Many gardeners love scented geraniums (Pelargonium) for their foliage that releases fragrance when the leaves are rubbed. Gardeners may be less familiar with other members of the Pelargonium genus that have flowers that release a strong fragrance in the evening.
Many of these night-scented geraniums actively grow in winter from tubers. They bloom from March through May and then go dormant in summer. These South African natives can only be grown outdoors in the U.S. in frost-free areas. However, they make great houseplants in a sunny window or greenhouse.
One of the best species to grow is Pelargonium triste, which produces pale yellow flowers with maroon markings. In the evening the flowers exude a heady vanilla scent until morning. After flowering, the leaves yellow and the plant goes dormant. Stop watering and store the potted plant in a cool, dry location until fall when it starts growing again.
For more information on these night-scented geraniums, go to: Geraniaceae.com.
Photo courtesy of www.mytho-fleurs.com.
Article published on December 19, 2005.