March is generally regarded as the month when temperatures start to fall, and it’s a good time to plant new shrubs and trees, and to take cuttings of semi-hardwood plants such as honeysuckle and Mexican blood trumpet, and of perennials such as pelargoniums – those cheerful plants that so many gardeners refer to as geraniums.
There’s no doubt that autumn is approaching; the leaves on the oaks are starting to get their end-of-summer yellow tinge. Changing weather conditions mean that hot spells can crop up in April, of course, but nevertheless this is a good time of year to plant new shrubs and trees, and to take cuttings of semi-hardwood shrubs such as honeysuckle and Mexican blood trumpet, and of perennials such as vivid pelargoniums, known commonly as geraniums.
To take cuttings of pelargoniums, cut 5–10 cm sections from the tips of the stems. Carefully remove the lower leaves, make sure you have cut cleanly across the stem and dip the cutting in suitable root hormone powder (available from your local garden centre). Place the stem in a container filled with equal parts by volume of sand and peat. Shade the cuttings from direct sunlight and keep the soil moist but not wet.
Many hybrid pelargoniums have been developed, mainly from species that are indigenous to South Africa. With flowers ranging from pink to white and purple to red, and with leaves that are variegated, ivy-shaped or scented, these happy and easy-to-grow plants can fill a bed or pots with a profusion of colour.