Scented Leaf Pelargoniums - winter update - tips for growing indoors

(December 30, 2009)

See also article 14th November 2009 for winter care tips.  Here you will find a step by step guide on how to care for Scenteds during the cold winter months.
Here's an example of a Scented Leaf Pelargonium, Deerwood Lavender Lad, that doesn't like its home or conditions - we received this photo from a Customer late December 09:
DL Lad crispy leaves
There is a combination of problems and they are:
  • plant pot is too small for the size of the plant.  Needs to be at least 3 times larger or more.
  • poor quality non-draining compost has been used.
  • DL Lad has not been planted at the correct depth.  It is OK to plant the shrubby stem below compost level and just beneath the lower leaves.
  • location - this plant has been sat too close to direct heat, i.e. a radiator. This is evident due to the dried out crispy leaves.
  • incorrect watering, it is always better to water from below and let the plant decide how much it needs.  It is never a good idea to let plants dry out completely, followed by overwatering.
  • natural light levels too low, resulting in spindly growth as the plant tries to grow towards daylight.  Scenteds do require some natural light even during the winter months - South to South West facing is recommended.  North facing isn't suitable.
  • Decaying leaf matter should always be removed swiftly to avoid attracting pests.
Central Heating Warning
applies to UK
Dec 09 and into 2010
Check where your plants are located
is it too hot?
We are experiencing one of the coldest winters since 1991 and it looks as if it will be continuing for a while yet.  Due to this most of us have increased our indoor heating and it is important that you reassess where your pots of Scenteds are located. 
You also need to check each plants watering requirements more frequently to ensure that the pots do not completely dry out otherwise you will find it quite difficult to get the compost to rehydrate evenly.
If you spot crispy looking dried out leaves this is a tell tale sign that the plant's location needs changing, i.e. too near a hot radiator - move to somewhere cooler.
Closed curtains - do not leave your plants behind closed curtains and next to the cold glass at night.
If you have any concerns please do not hesitate to Contact Us and it is always helpful if you send a photo.
Annie and Guy
Scented Leaf Pelargoniums are a resilient group of plants and will take quite a lot of neglect, however, they will reward you for years if you just follow a few basic care routines.  It has to be worth a few minutes a week to keep your plants healthy!
There are lots of Care Tips throughout our website and the 14th November article in Hot Topics is an easy to follow quick reference guide.

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