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Author Bio Biographical statement from the author of Growing and Selling Fresh Cut Herbs.

Speaker
Sandie is a speaker
that will bring a wealth
of information to any
event.

Consultant
Learn how to grow
herbs efficiently

Growing and Selling
Fresh-Cut Herbs

Looking for a great gift for that favorite gardener? Here you'll find out where to buy this book or how to
order it online.

Herb of the
Month

Check here each
month for a new herb, featuring: growing,
care and uses.

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Send your questions to the author by e-mail. They will be answered personally and may be included on this page for others to read.

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Herb of the Month

Over the next year, the herb of the month feature will focus on those unusual herbs that a professional grower may occasionally be asked to supply.  These profiles are supplied by Herbalpedia

SCENTED GERANIUMS

Pelargonium spp
[pe-lar-GO-nee-um]


Description: In their native habitat of the Cape of Good Hope, the scented geraniums are perennial.  In most of the US, they are treated as annuals or tender perennials.  The leaf form is highly variable and the leaf texture can be smooth, velvety or even sticky.  It is the back of the leaf that releases the scent for which each geranium is known and named.  There are over fifty different geraniums with a rose odor.  Some can reach a height of four feet in mild areas.  They bloom in June and July in hues of lavender and pink. These are usually variations of Pelargonium graveolens.  ‘Lady Plymouth’ grows very large, yet is slow growing.  The leaf is deeply cut light green with a strong aroma.  It is a vigorous plant with deeply cut gray green leaves bordered with white.  ‘Rober’s Lemon Rose’ has one of the sweetest rose scents and flavors.  The leaf is long and thick, resembling a tomato leaf.  Pelargonium capitatum ‘Attar of Roses’ is considered by many the best of the rose-scented geraniums.  Its three-lobed, crenated leaves are light green, soft and hairy and the flowers are lavender. 
            Lemon geranium leaves are usually flatter, with edges more toothed than rose geraniums.  They also bloom in June and July, often with pink flowers.  Pelargonium crispum has one of the finest lemon scents.  The leaves are small, fluted and ruffled, growing on upright stems. The flowers are orchid pink.  Pelargonium crispum  ‘Prince Rupert’ with its strong lemon scent can easily grow into a small shrub in a good growing season.  Pelargonium fragrans ‘Nutmg’ has a strong scent.  It creeps, making it excellent at the edge of a border or in a planter allowed to trail down the sides.  The leaves are small and grayish green.

Culture: Scented geraniums are well suited for growing in containers, but can also be planted in the ground.  They thrive in sunny location in evenly moist soil.  They are occasionally grown from seed but do better from rooted cuttings.  Water them well several hours before taking cuttings.  Cut “slips” 3 to 5 inches long with a very sharp knife or nurseryman’s clippers, sterilized with alcohol.  The best cuttings are from a stem that “snaps.”  Cut below an internode at an angle and remove lower leaves and stipules.  Lay the cuttings out for 24 hours to “callus.”  This stimulates the growth of new cells on the wound.  Filtered light, a dry atmosphere, and no more than 70oF assures the best callusing.  Placing cuttings in a frost-free refrigerator for 12-to 36 hours assures good callusing.  It is not necessary to use a rooting hormone on geraniums.  However, if you are going to root them in sand or soil, the fungicide contained in rooting compound may prove helpful.  Stick the callused cuttings upright into the soil medium.  Put this in a warm place in filtered light.  In two weeks or so the cuttings will develop roots.   Certain varieties do better in a rich loam as opposed to ordinary potting soil: Mint (Tomentosum), apple, apricot, strawberry, Mabel Grey. Transplant to garden if desired, adding soil amendments if necessary.   Remove any leaves as they yellow.   They make excellent standards.

Culinary Uses: Not all scented geraniums have tastes that complement cooking.  Recipes call for either rose, lemon, or mint.  Most often their flavors are infused into the dish and they are removed and discarded before serving, although fresh leaves can be used as a decorative garnish.  The leaves are used fresh.  Scenteds are typically used in sweet dishes. Rose varieties add a delicate but stimulating flavor to sugar which is then used in baked goods or tgo sweeten teas. Stack clean, dry leaves in a large canister between 1 inch layers of sugar.  Place the canister in a warm spot for two to four weeks, and then sift out the leaves.  Some cooks recommend first bruising the leaves to impart more flavor.  The sugar can be substituted for all or part of the plain sugar called for in recipes for white cakes or icings.  Small rose- or lemon-scented leaves can also be candied by dipping them in egg white and coating them with sugar to create impressive cake decorations. Dry them on a rack before using.
            The leaves can be arranged in the bottom of a lined or buttered baking pan and pouring cake batter over them.  Jellies flavored with rose-scenteds can be used as a filling for sponge- or angel-food cake layers.  Apple and crab-apple jellies are most commonly used for this purpose.  Other uses include fruit punches, wine cups, ice cream and sorbets.  Use lemon and rose scented geraniums in sweet vinegar recipes, they combine especially well with lemon verbena, lemon basil and mints. 

Click here to see a preview of the Table of Contents for Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs. Click here to see archived Herb of the Month pages.

The comprehensive revised edition of Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs is available from author, most internet booksellers, bookstores, and in libraries.  It can be ordered from the distributor, Independent Publishers Group

   


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