Most geraniums belong to one of six groups, with the most common types being zonal, ivy, regal, and scented; less common are the angel and unique geraniums.


Americana® Rose Ice Zonal Geranium. Photo by: Proven Winners.

Zonal geraniums are the colorful backbone of many summer gardens. Named for the zone of darker color on the leaf, which is very pronounced in some plants, but less visible in others. They have succulent stems with rounded, light to deep green leaves that are often variegated with darker colors and have a pungent smell. Their flowers grow in clusters and can be single, semi-double, or double. Blooms come in shades of red, purple, pink, white, orange, and rarely yellow. Most zonals will grow to 24 inches tall and wide. There are dwarf and miniature varieties 5 to 8 inches in size.


Photo by: aniana / Shutterstock

Ivy geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum) are trailing plants that can spread up to 48 inches. They are named for the lobed, sometimes pointed, leaves that resemble ivy (Hedera spp.) plants. The bright, glossy green leaves can reach 3 inches across. Clusters of single or double flowers bloom in shades of red, pink, mauve, purple, or white.


Boldly® Coral. Photo by: Proven Winners.

This unique hybrid combines the best traits of zonal and ivy geraniums. Interspecific geraniums (Pelargonium interspecific) produce large flowers that are characteristic of zonal geraniums, with the vigorous semi-trailing habit of ivy geraniums. Plants bloom prolifically and have good heat tolerance.


Pelargonium 'Rimfire'.
Photo by: Garden World Images Ltd. / Alamy Stock Photo

Regal or Martha Washington geraniums (Pelargonium domesticum) produce clusters of large, showy flowers in shades of red, pink, purple, orange, white, or reddish-black, some with eye-catching patterns. Mid-green leaves are rounded, sometimes lobed or partially toothed. Heights range from 12 to 48 inches.


Photo by: Clare Gainey / Alamy Stock Photo

Scented-leaf geraniums release their scent when their leaves are brushed or crushed. Their mid-green leaves are sometimes variegated, and clustered flowers bloom in shades of mauve, pink, purple, or white. There are over 140 varieties in a wide range of scents, including P. capitatum (rose), P. crispum (lemon), P. denticulatum (pine), P. fragrans (apple), P. graveolens (rose), P. grossularoides (coconut), P. odoratissimum (apple) and P. tomentosum (peppermint). The lemon-scented varieties are useful as a mosquito-repelling plant. When allowed to grow in the ground, scented-leaf varieties can get quite large.


Pelargonium 'Darmsden'.
Photo by: Clare Gainey / Alamy Stock Photo

Angel geraniums (Pelargonium x), a cross of P. crispum and regal geranium, produce flowers with striking patterns in shades of pink, purple, mauve, or white. Mid-green leaves are rounded, crinkled, and sometimes scented. Plants have a bushier habit and range from 9 to 36 inches in height.

See more on how to grow geraniums.

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