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Pelargonium caffrum, which hails from the coastal hills of the Eastern Cape, develops extra-long flower stems that push through the grasses. Meanwhile, P. crithmifolium wraps a veil around itself after blooming to discourage browsing animals. Others have night-scented flowers that beckon nocturnal pollinators or ample blue-gray leaves that ward off salty sea spray. Ranging from a few inches to several feet wide and tall, some scramble like vines or grow trunks like little trees. Their leaves might be narrow, heart- or palm-shape, densely fuzzy, or sleekly smooth; their flowers (some fringed exotically) come in a spectrum of whites, reds, yellow-greens, and almost-blacks. Most have odd, fleshy roots, which sustain the plants through dormant seasons.
This dainty summer bloomer from South Africa’s Cape Province grows 15 to 18 inches tall in the wild and erupts in fringed, unscented, wine-colored flowers. It dislikes extreme heat, preferring morning sun and shady afternoons. Keep it slightly moist during the growing season.