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Scented Geraniums

Introduction

Growing scented geraniums is a like a visit to the perfume counter in a large department store--there's so many scents--and you want to try them all. And you can, because growing these sun-loving tender perennials is easy.

With just a pot of soil, a window box, or a small plot of ground, you can grow these shrubby, fragrant plants that evoke some of the great scents of the world: citrus groves, rose gardens in bloom, Old World spices, and forests of pine and balsam.

Originally from Africa, scented geraniums (technically pelargoniums) are known more for their foliage than their flowers. With just a tousle of their leaves, you magically release the headiest of scents. The aromatic oils in their leaves are stimulated by the simple touch of a hand, gentle rainfall, or just hot sunlight. The fragrance from the foliage is everlasting (even after the leaves are dried, which makes these plants a favorite ingredient in potpourri).

Unlike other pelargonium species, scented geraniums are known more for their scented foliage than their flowers. Most bear small, delicate flowers that are generally no larger than 1 to 2 inches wide and come in pale pink to light lavender to robust red. Some varieties, do produce larger, more showy blooms, but it's the leaves of the pelargonium that make it so special. Like snowflakes, you'll be hard pressed to find any two-scented geranium leaves alike. Some scented geranium varieties have nearly round leaves; others have finely-cut, star-shaped leaves. The leaf texture is also a variable characteristic. Some are softly fuzzy, like velvet and others are coarse and rough, like sandpaper. And the leaves range in color as well, from the light green to dark green and all shades in between; there are even variegated varieties.

Do yourself a favor and plant some scented geraniums in your garden this season. If you like scented candles in your house in winter, you’ll love these sensory feasts outside in the spring, summer and fall!

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Care guides: Scented Geraniums

Need help taking care of your Scented Geraniums? Take a look at our care guides and learn how to make your garden flourish!

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