En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - July 26, 2009

From: Mt. Clemens, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Care of potted non-native geraniums
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in lower Michigan (Mt. Clemens) and recently purchased 2 small, potted geraniums. They are a beautiful vibrant red in color. As the blooms wilt and turn dark, should I snip that part off the stem or just remove the darkened petals?

ANSWER:

There are three species of the genus Geranium native to Michigan, and we're betting none of them are the plant you have. They are: Geranium bicknellii (Bicknell's cranesbill), Geranium carolinianum (Carolina geranium), and Geranium maculatum (spotted geranium).  We'll show you some pictures of a couple of these, and we're sure you will agree that is not what you have. We are pretty sure none of this genus have bright red flowers.

The plants usually sold in the nursery trade under the name "Geranium" are, in fact, members of the Pelargonium genus, which is indigenous to South Africa. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are dedicated to the care, preservation and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. However, while your plants will not appear in our Native Plant Database, we can tell you that it is always a good idea to clip off the stem of a bloom that has wilted, as well as leaves that are yellowing. This website from Flower Gardening Made Easy: Growing geraniums-Great in the garden and in pots, does, indeed, tell you in the first paragraph that they are actually talking about pelargonium. From Google, here are more pictures of your plant.

\

 

From the Image Gallery


Carolina geranium
Geranium carolinianum

Carolina geranium
Geranium carolinianum

Spotted geranium
Geranium maculatum

Spotted geranium
Geranium maculatum

More Non-Natives Questions

Growth of non-native bermudagrass in Snelville GA
July 16, 2011 - How do you grow Bermuda grass successfully in the state of Georgia? Techniques in fertilization, lawn cutting and general maintenance. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Non-native crapemyrtles changing color in Homer LA
June 23, 2009 - I have six natchez crape myrtles, 2 1/2 years old now. This year, one of them has started blooming in a lavender color. Have you ever heard of this?
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for Central California from Concord CA
July 19, 2012 - I live in a part of California where the summers can be very hot and dry but quite cool and wet during the rainy seasons in the wintertime. The soil around my home is very dry, rocky and infertile. I...
view the full question and answer

Suckers on non-native Mayten tree
April 26, 2009 - We have a Meyten tree that has lots of suckers coming up from the roots. We would like to keep the tree, but if we can't find a way to control the suckers, we are considering taking it out. Any sugg...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Japanese red maple exposed to full sun
August 16, 2008 - I planted a Dwarf Japanese Red Maple tree about 3 yrs ago. Until about a month ago it was partially shaded by a massive chestnut tree, that has since been cut down. Now the new growth on my tree appea...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center