Pelargonium preparation

The scented leaf pelargonium I've grown from a cutting this year

It's taken me a long time to appreciate pelargoniums. I have a childhood memory of them overwintering in a corridor at my primary school and hating the overpowering smell of their brown, shrivelled stems in that narrow space. Those were zonal pelargoniums, and since then I've slowly started to appreciate the scented leaf varieties. You can read more about the different types here.

Georgie included a lovely lemony scented variety in my final Flowers for Mum last year and I took a few cuttings so I could grow something new in her memory. They looked so weak and feeble over winter I almost gave up and consigned them to the compost heap, but as you can see one survived and it's filled out its given pot admirably over the summer.

My newly denuded pelargonium ready for winter

Now I knew from my schooldays I was going to have to give my plant some drastic treatment soon, and I'm glad I saw a tweet from Fibrex Nurseries a couple of days ago to remind everyone it's time to bring their plants in as the weather has cooled down considerably. Their clear guidance on over-wintering these tender perennials recommends this happens at the end of September, so it was time to take action without delay! I must admit I took a deep breath before snipping away with my secateurs as it's such major surgery. I've given my newly stumpy plant a good drink and moved it to the light-filled and warmer climes of our entrance lobby where it'll spend the winter perched on a large storage wooden box I bought home from mum's.

Left over stems and leaves

I've dealt with the leftover plant material in two ways. Most of the leaves are on a tray with the idea of drying them to make a pot pourri. I can imagine dipping my fingers into a bowl of these dried and crumbled leaves to conjure up the scent of summer in one gorgeous sniff. 

Pelargonium cuttings ready to pot up

There was also enough material to make 6 cuttings. Here you can see three of them with their lower leaves stripped off ready for potting up.

Potted up cuttings

And voila! here they are potted up, lightly watered and placed in a nice clean tray ready for them to overwinter on our bedroom windowsill upstairs. I've found that's the best location for this kind of thing as I can easily remember to keep a beady eye on them over the coming months. It means I have an insurance policy if the parent plant doesn't make it through the winter, and if it does I might have something from these to give as presents in the spring 😊

Fingers crossed.

A final look at my tray of pelargonium cuttings


  1. Somewhat envious of your secateurs! These are very popular in French Alps which is odd because they all die off in the frosts.

    1. They had loads in Switzerland too Mark, in patriotic colours!

  2. I like Pelargoniums, even the zonal ones. There is such a variety of shapes, sizes and colour. I hope yours does well over the winter.

    1. Thanks Rob, and welcome to Veg Plotting :)

  3. Lovely message from Sue: Wonderful to read your advice on pelagoniums this morning. I have quite a collection given to me by a friend who is an expert and shows a lot. However, , he baffles me with science and I worry a lot about having to admit to him I may have lost some. I have just moved mine into unheated greenhouse so your advice was very timely. I will cut them back today. I have already taken some cuttings but don’t always have success with them. Thanks Michelle, love reading your blog.

    1. Oh that's lovely for you to say, Sue 🙂 I just write about stuff I've learned or something that strikes me as interesting and chat away about it on the blog! If you want clear information then the Fibrex website I linked to is excellent - they're the national collection holder of pelargoniums and so enthusiastic about what they do. I envy your greenhouse - our plot was on too much of a slope to have one here, hence using our entrance lobby instead.


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