Scented Pelargonium Fragrances to Try

Choose Which Scent You Prefer from a Wide Variety of Rose-Scented Geraniums


| February/March 1998


• Rose Geranium Tea

I can evoke the scent of summer roses by brushing the leaves of ‘Attar of Roses,’ one of the rose-scented pelargoniums I raise at my nursery and overwinter in the greenhouse. Its fragrance, true to its name, is wonderfully suggestive of roses and lifts my spirits when the weather is cold and rainy and spring seems far off.

The first scented pelargoniums (better known in this country as scented geraniums) were brought to Europe from their native South Africa in the seventeenth century. The Europeans were amazed how the leaves smelled of lime, lemon, mint, and other quite unrelated plants, and they began using them in potpourris. Perfumers soon recognized the potential of rose-scented pelargoniums as a cheap substitute for the more costly attar of roses, or rose oil, the fragrant essential oil distilled from rose petals. Scented pelargoniums are still grown commercially for their oil (called geranium oil in the trade) in France, Egypt, Italy, India, Algeria, the former Soviet Union, and the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean.

Choosing a rose scent

Geranium oil and rose oil share some primary constituents, notably geraniol and citronellol, but they aren’t identical. Even among the pelargoniums classified as rose-scented, some smell more roselike than others due to their chemical makeup. Some have a lemon-rose fragrance, and a few aren’t rose-scented at all even though they have “rose” in their name. These include the pungent-scented ‘Red-Flowered Rose’ and ‘Shrubland Rose,’ ‘Mint-Scented Rose,’ and ‘Camphor Rose.’ Other varieties have been erroneously described as rose-scented or aren’t consistently rose-scented. All of the rose-scenteds recommended below have a well-developed rose or lemon-rose fragrance.

Rose-scenteds offer more than fragrance. Seeing their diversity of leaf silhouettes in a reference book is what gave me an uncontrollable desire to collect all the rose-scented varieties. Small but perky flowers in spring make these attractive plants even more eye-catching.

Rose-scenteds, like other pelargoniums, occasionally produce a genetic mutation in a growing shoot. The mutated branch, called a sport, may have leaves of a different color, size, or shape from those of the rest of the plant. Variations in the foliage are common. If a sport can be successfully propagated by cuttings or tissue culture and is different from any other existing plant, it can be introduced as a new cultivar. Such mutations are often unstable, however, and new shoots that arise from a growing sport may revert to the appearance of the parent plant.





mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!

LEARN MORE



Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265