Scented geraniums are heavenly, scented flowering plants that are native to Southern Africa. They are very easy to grow both indoors and outdoors, in containers as well as in open soil. If you plant these fragrant plants, you are in for a sweet-smelling treat all-year round. However, it is also your responsibility to protect the plants from frost in winter.
The scientific name of the flower is pelargonium. They belong to the family Geraniaceae. During the early 1600s, these flowers were brought from South Africa to Holland and England. These flowers have five petals that are arranged such that there are two upper petals and three lower petals. The upper petals are more vibrant in color and the flowers have evenly formed and regularly spaced petals.
How to Grow Them
These plants grow to a height of 1 to 2 feet and can be easily grown in containers and even in garden soil. They follow a perennial life cycle and need full sun or bright light to grow. You can get seeds or cuttings from the local nursery for propagation. When grown outdoors, the plant should be in a sunny location with loamy, well-drained soil. In case of pots, you should use loam-based compost.
The soil should be kept moist, not wet. You should water the plant at the base to avoid wetting the leaves. Indoor plants should be fed with fertilizers every alternate week. You can even feed potassium-rich fertilizers to encourage flower growth. You can prune the plants into shape by pinching back tips in autumn, and removing wilted flowers. They are prone to white fly infestation, therefore check the cuttings before planting them.
Scented geraniums are used in many things like teas, cakes, jams, wines, ointments, and perfumes. The leaves can be used to add flavor to a jar of sugar. A layer of leaves is covered with one or two scoops of sugar. Then another layer of leaves is added and that is again covered with another layer of sugar. Once the jar is full, it is to be kept in the sun. After a few days, sift out the leaves and you will get perfume-induced sugar.
The leaves and flowers can be dried by cutting off their stems and placing them on a cooling rack. Keep the rack in a dark place with good air circulation or dry them in an oven set on low. Stuff them in a muslin bag and use as potpourri.
You can even use leaves to flavor cakes, jellies or as a garnishing ingredient. Many herbalists use its essential oil in perfumes, colognes, and scented soaps. They are also recommended for medicinal purposes like aromatherapy and spa massages.
Once you plant them, you will be hooked to the heavenly fragrance geraniums produce. Grow them in your home and enjoy the fragrance, beauty and vibrancy of these sweet-smelling plants.