geraniums come in 5 habits representing 34 varieties.
quenched my thirst for long-lasting geraniums. No longer am I jealous
of the West Coast as I now have geraniums that I plant in April and
they continue to look great at Christmas.
should be a caveat or two to that. I grow geraniums in mixed
containers and baskets, which is exactly what I was doing in Rincon
Ga., which is about 20 miles northwest of Savannah, Ga.
was late, the morning sun and afternoon shade perfect or maybe the
live oaks gave me the ideal micro-climate. The point is the South has
never had geraniums that bloomed non-stop through the torrid heat of
July and August, lantanas do that but not geraniums, at least until
is the mastermind behind the Calliope geranium series. I say series,
now, after a decade of first writing about them, they have grown into
a series representing five distinct habits. There are Calliope
Compact, Medium, Large, Landscape, and Cascade.
You’ll find 34
varieties in a habit and color to allow your creative genius to bloom.
Since they are easy to grow, you’ll also show your green thumb. The
Dallas Arboretum has some of the most well-known trials in the
country. They put them through the rigors. Calliope was outstanding,
blooming until September.
They are such
standout performers you can forget the thriller spiller filler recipes
and let them perform ‘Mono Magic.’ Of course, they will work as
component plants too which is what I was doing.
Mine were in
concrete planters with Campfire coleus, Lemon Ball sedum, and Blue
Wave petunias; and the Calliope geraniums lasted longer than the
Does this mean
they will not work in the landscape? The answer is, of course, they
will. In the South, the ideal location would be full sun until just
past noon then a little protection in afternoon shade. They prefer
fertile organic-rich soil with good drainage.
To prepare your
soil, loosen it 8 to 12-inches deep, and add 3 to 4-inches of organic
matter, like compost or humus. I recently bought 2-foot bags of soil
conditioner at a local garden center that was both economical and
outstanding. As you prepare your soil, take the opportunity to
incorporate about one pound of 12-6-6-fertilizer or something slow
released and balanced per 100 square feet and rake the soil smooth.
heavy feeders, and many gardeners do not apply enough fertilizer to
meet the plants’ nutrient needs. Feed every two weeks with a dilute,
water-soluble fertilizer like a 20-20-20, or apply a granular,
controlled-release fertilizer every four to six weeks per formula
recommendation. When it is time to deadhead old flowers, don’t just
clip the cluster. Pinch or break off the flower stalk at the base.
This spring is
an exciting time to see all of the new flowers showing up at the
garden center. If you love geraniums like most gardeners, then keep
your eyes open for all of the Calliope colors and habits available.
You’ll know you are getting a plant that will bring lots of color
from now into fall.