-2 in. of soil feels dry and feed the plant every 2-3 weeks with a phosphorus-rich fertilizer to boost blooming.

Propagation

Ivy Geranium (Pelargonium peltatum) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season (spring) from stem cuttings.

How to propagate Ivy Geranium from stem cuttings

Take a 4-5 soft stem cuttings from a healthy Ivy Geranium. Strip off the lower leaves and dip the lower cut end in rooting powder to hasten rooting.

Insert the lower cut end in moist, free-draining rooting mix while taking care not to brush off the rooting powder and firm the soil around the base of the cutting.

Place the set up in a warm, brightly-lit spot away from direct sunlight to avoid cooking the cuttings.

Maintain the soil moist through out until the new plants are well established. Allow the new plants to be well established before transplanting after which you can begin routine care.

How to grow Ivy Geranium from seeds

Spread Ivy Geranium seeds evenly on moist free-draining soil and cover lightly with some soil. Cover the set up with a plastic sheet to create a greenhouse effect.

Place the set up in a warm, brightly-lit place and maintain the soil moist through out by light misting the soil surface until the seedlings are well established.

When the seedlings have true leaves formed and are a reasonable size, transplant them into individual pots.

Position the pots in a cool, well-lit spot and maintain the soil moist until the new plants are well established after which you can begin normal routine care.

Ivy Geranium, Ivy-leaved Pelargonium, Pelargonium peltatum

Ivy Geranium Common Problems

Ivy Geranium (Pelargonium peltatum) common growing problems include yellow leaves, leaf drop, leggy growth, lack of blooms, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Yellow leaves

One possible cause of yellow leaves in Ivy-leaved Pelargonium is underwatering. Maintain the soil consistently moist during the growing season. Reduce watering in the cold season as growth is reduced at this time but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

The second cause of yellow leaves in Trailing Geranium is soggy soil brought about by poor soil drainage. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil is free-draining. Always empty the saucer after watering and never allow the plant to sit in soggy soil.

The third cause of yellow leaves in Cascading Geranium is too little light. The plant requires bright light with some direct sunlight but away from hot direct sunlight.

Move the Ivy-leaved Pelargonium to a place where it will receive bright light with some 6-8 hours of morning or late afternoon direct sunlight. Alternatively, grow the plant under a grow light if the natural lighting is too low.

Pests

The common pests in Ivy Geranium are mealybugs, thrips, fungus gnats and spidermites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the rest of the houseplants and treat it with appropriate products like Neem oil or Insecticidal soap.

Lack of blooms

Lack of blooms in Ivy Geranium may be due to three possible causes. One possible cause of lack of blooms is lack of essential soil nutrients. To encourage blooming, fertilize the plant with a phosphorus-rich, water-soluble fertilizer every 2 weeks during the growing season.

The second possible cause of lack of blooms in Ivy-leaved Pelargonium is failure to trim the branches after flowering. Trim the branches by half after blooming to encourage growth of new branches as flowers are borne at the tips of new branches.

The third possible cause of lack of blooms in Trailing Geranium is too little light. Position the plant in a brightly-lit place where it will receive bright light with some 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.

Where the natural lighting is not adequate consider investing in a grow light to supplement it.

Leaf drop

Leaf drop in Ivy Geranium is caused by two possible reasons. One possible reason is incorrect watering; either underwatering or overwatering.

Maintain the soil consistently moist during the growing season. Reduce watering in the cold season but do not let the soil dry out completely.

Ensure that pot has a drainage hole and the soil is loose, free-draining to prevent from getting soggy as it can result in root-rot which can result in loss of leaves.

The second possible reason for leaf drop in Ivy-leaved Pelargonium is wrong temperature due to exposure to cold drafts. Keep the plant away from cold drafts to maintain an average temperature at 18-300C.

Leggy growth

Leggy growth in Ivy Geranium is caused by too little light which means that the plant is not getting adequate light for making food needed for growth and development.

In an attempt to get enough light, the plant stretches towards the light source which results in leggy growth; pale, undersized leaves, thin stems and wide spaces between the leaf nodes.

Position the Ivy-leaved Pelargonium in a brighter spot as Ivy Geranium grows best under bright light with 6-8 hours of direct sunlight or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not sufficient.

Water-soaked, corky patches on the leaves

Water-soaked, corky patches on the leaves in Ivy Geranium are an indication of oedema disease which is promoted by soggy soil due to poor soil drainage.

Reduce watering and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil is free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil.

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