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Training a geranium up a trellis.

Training a geranium up a trellis

Regal geraniums include many small-leafed and small-flowered pansy and angel types that lend themselves to training up trellises for vertical display in tight spaces. (Untrained, they have a low, mounding growth habit.) These geraniums (Pelargonium domesticum) are sometimes called Lady Washington geraniums. Pictured here is `Rose Bengal', but among other regals that perform well on trellises are `Darmsden', `Madame Layal', and `Roller's Shadow'. To make the espalier shown here, Bill Tufenkian of Los Angeles planted two 4-inch regals in a gallon container. A year later, they had filled the pot, topped the 3-foot-tall trellis, and bloomed profusely from April into June. In coastal climates, plants will bloom again in fall. April is a good month to start. Begin training one or two plants in 4-inch pots by pinching back one side to make it flat enough to fit against the trellis. Fill a gallon container with well-moistened potting soil and transplant the geranium (or geraniums) into the center of the pot. Insert trellis against flat side of plants, being careful not to damage roots. Place the container in a sunny area with the back of the trellis against a wall to encourage upward and outward growth. As plants grow, tie stems to trellis with plastic plant ties or strips of nylons. Pinch terminal growth buds to shape plants. Remove faded blossoms, keep plants well watered but not wet, and provide good air circulation. During the growing season, feed regularly with a complete fertilizer. If plants become too bushy or overgrown the second year, thin in fall by selectively cutting stems back to base of plants. You can find these regal varieties in some retail nurseries. In Southern California, you'll also find them at geranium shows and sales this month and next. By mail, you can get them from Young's Mesa Nursery, 2755 Fowler Lane, Arroyo Grande, Calif. 93420 (catalog $2).

PHOTO : Pinched back flat on one side, plant in 4-inch pot will fit against trellis. Two

PHOTO : geraniums will cover 3-foot trellis in one growing season

PHOTO : To encourage more of the plant's pansy-faced blooms, he picks faded ones
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Date:Apr 1, 1990
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