In the cultivation of pelargonium, a clear annual cycle, which depends on temperature and illumination. Usually the flowering time in our climate begins in the spring and can last for some varieties until late autumn, as long as there is enough light and warmth.
When growing pelargonium, it must be remembered that these are light-loving plants. Planted in the open ground or taken out into the open air for the summer, they perfectly tolerate direct sun. The exception is royal pelargoniums, which are more picky about the effects of wind and rain, so it is preferable to grow them on terraces, balconies and window sills, in sheltered places. If pelargonium is placed indoors (in a greenhouse, on a window), where light enters through glass, the plant may overheat, especially in conditions of poor ventilation. Then you need protection from the scorching summer midday sun. It will take out pelargonium and a little shading, but with a lack of light, the lower leaves will begin to turn yellow and die off, the stem will be bare, the plant will not bloom.
It is important to regularly, once every few days, turn the plant at a small angle relative to the light source, this is necessary for uniform crown growth.
In summer, pelargonium prefers moderate warmth, within + 17 + 23оС. Landing in open ground should be done only when the danger of recurrent frost has passed. At a stable temperature of + 12 ° C and below, pelargonium ceases to bloom, and too high temperature also negatively affects flowering, especially in a closed room. The fact that the plant is cold can be signaled by reddened leaves.
In the fall, the temperature of the content and the abundance of watering are gradually reduced - growth should not be active so that pelargonium does not stretch and deplete under low light conditions.
Optimalwintering conditions can be created on a glazed and frost-free, well-lit loggia or in a greenhouse. It is necessary to maintain the minimum temperature at night not lower than + 6 ° C, in the daytime - about + 12 + 15 ° C. In case of overheating on sunny days, open the greenhouse doors for ventilation. Angels, bicolor and tricolor varieties are best kept at higher temperatures, placing them in warmer places in the greenhouse or loggia.
Good air circulation around the plants is essential, they should not be placed too closely, if necessary, thick roots should be thinned out a little. This will help to avoid the occurrence of fungal diseases. Watering this time is rather scarce, experienced flower growers spend it from pallets, clearly measuring the amount of water and determining the time of the next watering by the weight of the pots, while the top of the soil is always left dry.
There are also other wintering methods... One is to keep the plants as rooted cuttings and discard the mother plant. The method is used in the summer cultivation of pelargonium in the open air.
The second method is also used for outdoor cultivation: on the eve of frost, the plant is dug up, excess soil is shaken off from the roots, the plant is cut tightly and wrapped in paper, then hung in a cool basement. The room should be well ventilated and high humidity so that the plant does not dry out. In the spring it is planted in a pot, with the onset of heat, it is planted in open ground. You can combine the first and second methods: first take the cuttings, and then send the mother plant to the basement for the winter.
Wintering occurs in the darkest time of the year and lasts approximately 2.5-3 months (from November to February). Already in late January - early February, with an increase in daylight hours, pelargoniums gradually begin to wake up.
When watering pelargonium, it is important to remember that these are rather drought-resistant plants, at the same time they are easily susceptible to fungal diseases. Therefore, it is better to underfill the plant a little than to water it too much. In summer, water as the top layer dries, provided that the plant is in a warm and sunny place. In winter, in cool conditions, watering should be limited, but not brought to complete drying of the soil.
Signs of over-watering will be lethargic drooping leaves, often with signs of gray rot; in a severe case, stem rot will begin, which almost always leads the plant to death. Another symptom of excess moisture is the appearance of "sores" on the underside of the leaves. When the earthen coma dries out, the plant stops blooming, the leaves turn yellow, their edges dry out.
Air humidity for pelargonium is not important, these plants do not require spraying. Excessive dampness and stagnant air can cause fungal diseases.
It is advisable to introduce top dressing with each watering, accordingly reducing the dosage. So, if watering is done every day, then we divide the weekly fertilizer rate by 7-10 and give this dose at each watering. If the lump has time to dry out between waterings, then you must first moisten it with clean water. During the winter rest, feeding is canceled if the temperature is kept low and the plants are completely resting. When there is even a small growth, fertilizers can be added in ¼ dosage. Soon after the cuttings have taken root, a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content is used. For feeding young plants that are not yet allowed to bloom, a complex universal fertilizer is used. Before the onset of the flowering period, approximately 2.5-3 months (in April), they begin to use fertilizer with a higher potassium content. If there are signs of chlorosis, it should be treated with magnesium sulfate and iron chelate (or just a solution of trace elements in a chelated form).
Priming Pelargonium prefers fertile and well-drained. It consists of sod land, humus, peat and sand in approximately equal proportions.
