The rewards of cultivating pellies, says Parer, far outweigh the demands. As the plants cycle through the year, they dramatize “the subtle intricacies of nature.” The greatest challenge might be laying hands on these collectors’ gems, which, admittedly, is part of their charm. “You have to really look,” Parer says. “It’s like a treasure hunt!”
The first pelargonium introduced to England in the 17th century, this species has been cultivated for 400 years. Bonsai enthusiasts grow it high in the pot, exposing its knobbed tuber, which the plant doesn’t mind. It has night-scented winter blossoms, and its leaf color and form varies.