While commonly known as geraniums, these annual types are of the genus Pelargonium. They are hardy only to zone 9. That leaves much of the US out of loop when it comes to leaving them in the ground year round. Fortunately, they aren't expensive plants to buy every spring.
So let's clear up this confusion about geraniums once and for all.
"What confusion?" you may ask. Geraniums are those flowers you see in planters on the patio at McDonald's and your grandma had them in her window boxes. They come in red, white, and pink. They don't survive freezing temperatures, so if you live in the northern zones, you either have to bring them in for the winter, or buy new ones each spring.
That's right, isn't it? Not exactly.
We do call those geraniums, but they're really Pelargoniums. But there are geraniums that really ARE geraniums and they're perennials. So why are Pelargoniums called geraniums if they're Pelargoniums and geraniums are another thing altogether?
While you wrap your head around those thoughts, let me show you some photos of my Pelargoniums.
This past fall, I decided to try the drying method of overwintering my Pelargoniums, instead of leaving them in their pots when I brought them in. It's now time to pot them up and see if they'll take off and grow. I think at least a few of them will, because I see green on them now!
Of these types of geraniums, there are zonal, seed, ivy, stellar, scented, regal and fancy-leafed. A concise explanation of each of these types can be found here. At Our Little Acre, we have grown all except the seed type. Regal geraniums are also known as Martha Washington geraniums here in the US, as well as pansy geraniums because their blooms resemble those of pansies.
Here in Ohio, as in many other areas, hardy geraniums grow wild. We have "relocated" several small clumps that we found in a nearby woods and along an abandoned railroad track, to our "Wildflower Way" area. I've also got several hybridized cultivars scattered throughout the gardens: