Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Fancy, Funky Foliage Geraniums!



Well, hello there, you gorgeous geraniums!  If you have not yet become familiar with Fancy Geraniums/ Exotic Geraniums/ Foliage Geraniums, now is the time!  These beauties have been around for years, quietly waiting for their moment in the sun (so to speak).  Now may be their time- we've been noticing an uptick in interest for the unusual and a greater appreciation for foliage.   This spring we've cherry-picked six of our favorite Exotic Geraniums to feature in the greenhouse:  Happy Thought Red, Vancouver Centennial, Persian Queen, Mrs. Parker, Indian Dunes, and Wilhelm Langguth.  Like traditional geraniums, they appreciate at least a half-day of sun, require moderate watering, and do well in both planters and flower beds.  Here's our 2017 lineup!



HAPPY THOUGHT RED

If you're not sure which to try, 'Happy Thought Red' is a solid choice.  It's leaves have a bright variegation of green and yellow/ivory with cherry-rose blooms.  'Happy Thought Red' would work nicely in a pot with Lantana (think 'Luscious Berry Blend' or 'Luscious Marmalade'), the dark purple foliage of Setcresea 'Purple Heart', and Evolvulus 'Blue My Mind'...perhaps add in a Canna or Pennisetum 'Fireworks' grass for some height.  Of course (like any of these Exotic Geraniums) it would make a lovely specimen planted alone!





VANCOUVER CENTENNIAL

'Vancouver Centennial' features unique maple leaf foliage and star-like, orange-y red flowers.  Definitely eye-catching!  The leaves graduate from a rusty red center to almost yellow edges.  Out of this spring's lineup, this is what grabs my attention first.  With such commanding foliage you can go one of two ways when choosing its' companions:  keep everything else simple and allow the geranium to be the star of the combination, or embrace the color and pattern and go wild!  





PERSIAN QUEEN

If you love blinding, bright color you will just adore 'Persian Queen'!  The chartreuse foliage perfectly accents its hot pink flowers to make a combination you can't ignore.  Other favorite chartreuse-colored plants compliment Persian Queen quite nicely:  Sedum 'Lemon Coral', Millium 'Flashlights', and Gomphrena 'Cosmic Flare'.  Prefer pink?  Try Portulaca 'Samba Rose' for drought-tolerant flamingo hue.





MRS. PARKER

'Mrs. Parker' is just so sweet that Marty often refers to her as "she"!  The foliage is a lovely, soft green and ivory and her blooms are a light pink.  She is perhaps our most subtle choice of exotic geraniums.  Planting Mrs. Parker alongside more muted tones like the soft blue of Plumbago 'Imperial Blue' or airy white of Gaura 'Stratosphere White' would suit her just fine.





INDIAN DUNES

If you're attracted to the coloring in 'Vancouver Centennial', 'Indian Dunes' will likely be a contender for you as well.  The broader, rounded foliage of Indian Dunes features a bronze center on the chartreuse leaves and will feature orange-red flowers.  Pot Indian Dunes up with Carex 'Rooster Grass' for some added texture, Oxalis 'Zinfandel' for contrast, and an orange or red coleus...try 'Redhead' or 'Trusty Rusty'





WILHELM LANGGUTH

When 'Wilhelm Langguth' isn't blooming, it's easy to mistake for Mrs. Parker.  The foliage is nearly identical!  When blooming, they are clearly unique plants.  Wilhelm Langguth has a compact, cherry-red bloom that just pops off of the green and ivory backdrop.  We currently have a simple hanging basket combo featuring Wilhelm Langguth (red), Lantana 'New Gold' (yellow), and Verbena 'Royale Chambray' (purple/blue).  When in doubt, the primary colors will never steer you wrong!


And there you have it- six fabulous Exotic Geraniums!  They're so versatile- a great way to spice up your traditional geranium combinations, an unexpected alternative to using coleus, fun to work into pot combos yet interesting enough to hold their own.  How are you going to plant them?  Enjoy!

-Anna Mary



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