Colorful Geraniums – Care And Growing

 

Geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) are all-time favorite of gardeners. They are beautiful, colorful, and emit a lovely scent. Growing geranium plants are easy as long as you can give them what they need. Here’s how to grow geraniums in your home and garden!

What are Geraniums Exactly?

Geranium is a genus of 422 species of flowering annual, biennial and perennial. Geranium commonly known as cranesbills. They are found throughout temperate regions of the world and in the eastern part of the Mediterranean region. The name ‘cranesbill’ is derived from their appearance of the fruit capsule of some species, which is shaped like a long unsprung column and like the bill of a crane.

Not all geraniums are in fact geraniums. Some are pelargoniums. “True Geraniums”, which are hardy, native and wild plants that make excellent ground cover and space filler in your garden and landscape.

A pelargonium is a hybrid species of the geranium plant. The difference between geranium and pelargonium is in how they flower.

The noticeable differences are that geranium has a flat-like saucer shape while a pelargonium has a trumpet-like shape of flower that faces upward from the stem, rather than a flat five-petal flower head.

Pelargonium flower

Geranium flower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Botanical Name: Geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum)
  • Varieties: Meadow Cranesbill, Cut-leaved Crane’s-bill, Clark’s geranium
  • Design Ideas: It is suitable to be grown as a flower bed, hanging baskets or containers on patios or balconies.

    Plant Features:

  • Life-Cycle: Annual, biennial and perennial.
  • Height: 6 inches to 3 feet
  • Width/Spread: Up to 2 feet
  • Flowering season: Year-around flowering, Flowers in flushes throughout the year.
  • Flower: The flowers have five petals and are colored white, pink, purple or blue, with distinctive veining.
  • Uses in landscape: Geraniums play plenty of garden roles beyond being accents in the perennial border, where they provide soft color for many weeks. Some geraniums can be used as ground covers. Geraniums are an excellent choice for containers, hanging baskets  and in rock-garden.
  • Planting/Growing Details :
  • Sunlight: Locate your geraniums in an area with at least six to eight hours of sunlight.Potted geraniums are excellent indoor plants and can be grown under bright light for growth and flowers.
  • Water: Allow soil to dry to some extent between watering, then water thoroughly. During the winter, water much less, but do not let the roots dry out entirely. Geraniums do best when given a period of dormancy through the winter months, during which they use less water and do not grow much.
  • To encourage blooming, deadhead spent flowers.
  • To promote bushy growth and avoid legginess, pinch the stems.
  •  Propagation:
  •  By seeds: They are easily grown from seed and can help acquire a collection of different varieties.
  • By cuttings: Geraniums are easily cloned by taking rooting cuttings and stuck into coarse, sandy medium in small pots. The spot should be kept warm in indirect light and watered well. After roots are formed in 2-3 weeks, move the new plants into full sun and water.

    Pest and Disease – Common problems can be low light or too much or too little water. The leaves will turn yellow as an indication you are watering too little or too much. In this case, try to even the watering out and move the geraniums to a brighter place.

   Follow these tips presented here to make your geranium growing and flowering and as you learn to grow them successfully, you’ll want to have more and more colorful geranium in your garden.

Happy gardening

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Grow Your Own Pumpkins !

A mix of vibrant pumpkin varieties is a valuable staple in your kitchen garden!

Pumpkin is one of the easiest garden vegetables to grow. If you have space in your garden for them, they are a relatively maintenance free. Pumpkin vines grow best in a location with lots of sunlight and good air circulation.

Did you know Pumpkins are also famous during Halloween? 

Modern Halloween comes from the Irish festival Samhain. Tradition dictated huge bonfires built in fields, and it was believed that fairy spirits lurked in the shadows. To distract these spirits from settling into houses and farms, people would carve rudimentary faces into large turnips, and set candles inside. 

As pumpkin carving grew into a multi-million dollar industry, American farmers began to examine the specific types of pumpkins they grew, and breed new lines of squash specifically for carving. Massachusetts farmer John Howden developed the Howden pumpkin in the 1960s, and it is still the most popular carving pumpkin in America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Pumpkin? 

In Hindi Pumpkin is called as Kadoo. Pumpkins come in unique shapes, sizes and hues and have diverse flavors. They are a rich source of Vitamin A, potassium and fibre. 

Where to grow Pumpkins?

Ideally grown on the edge of a garden bed where it receives adequate sunlight. As with most plants, they thrive in loose, well-drained soil and under direct sunlight which allows the fruit to ripen evenly. 

Add neem cake or neem solution to the soil a week before planting. Mix organic matter, wood ash and well-rotted manure into the soil.

The mound should be about 8-12 inches high and around 2 feet circumference at the base. This can also be done on a long raised ridge with the same proportions. Though they are considered monsoon crops, pumpkins can be grown throughout the year — successive planting will provide a steady supply of fruits.

How to sow Pumpkin seeds?

Soak the seeds in warm water for a day to promote germination. The seeds can be started in a nursery and shifted later, but for best results sow directly in prepared beds. If they are to be planted on flat ground, keep a distance of atleast 3 feet for the vines to spread out. For raised soil, flatten the top of the heap and press the seeds an inch deep — 3 seeds per mound or 3 feet apart if it is on a ridge. For terrace gardens, use large deep troughs with at least 1.5 feet depth and sow 2 seeds in each.

How to care for Pumpkins?

Once the seeds have sprouted, restrict weed growth around the seedlings with an organic mulch of leaves or grass cuttings. Remove weak seedlings at this stage. As the long vines supply nutrition to the plants, they should be well-maintained by trimming dead leaves and weak side vines. 

