This segment of Pelargonium GetW consists of a few of my favorite geophytic
Pelargoniums. Some are minatures and some can get quite large. When
looking at the images the round pots (green) are all at least 6" wide at the
top. The square pot (black) is 3.5 inches across at the top.
In the latest issue of 'The Geraniaceae Group News' an article by Welland
Crowley mentions that of the approximately 300 species of Pelargonium an
estimated 120 species are geophytes, about 30 are succulent and the
remainder are soft-wooded and shrubbys species. 75 new geophytic species
have been recently described and the process is still underway. The
Geraniaceae Group has published an updated Species check list, has a good
selection of Geranianceae books available, and the quarterly journal is
worth subsribing to if you're into Pelargoniums. Check out their website
for more info: http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Canopy/3139/
The vast majority of the geophytic and succulent Pelargonium species are
from the winter rainfall area of the west coast of Africa, Namibia south to
the Cape. Well drained soil is important for growing these. I use 75% or
more pumace in my mix. If I could find an inexpensive source of crushed
chicken grit sized gravel I'd use it as many of these species grow between
rocks in a gravelly substrate. Keep them well drained and keep them dry
during their dormancy. The only exception to the summer watering is that
some of the species flower in the summer after all the leaves are gone.
They're dormant? But some light watering I've found is needed to set seed
In 'Pelargoniums of Southern Africa' J.J.A. VanDerWalt says " P.
antidysentericum is not an attractive species, but as a curiosity it is
unequaled in the genus." Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder - this
is one beautiful plant. The twiggy stems emerge from a large rough caudex -
aaahh! The main area of distribution is the district of Springbok in
Namaqualand. It is found on shaded south facing slopes on shallow sandy
soil. The flowering period is during the summer dormancy and seed is ready 4
to 8 weeks before the first winter rains. The caudex can grow to the size
of mans head!
Great uncommon species. The chunky roots stay large right to the bottom of
the pot. I'll try raising it if I'm successful propagating this species.
Nicely textured caudex.
The leaves can attain a diameter of over 30cm. VanderWalt says the tuber
can get quite large.
Brilliant rose colored flowers and an interesting caudex
P. aff leipoldtii
This species is worth growing for the attractive branched, long lasting,
manyflowered inflorence. Add to that the unusual dark pealing oblong partly
exposed tuber and this is a must for any caudiciform collector. Native to
the northern part of Namaqualand and the Richtersveld hot dry summers and
low winter waterings are a must.
P. oblongatum unpotted
The commercially grown Pelargoniums for the nursery trade all evolved from a
few species and are favored for their floral characteristics. The timing
was not right for this GetW to photo species flowers but in many cases they
are very interesting and attractive.
Keep Growing and try a few Pellys