The misunderstanding about their name originated in Europe; here they were brought by the English colonialists at the beginning of the nineteenth century and were exchanged, due to their similarity, with the Geranium plant species which instead was very widespread at our time. Pelargoniums can be divided into five large groups, distinguished according to their main characteristics: we speak of zonal, dwarf and miniature zonal, gifts, ivy and fragrant leaf.
The botanical name of the geranium ivy и Pelargonium haederifolium or peltatum, in other words "which stretches": in fact, its hanging branches can even reach the length of two meters. Due to the similarity between its leaves and those of ivy, it received this common name. They are glossy, rather fleshy leaves, slightly curled at the edges. The flowers can be simple, semi-double or double. Among the cultivars with the first type of flower we mention the Balcon Imperial and Decora Imperial, the Balcon Noa and the Balcon Lilla. Among those with semi-double are the Boneta, the beautiful pink woman. If you are looking for a variety that is particularly resistant to rain, prefer a simple flower, which will give an excellent yield also for the number of flowers per season. The double-flowered varieties are more striking but generally the quantity and frequency of the flowers produced is lower. As for the coloring of the petals, you will be spoiled for choice: white, pink, red, lilac. Some recent varieties have flowers with two-colored speckles.
Everyone knows the wonderful balconies with pelargoniums in alpine huts: with a few measures aimed above all at caring for the flower and maintaining their ideal temperature, even in cities with a temperate climate, exciting results can be obtained.
Growing geranium ivy
We are now going to give you the basic indications for their cultivation; we remind you that we are talking about a typically outdoor plant, even if, with some particular attention more than temperature and exposure, it is not impossible to keep it in the apartment.
Pelargoniums are grown in all types of soil as long as it is well drained; the ideal one mixes in equal parts garden soil, clay and peat, and it is important that it is above all fresh and well watered. This does not mean, however, that we should proceed with reckless waterings: they are plants that need a lot of water only when they are in bloom, however not more than once a day in full heat.
Once a week the ivy geranium should be fertilized with a high potassium percentage product; this has to happen all summer.
The pelargonium, contrary to what one would have thought, bears very well the high temperatures while it fears the cold: in winter its optimal environment is at fifteen degrees. For this reason, consider taking the pots indoors in a room where they can overwinter. Only if the climate of your region permits, can you leave them on the balcony; however, prepare a space next to a wall, sheltered from the cold currents and plan to cover them with a transparent plastic. However, keep in mind that, among all the pelargoniums, the ivy group is the one that best bears the harsh climates, even if a frost would cut it off.