NZ Gardener - - Flowers -

• Pe­largo­ni­ums thrive on ne­glect but will per­form even bet­ter with the right treat­ment. If drainage is top notch, they won’t be fussy about soil con­di­tions. In pots, use a high qual­ity pot­ting mix con­tain­ing per­lite or ver­mi­culite with well-rot­ted or­ganic com­post thor­oughly mixed in. • Most are drought tol­er­ant. Wa­ter spar­ingly in the colder months and only when the sur­face of the soil is dry dur­ing sum­mer. Give your pe­largo­ni­ums plenty of air (don’t crowd plants) and most should be po­si­tioned in a sunny spot for good flow­er­ing. How­ever, cul­ti­vars from the Re­gal group pre­fer par­tial shade and those from the Zonal group will tol­er­ate some shade, espe­cially in the mid­dle of the day. Pro­tect from frost in colder areas.

• For a bushy plant pinch off tips reg­u­larly, like­wise with dead­head­ing to pro­long flow­er­ing. A hard prune in spring will re­ju­ve­nate strag­gly plants.

• Feed ev­ery 10-14 days in spring with a bal­anced liq­uid fer­tiliser but once flow­ers start to form, switch to a high potas­sium fer­tiliser such as Yates Thrive Flower & Fruit.

• Al­though long-lived, plants can lose vigour as they age, and with it their re­sis­tance to pests and dis­eases. Sap suck­ers – leaf­hop­per, thrips, white­fly and mealy­bug – can be a prob­lem, and damp con­di­tions com­bined with in­suf­fi­cient air cir­cu­la­tion en­cour­ages grey mould and rust. Re­mov­ing lower dead or yel­low leaves will im­prove air flow around plants. Avoid wa­ter­ing fo­liage.

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