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The misunderstanding about their name was born in Europe; here they were brought by the English colonialists at the beginning of the nineteenth century and were exchanged, due to their resemblance, with the species of Geranium plants which on the other hand were widespread in Italy at the time. The pelargoniums can be divided into five large groups, distinguished according to their main characteristics: we talk about zonals, dwarf and miniature zones, gifts, ivy and scented leaves.
The botanical name of the geranium ivy и Pelargonium haederifolium or peltatum, in other words "that stretches": in fact its hanging branches can reach even the length of two meters. Due to the similarity between its leaves and those of ivy, it received this common name. These are glossy leaves, rather fleshy, slightly curled at the edges. The flowers can be simple, semi-double or double. Among the cultivars with the first type of flower we remember the Balcon Imperial and Decora Imperial, the Balcon Noa and the Balcon Lilla. Among those with semi-double are the Boneta, the beautiful pink woman. If you are looking for a variety that is particularly resistant to rain, prefer a simple flower, which will give excellent yield even for the number of flowers per season. The double-flowered varieties are more showy but generally the quantity and frequency of the flowers produced is lower. As for the color of the petals, you will be spoiled for choice: white, pink, red, lilac. Some recent varieties have flowers with streaks of two colors.
Everyone knows the marvelous flowering pelargoniums of the alpine huts: with a few measures aimed above all at caring for the flower and maintaining their ideal temperature, even in cities with a temperate climate, exciting results can be obtained.
If you want to create new plants, keep in mind that the pelargones spread easily through cuttings and that each group should be treated in the same way. You can use the new jets that have formed during the winter or you can do this around the end of the summer. Strong castings must be chosen; they are cut above the third node, starting from the vegetative apex. Remove the lower leaves. You can pot the cuttings in groups of four to five for a container of about fifteen centimeters in diameter; the earth must have been previously wet. Leave the cuttings in a bright place and irrigate them by immersing the base of the pot in a container full of water, once every ten days; when they put the first roots, transfer each new plant into its own new pot.Geranium ivy: Geranium ivy diseases
Let's move on to the ailments of geranium ivy. Incorrect waterings can damage the geraniums; if the leaves turn yellow and have dark spots, it is a sign of water shortage. If, on the other hand, the base of the stem is soft and shows signs of rot, the plant has been attacked by fungi, brought about by excess moisture. Mushrooms are fought with copper and sulfur.
Pelargonium parasites are cochineal and aphids, for which specific insecticides are used.
Unfortunately, in recent years pelargonium has been a victim of the Geranium Licenid (the scientific name is Cacyreus marshalli): it is a small butterfly originating from southern Africa which, due to globalization and climate change, has reached Europe and therefore also in the Italian peninsula, causing a massacre. The butterfly lays its eggs on the plant; the larvae come out and dig a tunnel in the twigs, or they feed on the leaves, becoming adult within a month if the outside temperature is around 30 degrees. If it is colder, the growth phases double. Within a year, this process can happen five to six times and then the plant is completely emptied of larvae.
While in the countries of origin the butterfly is kept under control by natural antagonists, in Italy this is not possible and therefore the only method of control is the use of insecticides, which must be repeated consistently in cycles every 8-10 days. However, all the damaged branches must be eliminated.