Scented Geraniums: Another Fragrant Beauty

Did you know that there are more than 100 varieties of scented geraniums in with interesting varieties such as mint, rose, apple, apricot, nutmeg, lemon, orange, lime, ginger, cinnamon and coconut? These are not the mass produced geraniums you see in every garden center in the spring.

Scented Geraniums

Lemon Scented Geranium ~ Scented Geraniums ~

Those geraniums also known as zonal geraniums display a beautiful array of flowers in many colors, but they are not fragrant. Though both are called geraniums they are actually from the family called Pelargonium. A true geranium, though related, is a hardy perennial and a totally different plant. You can read more about hardy perennial geraniums here.

Rose-Geranium ~ scented geraniums ~

Scented geraniums are prized more for their leaves and produce small delicate flowers. Both the flowers and leaves are edible. A common use in cooking are making a scented geranium pound cake lining the pan with scented geranium leaves. Another is making scented geranium sugar by layering the leaves in a jar of sugar. After a week or so you will have scented sugar to use as you wish.Citronella plant ~ scented geraniums ~

You may be familiar with a scented geranium known as the mosquito plant or Pelargonium citrosum. This plant can usually be found at most big box stores and nurseries in the summer. Some claim it wards off pests but in reality, it does not contain citronella oil; it just has a citronella-like scent.

Scented geraniums are native to South Africa and are considered tender perennials hardy only to zones 9-11. This means you need to bring them in during the winter if you live in a colder climate. Just put them in a sunny window and water well once a week. In late spring start acclimating them to the outdoors again by gradually leaving them outside for a few hours during the day and bring them back inside at night. Increase the amount of time daily until the nighttime temperature reach over 50 degrees.

Lady Grey Plymouth ~ Scented Geraniums ~


Scented geranium are known to get leggy and should be pinched back to encourage a bushy shape. I’ve read that they can be trained as a standard which I think would be beautiful and may even try training one myself. In the meantime I enjoy rubbing the leaves as I walk by and enjoying their wonderful scent.

If  you like a plant with fragrance, this just may be the one for you.


Learn about scented geraniums whose foliage is the star of the show. There are many different varieties and many grow well indoors during the winter.



About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Hearth and Vine, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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  1. Happy Almost Spring! Thanks for helping me think about my porch pots with the scented geraniums. I just saw an article on the perils of gardening. Maybe you could do something that shows the health benefits and how to be safe. Maybe a great way to go viral! Have a great day!

    • Hi Jill,
      Happy Spring to you! The warmer weather is finally here!!
      I love your health and safety idea.
      I’ll add it to my schedule.
      Have a great day and thanks, as always for your lovely comments!

  2. Could you explain how to pinch back geraniums. My seem to ramble all over the place.

    • Hi Dorothy,

      Sure. All I do is pinch with my fingers or cut with scissors etc.. just above the area where a leaf stem is growing. The plant should branch out from there. So if you have a large plant you cut back as much as you want, maybe one third, making your cut above that leaf node. Then if you want you root the cuttings in water or in a soilless mix and then you’ll have more to grow or give away.
      Let me know if that answers your question or you need more information and have a great day.

  3. I forgot all about these sweet delicate flowers! These would be a great plant to introduce to my daughter’s Girl Scout troop. …might plant a “gardening seed” in their pretty little heads! Thanks for the idea.

  4. I always love learning new things when I visit you! Scented geraniums are a plant I’ve never had experience with, and I love the idea of strong-scented plants. Gardenias are our most popular here. I’d love to add something a little different – I’m going to check these out!
    Thanks for the great tips and information you always share.

    • Thanks Karen, you will start to love them and they can easily be ordered online if you can’t find any nearby.
      They may last outside all year long in your neck of the woods.

  5. I’ve just moved to Oregon from Santa Barbara. I had a garden full of scented geraniums! Where do I get them up here?

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