Life span a separate pelargonium bush is usually 2-5 years, after which the plant loses its decorative effect and it is better to take care of the renewal in time by rooting cuttings. It will take about a year or more to grow an ornamental flowering plant from a cuttings. Cuttings rooted in early spring can bloom this summer, but it is advisable to give preference to the formation of a beautiful bush for abundant flowering next year.
Cuttings can be taken at any time, from early spring to autumn. But here it is necessary to take into account the time of the onset of flowering of the plant, which for different varieties is from 16 to 20 weeks after the last pinching or pruning (flowering occurs on young shoots that have reached this age). If you have a single copy of this variety, then you will have to wait until the end of flowering to cut the cuttings. If there are several specimens, then it is better to take cuttings earlier, starting from February-March, then the young plant will have more time to develop for lush flowering next year, until this moment it is necessary to remove all emerging buds. It is not recommended to take cuttings earlier than the end of January, with a short daylight hours. By this time, the plants are just beginning to wake up from the cool wintering. If you take cuttings from dormant plants, then the level of growth hormones in them is low and it will take more time for rooting. For such pelargoniums as angels, royal and fragrant, it is advisable to take cuttings in late winter or early spring (later, with an increase in the level of illumination, the laying of flower buds will already begin closer to the tops of the shoots). For most varieties of zonal pelargoniums, this period is not so important, since their flower buds are laid along the entire length of the shoot and cuttings can be taken at any time of the growing season.
Cuttings must be cut only from healthy and powerful plants - the stronger and chunky the cutting, the better it will develop in the future. For cuttings, take the apical parts of the shoots about 5-7 cm long, from miniature and dwarf varieties - about 2.5-3 cm.The lower leaves and stipules should be carefully removed, under the lower node, make an oblique cut with a slight slope. Dry the lower cut of the cutting in the air; depending on the conditions, this may take from several hours to several minutes. You can use drugs that stimulate root formation, but pelargonium gives roots well without their use.
It takes 2 to 4 weeks to root, depending on conditions and variety. The roots are formed on the lower cut of the cutting. A mixture of sterile peat substrate and perlite in approximately equal proportions is used as a soil for rooting. It is important that water does not stagnate in the ground. Sterilizing the soil prior to use reduces the likelihood of cuttings rotting. Small pots (6 cm in diameter) or transparent cups (100-200 ml) are filled with the soil mixture and kept on a tray with water until the upper part of the substrate is wetted. After that, the soil is allowed to dry for about a day.
Another way of rooting is also popular. Two pots are taken, a second, narrower pot is inserted into a wider one, the space between them is filled with soil, prepared cuttings are planted here. They are immersed in the ground by about 1-3 cm (depending on the variety) and pressed lightly.
The next watering is carried out sparsely and through the pallet when the soil dries up. It is advisable, after planting the cuttings, to introduce a systemic fungicide into the soil during the second watering. A greenhouse for rooting pelargonium cuttings is not required. For the first 2-3 days, the leaves may wither (do not put the cuttings in sunlight!), Later they restore turgor.
The optimum rooting temperature for pelargonium cuttings is about + 20 + 22 ° C.
After rooting, the first pinch the cutting is carried out when it forms 8-10 leaves. The apical growth point is removed with a sharp sterile knife. This stimulates the growth of lateral shoots from the axils of the remaining leaves. If shoots begin to grow only from 1-2 upper buds, then it is advisable to remove them or pinch them as soon as they give 3 leaves. The next pinching is carried out as the lateral shoots grow, when they form 8-10 leaves. This will ensure lush branching, and subsequently abundant flowering. It is optimal to form a crown in the form of 2/3 of a ball. The last pinching of the plant is carried out no later than 16-20 weeks (depending on the variety) before the expected flowering. Since the flowering is also influenced by external factors (illumination), it can be expected to start in May or June, so the last pinching is carried out no later than February. As it grows, diseased or weak shoots are removed, too rapidly growing are shortened, trying to maintain the uniformity of the roots. Also, cut out all leaves that do not match the grade in size or color.
As a young plant grows, it several times per season transplanted (neat transfer) into a slightly larger pot, not trying to give a large volume at once. Transshipment is carried out only when the roots are tightly entwined with a lump. For a one-year-old plant, the maximum pot size should not exceed: for miniature - 9 cm, dwarf varieties and angels - 11 cm, for other varieties - no more than 15 cm in diameter. The last transplantation of cuttings rooted in this season is carried out closer to the winter rest or after its end at the beginning of the next season.