Watering is best done early morning or in the evening, preferably by drip tubes which supply water directly to the roots; excess water on the leaves can cause powdery mildew. 

Protect against aphids, ants and other pests by spraying with a neem solution; peppermint solution is another insect repellent which can be sprayed once a week. Look for squash bugs under the leaves and remove them by hand. 

Once the flowers appear, sprinkle wood ash around the plant on alternate weeks to supply potash. Pumpkins produce male and female flowers on the same plant and are naturally pollinated by insects. To ensure this, pollination can be done manually.

Identify the flowers — the female flower has a small fruit at the base and the male is distinguishable by its absence. Rub the male flower over the female flower to transfer pollen. This will increase chances of healthy well-proportioned vegetables.

Female flower

How to harvest Pumpkin?

Most pumpkin varieties can be harvested after three months, when the fruit has ripened on the vine. Pumpkins are ready to harvest when the stem has started to dry and the skin of the pumpkin begins to harden. Remove from the vine leaving about an inch stem.If the stem breaks, the pumpkin won’t cure or store well.

That’s all you need to know about growing pumpkins in your kitchen garden. Pumpkin has so many uses in the kitchen so learning how to grow pumpkins successfully will be truly rewarding experience.

Happy Halloween!

Happy-gardening

How to Grow and Care – Carnation

Carnations are known to have been used for the first time by Greeks and Romans in garlands. Its scientific name Dianthus roughly translates to “flower of love” or “flower of the gods”.

Carnations signify fascination, distinction, and love. Like many other flowers, different messages can also be expressed with the flower’s different color varieties. Light red carnations, for example, are often used to convey admiration, whereas the dark red version expresses deeper sentiments of love and affection. White carnations are associated with purity and luck, and pink carnations are often given as a sign of gratitude.

Common names: Carnation, Divine flower, Clove pink

Botanical Name: Dianthus caryophyllus

Varieties: 

Carnation varieties can be demarcated into three main groups depending upon flower size and their use.

  • Standard carnation – These have single large flower on an individual stem used as cut flower.
  • Spray carnation – Spray carnation is generally a bunch of flowers on short branches of a single stalk. The flowers are small and compact on each branch.
  • Micro carnation – These have shorter stems and higher production than spray varieties. These are used as ornamental pot plants besides its utility in flower arrangement.

Design Ideas: They can be planted in flower beds or containers.

Dianthus carpophyllus is a species of the genus Dianthus. It is a native from the Mediterranean region but its exact range is unknown. It is an herbaceous perennial plant growing up to 31 inches. The flowers are produced singly or together in a group and are sweetly scented. 

Carnations are grown in dozens of colors and are particularly well-known for their ability to last with less water for long periods of time without wilting or drying out. Some of the varieties can last in water up to three weeks.

Plant Features: 

Life-Cycle: Perennial

Height: 18 to 31 inches

Width/Spread: 3 feet

Flowering season: October to March

Flower: The original natural flower color is bright pinkish-purple and have 3–5 cm diameter, and sweetly scented; flowers are produced singly or up to five together in a cyme

Foliage: Long narrow, needle-like, grey-green, evergreen in many areas

Planting/Growing Details: 

  • Sunlight: Full sun- around 6-8 hours of direct exposure to sunlight. It can be grown indoors and requires bright light, well-drained potting soil and good air circulation for germination and growth.
  • Water: Occasionally- whenever the soil dries out completely as the plant is drought-tolerant. They do not require much water, except in the summer months. Instead of splashing water, spraying is better way to moisten the plants. 
  • Sowing season: Summer
  • Sowing method: The seeds are sown and propagated by seed, cuttings or division. The seeds will germinate in 2 to 3 weeks. The seeds can be sown indoors and outdoors.

Care: The seeds are sown in fertile well-drained soil and prefers a lot of indirect lighting indoors. The seeds can be sown directly and proper care should be ensured to grow into beautiful plants. 

Pests: Insects and disease problems are infrequent. If in any case, insects or pests occur, treat them early with insecticides, repellents or pesticides.

Harvest: Standard carnations are harvested at tight-bud or half open stage. Immediately after harvesting, the flowers should be kept in clean water for preservation.

Propagation: 

  • By seeds: The seeds should be sown in a well-drained soil up to 1/8 inch deep with a space of 12”. The compost should be moist but not wet. The soil should be firmed over seed and mist sprayed occasionally to moisten it. The seeds will germinate in 2 to 3 weeks. 
  • By cuttings: Cuttings taken from the terminal growth can also be used to propagate Carnations. The cuttings, varying from four to six inches long are taken and the basal leaves of at least two to three nodes are removed. Cuttings become ready for transplantation in 25 to 30 days. This method is preferably used in case of perennial Carnations. 

  • By division: Carnations can be grown by division through which we can rejuvenate older plants. Dig up an entire clump, and either pull it apart using your hands to separate the plant segments, or use two gardening forks inserted in the centre of the clump, to gently pry the plant apart. Replant each new division to plant a new perennial or annual, and water it in very well. 

         Hope this blog will inspire you to bring this beautiful carnation in your garden.

Happy-gardening

Vegetative Propagation by Stem Cutting

Stem-cutting is another common asexual propagation technique, suited well to herbs and house plants. It involves taking a section of stem from a parent plant and manipulating it to create a new plant. Since the reproduction is asexual, the new plant is genetically identical to the parent and is often referred to as a clone. Read more

Vegetative Propagation by Layering

Stems that are attached to their parent plant are capable of forming roots on coming in contact with a rooting medium. Layering exploits this property of stems. It involves development of roots on a stem while the stem is still attached to its parent plant. A layer is the rooted stem following detachment from the parent plant. Read more