Pelargoniums and Geraniums

Study Geraniums and Pelargoniums at home. 100 hour course enthusiasts and horticulturists. Developed by John Mason author of Geraniums & Pelargoniums.

Course CodeVHT113
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Learn all About Pelargoniums & Geraniums

A course for
  • passionate amateurs
  • professionals in the nursery industry
  • plant breeders, collectors, or anyone else who loves pelargoniums and geraniums. 
Pelargoniums and Geraniums may often be relatively easy to grow, but growing them to perfection takes knowledge and skill.
These are fast growing plants that thrive in a wide range of soils and climates; but getting the best from these plants and keeping them alive through adverse conditions can sometimes be more of a challenge than first anticipated.
These are some of the most widely grown plants across much of the temperate world.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Review of the system of plant identification
    • Physiology
    • Information sources
  2. Culture
    • Planting
    • Staking
    • Mulching
    • Watering
    • Feeding
    • Soils
    • Pruning
  3. Propagation
    • Methods of propagating geraniums and pelargoniums
    • Cuttings
    • Seed
    • Propagation materials and equipment
  4. Using Geraniums & Pelargoniums
    • Landscaping With Geraniums
    • Growing in baskets
    • Hydroponics
    • Rock gardens
    • Growing in Tubs
    • Planting design
  5. Pests and Diseases
    • Diagnosing problems
    • Hygiene
    • Chemical control
    • Non chemical control
  6. Irrigation
    • Manual & automatic
    • Capillary
    • Disease implications
  7. Greenhouse Management
    • Types of Greenhouses
    • Other Growing Structures
    • Plant Needs
    • Temperature Control
  8. Special Project
    • A research project into one major group such as species geraniums or pelargoniums, Regals, Zonals, Ivy Leaf, etc.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

What are Pelargoniums and Geraniums?

The classification of 'Geraniums' can be very confusing. 

From a scientific viewpoint, geraniums and pelargoniums are two different groups of plants!

The majority of plants commonly called Geraniums, including the ivy-leaved geraniums, scented-leaved geraniums, miniature geraniums, and zonals, are in fact members of the Genus Pelargonium. 

The family of Geraniaceae includes 11 genera of herbaceaous shrubs distributed throughout the world. The flowers are bisexual (i.e. they have both male and female components), with usually five separated petals and five separate or partly united sepals. The stamen number is either 5, 10 or 15, sometimes lacking the anthers. The ovary (female part) is superior and 3-5 lobed. The fruit is regarded as a regna. 

Genera of this family include Erodium, Geranium, Monsonia, Pelargonium and Sarcocaulon. These genera may be distinguished by the following botanical features:
  • Geranium - flowers regular (actinomorphic), 10 fertile stamens.
  • Pelargonium - flowers irregular (zygomorphic), 10 stamens, not more than 7 being fertile.


Geraniums are often called "Crane's Bills". They occur widely around temperate zones of the world. 

 Appearance: Rhizomatous perennials and sub-shrubs which are usually, but not always, evergreen. True geraniums are not to be confused with the larger leafed and showier, scented pelargonium species which are also often commonly called geraniums. Leaves of crane's bills are usually finely hairy and palmately lobed – with lobes being toothed. The simple flowers have 5 petals and appear in summer, often on wiry stems, in colours of pink, purple-black, and sometimes white. The seed capsules resemble a crane’s bill, hence the common name.  

Culture: Grow in moist rich soils in part shade to full sun. 

Propagation: Self-sowing - seeds, division and cuttings. Division should be undertaken from autumn through to spring. Likewise, seeds may be sown during this time during favourable weather conditions.

Health: True geraniums are usually relatively pest and disease free. Occasionally they are affected by sucking insects; and in humid conditions, by fungal diseases.

Uses: Woodland gardens, wild gardens, container planting, herbal medicine (some species).

Cultivars/Species: There are over 300 species in the genus including the following popular garden species. There are also many hundreds, if not thousands, of named cultivars and hybrids. Here are just a few: 

 G. cinereum - to 15cm tall x 30cm spread with grey-green kidney shaped leaves and red flowers. There are many cultivars with flowers ranging from shades of red to pink.

G. endressii - to 45cm x 45cm with mid green leaves and pale pink flowers. 

G. macrorrhizum - to 40cm tall x 45cm spread with scented leaves and pale pink flowers.

G. pratense (Meadow Crane's Bill) - to 60cm x 60cm with blue to violet flowers with red veins. 

G. sanguineum (Bloody Crane's Bill) - to 25cm tall x 45cm spread with red to pinkish-red flowers. Makes a good ground cover.


Where to Grow them?

The're mostly grown in temperate climates; but some cultivars tolerate colder, hotter or more humid conditions than others.

  • They are widely used landscape plants, in both private and public gardens.
  • Grown in the ground, as well as in containers.
  • Some are tall and spreading, others are tiny, compact plants, suited to rockeries or pot culture.
  • In colder places they may be treated as annuals for summer colour; or grown in pots or baskets and kept in a greenhouse over the colder months  

This course is an excellent way of building your plant knowledge and extending your understanding of these plants; as a nurseryman, landscaper, gardener, breeder or collector.

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Marie Beermann

Marie has more than 10 years experience in horticulture and education in both Australia and Germany. Marie's qualifications include B. Sc., M. Sc. Hort., Dip. Bus., Cert. Ldscp.
Rosemary Davies

Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (c
John Mason

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.
Adriana Fraser

Over 30 years working in horticulture, as a gardener, propagator, landscape designer , teacher and consultant. Adriana has spent much of her life living on large properties, developing and maintaining her own gardens, and living a semi self sufficient li