There is nothing like a greenhouse ready for spring that makes you forget about the weather outside. Across our greenhouse, I spotted my favorite geraniums as if they were sending out a beacon just to draw me in. Such is the case with the Caliente and the Calliope series.
If you have longed for geraniums that will give you a summer-long dazzling performance, then you simply must give these geraniums a try. You will probably find it hard to believe that I am touting geraniums that are ivy zonal hybrids, but believe me when I say that you will not be disappointed.
Gardeners on the West Coast love their geraniums.
During trials I participated in, these absolutely clobbered the competition. Not only did they do better than other geraniums, they also beat out several other hot summer bloomers. It wasn’t just our trials but others as well. Some might like Caliente best while others like Calliope, but in the end these were the stalwart summer performers.
There are several colors in each series, one of which is sure to fit your palette, but keep your eyes open for the new 2013 selections, which are Caliente Hot Rose and Calliope Rose Splash.
While these geraniums have won their recognition grounded in the landscape, I can promise they are absolutely exquisite in containers where their true habit can really be shown. Remember they have an ivy geranium habit that is somewhat spreading, so in a window box or in a basket they would be simply unbeatable.
But they do excel in the landscape. Though they have won in absolutely brutal conditions, ideal conditions would be full sun followed by a little shade protection during afternoon’s intense heat. They will perform best when planted in raised beds with fertile organic rich soil. To prepare your soil, loosen it 8 to 12 inches deep, add 2 to 3 inches of organic matter incorporating one pound of 12-6-6 fertilizer per 100 square feet, and then rake the soil smooth.
Geraniums are one of the few flowers that are considered heavy feeders. Unfortunately, many gardeners do not apply enough fertilizer to meet the plants’ nutrient requirements. Feed them with a dilute, water-soluble fertilizer like a 20-20-20 every two weeks or with a granular, controlled-released fertilizer per formula recommendations.