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The geranium is the most common type of plant to be found within a science department. Its versatility, hardiness and ability to survive make it ideal when watering is infrequent, and students pull every single leaf off the plant in practicals.

Red flowered geranium


Although the common name for the plant is Geranium, the term geranium is actually a botanical genus of over 400 species of plants. The plants that reside in prep-rooms will generally be of the Pelargonium genus, which covers about 200 species. The term pelargonium has never been successfully adopted by gardeners, and the much older term Geranium is far more popular, and the term will be continued to be used throughout this article.


Uncommon Uses

  • Investigating Insect Repellent: Geranium has long been used in natural insect repellents, especially for dogs where severe allergic reactions can occur when they are exposed to DEET. The 'oil' is extracted from the leaves by distillation, and can take place at the same time as the lemon and eucalyptus extraction. The extractions are then placed in choice chambers. This is a higher level bio-chemistry practical, suitable for year 13 only.
  • How Science Works: A discussion on the use of plants within the beauty industry, mainly commenting on perfumes and smells. Geranium Pelargonium graveolens is used because of its rose like smell after processing. Perfumes that contain geranium are LOLA by Marc Jacobs, Une Rose Chyprée by Tauer Perfumes, and Jacomo de Jacomo by DEEP BLUE and they can be compared to the smell of geranium essential oil and a geranium in flower.
  • Flowers are suitable for pressing.


  • Light- Keep in full sun
  • Water- Infrequent watering. The general rule is, if the soil is dry, the plant needs a drink.
  • Temperature- Room temperature, 15-26°C comfortably. But they prefer colder temperatures.
  • Flowering- Flowers should appear in its 2nd or 3rd year. Once flowers have started to die off, pinch out the entire flower head to encourage the plant to produce another, or just leave to let it go to seed.
  • Leaves- The leaves bear special mention. Once they start going yellow and brown, it is best to cut them off. Once dying, they rot very quickly, and can spread the rot to the rest of the plant.
  • Propagation- It will grow from any stem cuttings. Take cuttings of 4cm to 8cm with at least one leaf. It will root within 3 weeks. For more information on cuttings, visit this wiki page

Special Notes

Some people are allergic to Geraniums, and although the reaction comes from medicines made with geranium extracts, the student or teacher with this condition may wish to limit their contact.

Many people find the smell unpleasant, so it may be best to keep them out of the way.

Always wash your hands after touching Geraniums. The sap can cause a mild irritation to the skin.

Further Reading

--Dani 10:57, 18 March 2010 (UTC)