Pruning an old plant after flowering, taking cuttings
After the end of the flowering of the mother plant, the apical cuttings are cut from it for rooting. Pelargoniums are very susceptible to fungal diseases, so it is advisable to make a cut on the mother plant above the node and be sure to treat the cut with a fungicide, sprinkle it with charcoal or sulfur, these measures will reduce the likelihood of stem rot. It is optimal to carry out cuttings in a warm season, this also reduces the risk of disease. It is better not to remove old leaves that remain on the plant at this time, as lateral shoots will soon begin to grow. As young shoots grow, old leaves are removed. As soon as young shoots grow 8-10 leaves, they are pinched.
To give uniformity to the crown and stimulate good flowering, old specimens are carried out immediately after the winter rest. pruning, remove frail and diseased shoots, shorten long ones, leaving 2 to 5 buds on each shoot. It is undesirable to carry out pruning in the fall, since at home, without strict adherence to the cool wintering conditions, weak lateral shoots are formed, which will have to be removed.
Cuttings... Pelargonium reproduces well with the help of cuttings - this is the main method of propagation of varietal plants, only it completely (excluding cases of the appearance of somatic mutations - spots) guarantees the preservation of all varietal traits in the plant. Read about grafting pelargonium above.
Seed reproduction... Many varieties are hybrid in nature, and even if they can set seeds, plants from such seeds may not necessarily retain the varietal qualities of the original plants. Species pelargoniums and a small number of varieties are successfully grown from seeds.
Mainly on sale you can find seeds of F1 hybrids (first generation) and F2 hybrids (second generation), they are produced by large seed companies by crossing two different varieties. Plants grown from such seeds are not very interesting to collectors, but are more suitable for mass gardening - they are not distinguished by a wealth of colors, but they have increased resistance.
The optimal time for sowing seeds is the end of January - February. With an increase in daylight hours, it will be possible to grow strong seedlings, and the seedlings will most likely bloom this summer. You can sow earlier, but in winter you will definitely need additional lighting so that the seedlings do not stretch out.
For germination of seeds, a poor sterile soil is used. Seeds are sown on the surface, sprinkled with a thin layer (literally 2-3 mm) of the soil mixture, spilled and covered with nothing. The optimum temperature for germination is + 20 + 24 ° C. You can sow the seeds one at a time in individual small cups, then picking is not required. Seedlings appear in 2-3 weeks.
Diseases and pests
- Great damage to Pelargonium deals gray rot... It appears as a gray bloom on the leaves and other parts of the plant. Its occurrence is provoked by coolness, dampness, waterlogging, poor air ventilation. Especially often, the disease occurs during winter rest, which is why it is so important to provide plants with good ventilation, not to put them close to each other, to remove diseased and unnecessary leaves in time.
- Often found on pelargoniums rust... It appears as concentric yellowish above and brown below spots on the leaves.
- Waterlogged soil can be observed stem decaywhich manifests itself as dark depressed spots at the base of the stem. This is a sure death of the plant, but you can try to take the apical cutting.
- Verticillary wilting caused by a fungus that infects the conductive system of the plant. The disease manifests itself in a gradual yellowing and wilting of the plant and does not respond to treatment.
- Defeats are also possible with other pathogenic fungi, which cause various types of spotting on leaves, petioles and other parts of plants.
It is important to carry out preventive treatment of plants against fungal diseases in a timely manner, especially on the eve of winter holidays. Plants are abundantly sprayed with preparations or immersed with the crown in a container with a fungicide. It is advisable to use systemic fungicides of a wide spectrum of action, such as Skor, Topaz, Profit Gold, Topsin, etc. When a fungal disease is detected, diseased parts of the plant are removed, and the treatment is carried out with the same preparations.
- Pelargonium is often affected whitefly... When purchasing a plant, carefully examine the lower part of the leaf for the presence of small white butterflies or white capsule formations, their larvae. If you find at least a few individuals, you should refuse to purchase.
- Upon detection mealybug it is also better not to buy a plant. In the axils of the leaves, on the stems, you can see clusters, similar to pieces of white cotton wool.
- Also, pelargoniums can be affected thrips,aphids, mites.
When keeping pelargonium outdoors, the risk of being affected by various pests increases, before bringing the plants home, be sure to treat them with insecticides.
Read more in the article Houseplant pests and control measures.
Physiological disorders not associated with diseases or pests
- Reddening of the leaves... The reason is too low temperature. The conditions of detention must be changed.
- The plant does not bloomalthough his general condition is good. The reason may be too high a temperature, lack of light, or excessive watering.
- The leaves turn yellow and fall off, the edges of the leaves dry... The reason may lie in insufficient watering, with a strong exposure of the stem, in a lack of light.