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Geraniums are great color for a hot spot in your garden

Pelargoniums are ivy-leafed geraniums. It is a misnomer since they aren’t actually related to geraniums at all, but when you hear people talking about geraniums, they almost always mean pelargoniums. Think of red flowers in window boxes in Tuscany, and those will be Pelargoniums. Lately there has been a resurgence of wonderful pelargoniums in nurseries because of the release of a few new color series. They are very drought tolerant and can stand a lot of heat, so they are perfect for a waterwise garden. Try the Blizzard series (such as Blue Blizzard) or the Balcon series.

The above photos of pelargoniums are:
P. Bacon red
P. Red Blizzard
P. Salmon Path
P. Blue Blizzard
P. sidoides (has very attractive grey-green fuzzy foliage)

So if Pelagroniums aren’t “real” geraniums, what are real geraniums? They are often called cranesbills, and one of the most common is a groundcover called Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’. Here is a photo of it:

You can also find very short (2″-3″) geraniums for groundcover between stepstones or for use in rock gardens. They are perennials, so I typically replace G. ‘Johnson’s Blue’ every third year to keep it from getting leggy and messy looking.

Interested in a waterwise garden of your own? We’d love to help! Please go to and fill in the contact us form.

Sage Outdoor Designs is a San Diego landscape design firm. Kate
Wiseman, the Principal, has been a San Diego landscape designer
for the past ten years. Find out more at