Pelargonium macrantaby Filippo Figuera (Vivaio Malvarosa)
May is the month of the Pelargonium "Macranta", also called "Imperiali" or "Regali". In my part, in Sicily, they are often called simply "Pelargoni". The correct denomination is Pelargonium X domesticum, but the name I prefer is "Macranta" because it describes a fundamental characteristic of these plants, the large flower.
The breathtaking beauty of the inflorescences of the "Macranta" is due to the bright colors, the veins and stains on the flowers, the often ruffled edge of the petals. Often we hear that they remember azalea flowers, but only for the shape and size, they are certainly not comparable for the variety of colors, which in Pelargonium "Macranta" is very wide.
These plants have the sad reputation of blooming once. As a grower and enthusiast, I have a duty to vigorously challenge this claim. It is not true that they bloom once or have a short bloom. That's not true! A plant that begins to bloom in April and then continues in May and June, some flowers also gives it in July and August, and then closes in September, it is not a plant that blooms little! I have said it many times: whoever wants ever-blooming plants, buy them plastic or cloth or paper. These also bloom in the dark, do not get sick, do not need water and are as good for the Polo as for the Equator. They are always equal to themselves and do not die. But they don't even live! You only need to remove the dust that settles on the fake flowers from time to time.
The "Macranta" instead should not be dusted! The breeze and rain think about keeping them clean, spraying them, whipping them, and drying them. They are not dead plants! Indeed they are battle plants. Those who would like more from these plants should remember how generous they are, how much they have been a reference point for our grandmothers' terraces and gardens for decades. The "Macranta" are plants that never stand still. They grow quickly, even if cultivated in pots, becoming of often imposing dimensions, and in spring they are an explosion of flowers, spots of a single color: in some cases the green of the foliage remains almost completely hidden. The "Macrantas" also have another characteristic that is on average little known, the perfume of the leaves, not defined and clear like that of the odorous Pelargonium, but still significant. For many it is the geranium par excellence. All the ancient balconies have one, perhaps a long and twisted branch, why not, even a meter long, which already descends from a foreground with its tuft of flowers on the top.
Countless varieties exist. Together with the "Zonali" it is the largest Pelargonium group. It is often difficult to recognize the varieties, even when you have illustrated texts, catalogs, websites, videos in your hands. The leaves almost never help. Therefore one can rely almost only on flowering. Once again, the text "1001 pelargonium" by Hazel Key, but also the website of his nursery can come to our aid. But there are many other sites, often full of photos, nurseries or associations.