6 Fascinating Geranium Plant Facts

Updated: Jan. 26, 2024

Uncover geranium plant facts, including the difference between the annuals and perennials. These scented favorites are beloved by gardeners.

A geranium plant is a garden classic—and for good reason! Learn fascinating facts about these favorite flowers.

What’s a True Geranium Plant, Anyway?

Johnson’s Blue cranesbill geraniumLopatin Anton/Shutterstock
Johnson’s Blue cranesbill geranium

A true geranium plant, which is called a cranesbill geranium, forms stunning mounds of cup-shaped flowers. For a cool periwinkle color, try Johnson’s Blue, which is hardy in Zones 4 to 8.

See more beautiful blue flowers to grow in any kind of garden.

A Case of Mistaken Geranium Identity

Boldly Hot Pink geraniumCourtesy of Proven Winners - www.provenwinners.com
Boldly Hot Pink geranium

In 1753, Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus mistakenly identified a flower from South Africa as part of the Geranium genus. Now reclassified as Pelargonium, that flower is still referred to as a geranium as its common name.

Check out the top 10 fast-growing annual flowers to grow.

Annual vs Perennial Geraniums: What’s the Difference?

All 300 species of cranesbill geraniums are perennial. This means they’ll come back each year. Plus, you can choose from roughly 280 species of Pelargonium geraniums, which are usually grown as annuals.

Plant zinnia flowers for a rainbow of color.

Geranium Plants Had a Famous Admirer

Charles Dickens, the well-known 19th-century author, loved scarlet pelargoniums so much that he often wore one on his jacket.

Grow garden pansy flowers for early season blooms.

Geranium Leaves Are Sweetly Scented

Swallowtail butterfly on pink geraniumsCourtesy Suzanne Compton
Swallowtail butterfly on pink geraniums

Before scents were made in labs, perfume companies used oils made from geranium leaves. At least 30 Pelargonium species are aromatic. Look for scents such as rose, citrus and mint. There’s even a citronella scented geranium that deters mosquitoes.

Grow nasturtium flowers to keep bad bugs away.

Overwinter Geraniums to Keep the Floral Show Going

Geraniums Flowers On The Window SillLars Johansson / EyeEm/Getty Images
Move geraniums indoors when the weather turns colder.

Pelargoniums are annuals. This means they’ll fade away if you leave them in the garden during the colder months. But you can grow them in a sunny spot indoors if you want! Keep your house temperature between 60 and 65 degrees for best results.

Next, check out our favorite annuals that attract hummingbirds.