Growing Geranium, Scented

Care of Plants On Arrival: Open the shipping box and remove the pots as soon as possible after arrival. Your plants have spent up to 3 days in the box, with no light and no water and may show evidence of wilting or have yellow leaves. They now need light, air circulation and proper moisture. If the soil in the pot is dry, water immediately by setting the pot in a saucer of water for an hour or so, but not longer. Place the plants in bright but indirect light indoors, or if temperatures permit, in a shady location protected from wind outdoors. Over a few days, gradually expose them to more and more sunlight.

Scented Geraniums Outdoors: Your new geranium plants should be transplanted to larger containers or into your garden within 2 weeks of receipt. When you transplant, loosen the surface roots slightly from the root ball to encourage them to grow out into the surrounding soil. Protect plants from freezing and from abrupt changes in weather. Feed monthly with fish emulsion or a good all-purpose fertilizer at the rate and frequency suggested by the manufacturer.In temperate and coastal areas, plant scented geraniums in full sun; in hot-summer climates, put them in partial shade or indirect sun. They are not picky about soil but do require good drainage. If your soil is exceedingly alkaline, dig in peat moss or compost before planting. In areas colder than Zone 9, transplant scented geraniums into containers and move them inside before the first frost is due, or simply treat them as annuals and replace them with new plants in spring.Scented geraniums make excellent container plants. Use a light, well-drained potting mix and choose pots with adequate drainage holes. Proper watering of plants in containers is important. As a rule, the top inch of the potting mix should be allowed to dry before you water. Be sure to water your plants enough so that excess water drains from the bottom of the pot, but don't leave them sitting in water; the roots will suffocate and rot in saturated potting mix. Do not use artificially softened water because it contains sodium, which is toxic to plants.

Growing Scented Geraniums Indoors: A south- or west-facing window that lets in lots of light is ideal for growing scented geraniums. You'll need to shade your plants in the heat of summer, but in the winter they will thrive. Since geraniums are day-length sensitive plants, at least half of the light they receive should be direct sunlight, or they will not grow actively. If necessary, supplement the available natural sunlight with artificial light in the winter months. Pinch plants regularly to promote lush growth and maintain a bushy habit. In general, allow three pairs of leaves to form on a stem before pinching. Smaller leaved varieties may be pinched back more often.In the dry conditions of a home with central heating, you need to increase the relative humidity of the air around your scented geraniums. Place the pots on a bed of gravel in a waterproof tray and fill the tray with water. Set the pot on the pebbles above the water to prevent root rot.Good air circulation and frequent removal of dead and damaged leaves will go a long way toward keeping your plants healthy. The biggest pest of scented geraniums is the whitefly, a tiny white insect that lurks on the undersides of the leaves and rises into the air when you run your hand over the foliage. To eliminate whiteflies, spray the undersides of the leaves with insecticidal soap formulated for indoor use. Spray again a week later to take care of the next hatching of young. It's a good idea to use this spray once a month because whiteflies are very persistent. Botrytis, or gray mold, is a fungal disease that appears when conditions are damp and cold. Clean culture is the best prevention. Remove dead leaves that collect on top of the soil, as they may harbor mold spores. Botrytis starts on the leaves as a gray mold. If you detect it early, you may be able to save the plant by pinching off the affected area. If you need to pinch off all or almost all of the leaves, water sparingly until your plant sprouts new leaves and is actively growing.

Orange Scented Geranium Iced Tea:

  • 4 teabags or 2 tablespoons loose black tea leaves
  • 6 medium size, orange scented geranium leaves, washed
  • 12 cloves
  • thinly sliced lemon or orange
  • crushed ice
  • sugar
Place the tea, geranium leaves and cloves in a warmed teapot. Fill with 2 cups boiling water. Let steep for 5 minutes, then strain, cool and chill. Fill tumblers with crushed ice, then pour in the tea, and finish each glass with lemon or orange slices. Sweeten to taste. Serves 4.

Ginger Scented Geranium Honey.

  • 4 to 5 tablespoons chopped ginger scented geranium leaves
  • 1 pint honey
  • 1 clove
  • 1 allspice berry
Place geranium leaves in a small saucepan and bruise them with the back of a wooden spoon. Add honey, clove and allspice berry. Warm mixture over low heat for a few minutes, stirring well. Pour honey mixture into a sterilized jar. Seal tightly and place in a sunny window or warm place for 1 week to 10 days while the flavors blend. Heat honey again until it becomes liquid, then strain out geranium leaves and spices. Pour into a sterilized glass jar and seal tightly.

Robers Lemon-Rose Ice Cream (Adapted from a recipe by James O'Shea, chef at the West Street Grill, Litchfield, Connecticut, in Edible Flowers from Garden to Palate, by Cathy Barash, Fulcrum Publishing). You'll have your guests guessing with this deliciously floral ice cream.
  • 5 to 7 Robers Lemon-Rose geranium leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Robers Lemon-Rose geranium flower petals
  • 1 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Combine leaves, petals and half-and-half in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat immediately. Allow to cool for 20 minutes. In a small stainless steel saucepan, whisk together sugar and egg yolks. Continue to whisk until mixture is light and frothy. Slowly whisk in half-and-half. Simmer over low heat, stirring continually until custard coats the back of a wooden spoon. Strain custard into a bowl and set into an ice bath to cool. Beat heavy cream until it forms peaks. Gently fold cream into the cooled custard. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Remove from ice cream maker and place in freezer overnight to set. Serve in small glasses garnished with sprigs and flowers of Robers Lemon-Rose geraniums. Serves 4 to 6.

Cornish Game Hens With Ginger Scented Geranium Honey Glaze:

  • 4 Cornish game hens, about 1 pound each
  • 1/2 cup ginger scented geranium honey
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 8 ginger scented geranium leaves, cut into julienned strips, and 3 to 4 flowers, if available, for garnish
Rinse hens and pat dry. Split the breast and flatten hens. In a shallow dish large enough to contain the hens, combine the honey, orange juice, cinnamon and dry mustard to make a paste. Add the hens, coating them thoroughly with the honey mixture. Marinate hens in the mixture, skin side down, overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place hens in a large baking pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until juices run clear. Before serving, garnish each hen with the julienned geranium leaves and the flowers, if available. Serves 4.

Rose Scented Geranium Sugar: Easy to make, this fragrant sugar goes well in iced or hot tea, lemonade, or punch, and is delicious sprinkled over sugar cookies. Mix it with fresh sour cream, yogurt or creame fraiche as an excellent accompaniment to fresh berries, or use it to make a floral icing for your favorite cake.

  • 1 large handful rose scented geranium leaves
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
Wash and thoroughly dry geranium leaves, then bruise them between the palms of your hands. Pour 1/2 cup of the sugar into a 4-cup mason jar and place a layer of leaves on top. Add another 1/2 cup sugar, then another layer of leaves. Proceed in this manner until jar is full. Cap tightly, and let flavors infuse for a week before using.

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