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

Non-native tomato plant in Austin
August 30, 2010 - I have an upside-down tomato plant, started on July 4. For several weeks there have been 7 green tomatoes, with no further growth or ripening,despite daily watering. Am I doing something wrong?
view the full question and answer

Non-native cannas in Sugar Land, TX
September 24, 2009 - I just planted some beautiful canna lilies along my fenceline (about 8 inches off the property line and 2 ft between each plant). My neighbor complained that they were going to go wild and sprout up o...
view the full question and answer

Lavender near Austin TX
July 10, 2011 - Are there places to view blooming lavender near Austin in July 2011?
view the full question and answer

Care for non-native Mexican ruellia in Monroe LA
October 27, 2009 - Dwarf Mexican Petunia I have found information that late in the season, when growth becomes leggy, cut back plants by as much as a half to force a new spurt of growth. Watch for tobacco bud wo...
view the full question and answer

When to plant bermudagrass in East Texas
July 17, 2009 - When to plant Bermuda grass in East TX, Center, Nacodoches, Lufkin and Center area?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center