Pelargonium cordifolium (Cav.) Curt.

Family : Geraniaceae
Common name : Heart-leaved pelargonium

Pelargonium cordifolium

Pelargonium cordifolium is a spreading, branched aromatic shrub, reaching a height of more than 1,5 metres. The main stem is woody at the base, while the side branches are herbaceous and covered with hairs of variable density. It has beautiful foliage. Cordifolium refers to the heart-shaped (cordate) leaves which may be flat or curled.

Flowers of P. cordifoliumThis attractive pelargonium flowers from June to January with a peak in September (spring) . The flowers are borne in a branched inflorescence terminating in several (4-8) flowered umbel-like groups. The two upper petals of the flower are much larger than the three lower ones. The upper petals are usually pink or purple with darker purple veins. The lower petals are lighter in colour .

Three varieties have been recognised on the basis of leaf characteristics. One of the varieties featured in the Garden has distinctly red stems and very attractive foliage with glabrous (smooth and free from hair) leaves.

Pelargonium cordifolium occurs mainly near the coast in the southern and Eastern Cape, from the Bredasdorp area eastwards to KingWilliamstown. It usually grows in rather moist places in fynbos or at the margins of forests or even in forests.


How to grow Pelargonium cordifolium

P. cordifolium is best propagated by means of cuttings. Tip cuttings are best taken in late summer/ autumn. The base of the cutting should be just below a leaf node. Remove all the lower leaves. Dip the base of the cutting into a rooting hormone powder and plant in clear, coarse river sand. Acontainer 150 mm in depth is ideal. Place cuttings in light shade. By early spring the cuttings will be well rooted and ready to be planted out in a well-drained soil mixture.

Author: Ebrahim Lawrence
September 2000

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