Scientifically known as Pelargonium peltatum [pe-lar-GO-neeum, pel-TAY-tum], Ivy Geranium plants are a spreading or scrambling perennial.
With somewhat fleshy, heart-shaped leaves, the Ivy Geranium plant is assigned to the cranesbill family Geraniaceae.
The plant is native to eastern South Africa and is adorned with rounded clusters of beautiful red, pink, lavender or white flowers.
While the plant usually flowers abundantly in summer on other areas, it flowers all year long on its native land.
The name of the genus Pelargonium comes from the Greek word for storks.
The world peltatum, on the other hand, is derived from the Latin word pelta, which means “small shield.”
This is a reference to the crescent or shield-like shape of the petals.
The name is a reference to the shape of the seed heads.
The Ivy Geranium species itself was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1753 book Species Plantarum.
In his book, the plant is named as Geranium peltatum.
Ivy Geranium Care
Size & Growth
The Ivy leaf geranium is a trailing evergreen perennial.
It has fleshy bright green leaves 2” – 3” inches wide.
Each leaf has a pointed lobe resembling Ivy.
This is why the plants’ common name is Ivy Geranium.
Under the right growing conditions, the plant can grow up to 1’ – 2’ feet tall and 3’ – 5’ feet wide.
When watered regularly during the summer and protected during the winter, it can grow relatively fast and produce flowers.
The foliage color varies.
Flowering and Fragrance
Ivy Geranium plants are most admired for their compact growth and an abundance of flower production.
The plant produces umbel-like inflorescences ladened with 2 to 10 symmetrical scentless flower buds.
Each geranium flower is bilateral and has five free spade-shaped petals.
On average, the petals are about a ½” inch long and about a ¼ inch wide.
The two upper petals occasionally have dark markings and curve back almost 90° degrees.
The plant flowers during summer in most areas but year-round in its native land.
Ivy geraniums open blossoms in semi-double flower clusters, but it’s a looser form than the ball-type blooms on their zonal geranium cousins.
Light & Temperature
The Ivy Geranium plant is considered hardy and does the best in full sun or light shade but prolonged exposure to hot weather is not recommended.
Provided the soil is organically-rich and slightly alkaline.
It is hardy to USDA hardiness zones 10 to 11 and can grow as an annual in cooler areas.
Since the plant is dormant in winter, it does need some protection when the temperature drops.
Watering and Feeding
Ivy Geranium plants have a low to medium water requirement.
When the temperatures get too hot and dry, water the plants more frequently to keep in soil moisture.
Overwinter your plants carefully or take stem cuttings in the fall.
High moisture levels near the roots can expose them to root rot.
When it comes to fertilizing, Ivy Geranium is a greedy plant and needs regular feeding.
If you don’t do so, it can have a negative impact on the plant.
It can cease to flower.
If your Ivy Geranium is planted in a garden, use a slow-release fertilizer or an organic alternative.
Feed every six to eight weeks until early fall.
For potted Ivy Geranium, use a liquid fertilizer every two weeks.
When growing ivy geraniums in containers, watering is particularly important.
Keep the soil moist, paying special attention to geranium in hanging baskets getting air circulation in all areas.
Soil & Transplanting
Ivy Geranium is susceptible to root rot, meaning they hate soils with poor drainage.
They are also extremely greedy and require a lot of nutrients.
Well-drained garden soil enriched with organic compost is the best choice to go with.
If you use clay soil, improve its structure by adding some coarse river sand.
As for transplanting, they can handle it well.
Be careful while doing so to make sure you do not damage the roots.
Grooming and Maintenance
Ivy Geranium plants are low maintenance.
This plant doesn’t require you to prune often or spend much time shaping the plant.
During the flowering season, regular deadheading encourages a steady supply of flower buds.
However, the plant is self-cleaning.
Pinch stems to encourage bushier growth and curb legginess.
In winter, keep the plants fairly dry and wait between waterings.
How To Propagate Pelargonium Peltatum
When propagating from seeds, they are best sown as soon as they ripen and collected from the fruits.
Stored seeds should be sowed in early spring in a greenhouse.
The optimal temperature is somewhere around 55° degrees Fahrenheit (13° C).
It may take the seeds a maximum of 2 weeks to germinate.
However, there are instances when this time can get prolonged into months.
If you’re sowing seeds outdoors, sow them in early summer and protect them from harsh winters.
This plant also propagates from cuttings.
It is an easier way to propagate the plant as cuttings can succeed at any time during the growing season.
However, early summer is the best time to do so.
Ivy Pest or Disease Problems
Ivy Geranium plants are known as some of the most tolerant plants.
They’re tolerable to a lot of growth problems.
However, problems with pests and diseases can crop up from time to time.
Common problems include caterpillars, whiteflies, black flies, and aphids.
If you see signs of any other abnormality, consult your local gardening center or nursery for a solution.
Suggested Uses For Ivy Geranium
This plant is most often used by home gardeners for its showy flowers.
Since this plant climbs, creeps, spreads, and has a trailing habit, they make beautiful additions in houseplant gardens, beds, and borders, window boxes, hanging baskets, planters, containers, or used as a ground cover in warm climates.
The leaves of the Ivy Geranium plants are also used as a vegetable.
They have a tangy taste and are eaten commonly in their native land.
Lastly, the petals are used to extract a bluish textile dye.
Pair this plant with Rozanne, a perennial geranium with staying power, to give your garden season-long color.
The trailing stems and pretty flowers can make your harden colors pop.