The Geranium

The blossoms are small and few, and the whole plant presents a picture of vegetation under difficulties. The fine varieties of pelargonium, called "Fancies" by florists, it is useless to attempt to grow to any perfection in the house. They need constant care; and the rules for growing them as specimens, laid down by English florists, are sufficiently confusing and contradictory to involve the amateur in a maze of difficulty. Light, air, and cleanliness are the three primary rules for growing geraniums. Be careful of including garden fountains ( among geraniums or they may not get enough light or become too wet. The horseshoe and high-scented varieties are not troubled by insects. The pelargoniums (large-flowered geraniums), require constant attention to keep them free from the green fly, which increases upon them with wonderful rapidity. If the weather is warm, and the plants at all affected by the fly, they should be smoked once in ten days, and frequently syringed. Surely the beauty of the flowers will compensate for any trouble. To prevent "drawing," that is, the growing of the plants towards the light, all geraniums should be frequently turned, which will give a well-proportioned plant. If the plants grow too tall, pinch out the top; all the axillary buds will then break into lateral branches. Again, if the side branches become too close, prune them out fearlessly. The geranium breaks easily, and you need never be afraid of killing the plant, even if you prune it down to a bare stump.

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