HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR PELARGONIUMS
Scenteds grow best in a soil slightly on the acidic side, with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. A simple soil test should be done every two years, and the Agricultural Extension Agency in your area does do soil testing, or you can purchase a kit at your local garden center. Remember you get what you pay for, so don’t always go cheaper!
With fertilizing, I prefer a fish emulsion/seaweed extract, which is a slow-release fertilizer that also has a good supply of micronutrients. A feeding once a month will be sufficient for the scenteds, but the plants will tell you more accurately than I can, so pay attention to what they say! If you plant scenteds in a container, I would suggest a fertilizer called Osmocote, which will give you a balanced, prolonged feeding for up to 9 months, so all you have to do is water. They prefer as much sunlight as possible, but afternoon direct sunlight in the summer can quickly kill or burn the foliage of the plant, especially if the container is not well watered or you are in a drought. They grow best in temperatures of 50 to 60 degrees at night and 65 to 75 degrees during the day. Excessive heat can wilt them, so make sure you keep up on the watering!
Scenteds that are not pruned will eventually be leggy and overgrown and begin to look unattractive. To prune, begin by removing the main leader by pinching the bud that is located at the top of the main stem (the terminal bud). this can be done when the plant has at least five leaves or is 4 to 6 inches tall. The nodes (plant buds) which are located at the base of the leaf stems on the main stem will begin to grow a new side shoot. When these new stems have five leaves per stem, again pinch the terminal bud out of them. This process will produce an extremely full and attractive plant in your garden or container. The entire process from cutting to full plant takes about 8 to 12 weeks, so be patient. For disease prevention, pinch off any leaves that may be touching the ground. From this point on you can prune your plant to keep a desired shape or size, or to collect cuttings that can be started for friends and family.