The Q&A Archives: Seed Geranium/bougainvilla

Question: I purchased a pair of "seed Geraniums" with very little information on the tag. Are these annuals? Perennials? What is the difference between scented geraniums, seed geraniums and perennial geraniums?
As a side note I also cannot find any information on the growth habit of bougainvillea. Do they twine around the supports themselves or do they need help? What is the best type of support?

Answer: There are geraniums and there are pelargoniums and both are commonly referred to as garden geraniums. Botanically speaking geraniums are annual bedding plants and pelargoniums are shrubby perennials (in the right climates). Seed geraniums are annuals, started from seed. Good examples of annual geraniums include ivy geraniums and scented geraniums. Pelargonium examples include Lady Washington or other fancy-leafed "geraniums". Your seed geraniums will grow, flower and die all in one year. Pelargoniums are frost tender but can be overwintered indoors where they will continue to bloom and grow. Hope this clarifies things for you!

Bougainvillea is a vining plant requiring support and you'll need to tie the shoots to the supporting structure to keep them from whipping around in the wind. Most grow well on a trellis that provides good air circulation to the stems and leaves (which will help prevent diseases and over-heating if the support is near a building or a fence). Once your bougainvillea has established a network of vines, new shoots generally work themselves among and between older stems so additional tying isn't necessary.

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