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Scented Geraniums do need good ventilation and air circulation to stay healthy in hot weather...here's a few tips

(July 16, 2013)

Shading, Ventilation, Air Circulation and regular Watering
are essential for healthy Scented Leaf Pelargoniums
especially during hot and sunny periods

In this article we take a look at the importance of Ventilation and Air Circulation - also referred to as AIR FLOW.  
Shading and regular Watering are covered in further articles in our Hot Topics.

Air flow is quite critical to having healthy plants of all types and Scented Leaf Pelargoniums are no exception.  Getting to grips with Ventilation and Air Flow comes with practice and observation and, although it may seem a little daunting to the Beginner, it is something that does need to be mastered in order to have healthy plants. 
The biggest problems of disease and pest build up are usually caused by:

  • SLP's being planted too close together in the garden or containers.  This prevents Air Flow and contributes towards pest build up and disease.
  • Inside rooms have little or no ventilation, i.e. air is static without movement
  • Greenhouse and tunnels - as both of the points above + the SLP's are mainly pot grown and we all tend to ‘maximise’ space.
  • SLP's become pot bound and growth is dense and congested

Here's a few tips:

  • In the Home – think of the inside of your house as an alternative greenhouse, as this is what it is to the SLP’s.
    • Wherever the Scenteds are situated in the home it is important to open windows when it is hot and sunny outside. 
    • Air flow is critical throughout the room and around the plants.  It helps to keep temperatures lower on very hot days and prevents stale air.  However, you are not aiming for major draughts.
    • Always check the base of the stem and the inner growth areas as this is where leaf decay will start.
    • Always remove any dead or decaying leaf matter.  Check daily.
    • When plants become dense and congested it is usually time to move on into a larger pot.
    • If you are careful you won't do any harm to your plants by removing some of the inner branches and thinning them out. You'll be doing them SLP's a big favour as you'll create space for Air Flow to pass through the remaining branches and leave

 

  • Greenhouse & Polytunnel – careful use of ventilation and air flow allows the atmosphere within to remain healthy.
    • Many of the points above for In the Home apply and, as such, I won’t repeat them.
    • The need for Air Flow and Ventilation is assessed on a daily basis and this applies throughout the year.  Practice, Observation and Common Sense are the general rules.  It is about knowing what a plants needs are and how much Air Flow is required on any given day, subject to conditions, and this is something that has to be learnt.  Often the hard way!
    • Air Flow is achieved by opening/closing doors, windows and air vents – this may be one, some or all depending on any particular day.  During the day what is opened or closed might change and need to be modified as the weather/temperature fluctuates.
    • Assess the size of your greenhouse or tunnel.  I mention this as if you have a large inside area Air Flow to the centre often gets overlooked, especially in a tunnel.  A fan to circulate the air evenly might be necessary.
    • Automatic vents for the greenhouse are fairly inexpensive and quite easy to install.  There are several suppiers of Greenhouse air vents on the internet.

 

Vents for greenhouse

Balancing the conditions within a greenhouse or polytunnel may seem like a daunting task.  On the one hand you need to supply Air Flow and on the other hand you don’t want to create a chilled environment.  It’s a fine line and one that can be a little tricky to achieve for the Beginner, especially with Scented Leaf Pelargoniums as they really do not like extreme draughts.  Every greenhouse and polytunnel is different and it is about developing ‘a feel’ for yours.  Practice, Observation, Common Sense……and Experience over time.

  • In the Garden and Containersmany of the points above also apply to SLP’s planted directly in the garden and in containers.  Here’s a few extra tips:
    • Never overcrowd SLP’s when planting, as many do make large plants.  Overcrowding invites pests to invade the ‘undergrowth’ and make this their home.
    • Each Scented Leaf Pelargonium has differing growing habits and it is worth checking out the individual descriptions on our website prior to planting and allow for the recommended spacing.
    • It is very tempting, and I’ve been guilty of this in the past, to plant far too many Starter sized plants in one container.
    • If you notice that a particular SLP is struggling try moving it to a different part of your garden.

I have provided just a brief summary of the many different situations that may have an effect on the Scented Leaf Group.  If you have a read through our Hot Topics you may well find other information that you will find helpful.  Information for Growing and Caring for SLP’s + Pests and Diseases may be viewed at our website by clicking on the links below. 

Growing and Caring Information + Pests & Diseases
http://www.scentedgeraniums.co.uk/scentedgeraniumcare.html

Scented Leaf Pelargonium Growing Leaflet to print off if you have mislaid the one that came with your Order
http://www.scentedgeraniums.co.uk/hottopics_40780.html

If you have any further questions please email us by clicking on the following link – Contact Us

Annie & Guy

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