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Pelargonium papilionaceum
  • RHS AGM

butterfly geranium

A tender perennial, vigorous species pelargonium with large, heart-shaped, scented green leaves and delicate-looking pink to pale pink single flowers with darker pink blotches and three linear lower petals from spring to early autumn.

Other common names
rambossie

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Size
Ultimate height
1.5–2.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
1.5–2.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Pink Green
Summer Pink Green
Autumn Pink Green
Winter Green
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

East–facing or South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H1C
Botanical details
Family
Geraniaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Pelargonium can be perennials, sub-shrubs or shrubs, sometimes succulent and mostly evergreen, with palmately lobed or pinnately divided leaves and clusters of slightly irregular, 5-petalled flowers

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Temp S Africa

How to grow

Cultivation

Will grow well in a frost-free environment, in well-drained fertile neutral to alkaline soil, preferably in full sun but will tolerate some partial shade, in borders or containers. Irrigate moderately from spring to summer, and sparingly in winter allowing the compost to dry up between waterings. Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season and switch to a high potassium fertilizer when flowering starts. Overwinter in containers before the first frost in autumn. See Pelargonium cultivation for further advice.

Propagation

Propagate from softwood cuttings from spring to autumn.

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Patio and container plants
  • Low Maintenance
  • Conservatory and greenhouse
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Pinch back tips of shoots in spring or early summer and deadhead to promote flowering.

Pests

May be susceptible to Thrips, vine weevil, Leafhopper, Root mealybugs, Whitefly.

Diseases

May be susceptible to Pelargonium rust, Pelargonium virus, Leafy gall.

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