All night long you tossed and turned over that asinine thing you said, but you’ll sleep easier with a pot of geraniums ready for the next time you see the person your big mouth has offended. According to the language of flowers, these friendly plants convey the message of both friendship and stupidity, reminding both the giver and the receiver that we aren’t always at our best, but that we’ll certainly try harder in the future.
Geraniums come in a wide variety of colors and species, but there are three main distinctions: zonal, ivy and regal geraniums. Zonal geraniums are hardy, sun-loving plants that your florist or garden center will sell in late spring and early summer. They can grow both inside and outside, though are very sensitive to cold, so be sure to tell the person you’ve offended to bring them inside in the fall.
The ivy geraniums have lovely, trailing stems and daintier flowers. They look amazing in a hanging basket and will spill down the side of containers for a very European look. The regal geraniums, sometimes called “Martha Washington” geraniums, have larger, fanciful blooms and lovely leaves. Save these for an occasion when you’ve really stepped in it.
All of the different geraniums have a distinctive scent, but not in the flowers themselves. The thick leaves of these plants give off a spicy, pleasant smell when rubbed. Some cultivars have been bred with a specific scent, such as rose or mint and are called scented geraniums. Citronella geranium, or “Mosquito Plant” is an example of this, but don’t give this one as an “I’m sorry” gift in case they tell you to bugger off.
Geraniums have been around a long time as popular bedding plants for a sunny garden container. One of their greatest attributes is that they also grow inside in a sunny window as a houseplant, frequently surprising you with bright red, coral or white blooms, regardless of the weather outside. This means you can keep a few on hand in pretty pots around the house if you find yourself needing to apologize frequently for putting your foot in your mouth. Perhaps they can also serve as a reminder to think before you speak:)
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Geraniums are surprisingly easy to find and very easy to grow. Like friendship, they need a little maintenance from time to time, which includes removing the spent blooms to encourage new flowering. They do best when they are put in a place with direct sunlight and can be surprisingly drought tolerant and forgiving of poor treatment. Let’s hope your friend is the same!