Unusual Butterfly Geranium

By Charlie Nardozzi

Geraniums (Pelargoniums) are classic summer annuals that grace window boxes, containers, and gardens across the country. While most gardeners are familiar with the Martha Washington and zonal geraniums, there are other types of Pelargoniums that are equally as desirable.

The South African butterfly geranium (Pelargonium violareum) is a highly floriferous, long-blooming geranium with unusual coloring that's perfectly suited to containers. The five-petaled, tricolor blooms begin in late spring and continue until frost. The viola-like flowers have pure white upper petals and raspberry pink lower petals with a black center. The flowers are borne on thin stems that rise just above the foliage.

This species is mostly grown as an annual since it's only hardy to 25 degrees F. However, as with other geraniums, it can be brought indoors for the winter in cold climates. It grows 24 inches tall and 16 inches wide and flowers best in full sun.

For more information on the butterfly geranium, go to: Wayside Gardens.

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