Geraniums put out big flashy flowers with bright colors that make them ideal for wildlife gardens.
You’ll get far more color choice from the flowers on geraniums than the smaller and limited color (red and white) of a Shrimp Plant that’s always a favorite for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.
For brightness and big lush blooms all season, the geranium’s a firm contender.
When planning a garden design, it’s not quite enough to decide on a type of geranium though.
With each type are different colors and each has different shades.
Design with intent by learning about the different types of geraniums, the shades to expect, the size of blooms, and where each is suited in your garden landscape.
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What Colors of Geraniums Exist?
Geraniums come in pink, purple, lilac, red, pink, and white. Some are bi-colored. The depth of color depends on the variety. Zonals have the brightest, Regals less so but with larger flowers and two tones. Ivy geraniums have smaller blooms and true geraniums have subtler shades of the same colors.
Colors of Annual Geraniums
Annual geraniums aren’t the true geraniums, but instead, the often mislabeled Pelargonium.
These are the type you can keep growing indoors and continually have them blooming all year by deadheading regularly, and giving them get plenty of light.
Pelargoniums can only be grown as perennials in USDA zones 10 and 11. Elsewhere, they’re annuals.
This is the genus that has the most color variety, and the brightest.
You can find these in purple, white, red, pink, and some varieties are dual-toned, mostly in the Regal geranium species.
Zonals can be deep red or burgundy with white edging around the petals or the Elegance White variety that has large white flowers with dashes of luminous pink protruding from the center of the flowerhead on each of the five petals.
The brightest flower colors are found in the zonal geranium species.
You can buy these in pots from local nurseries, but you cannot grow zonal geraniums from seeds – or even buy the seeds for that matter, because these don’t go to seed.
Over the years, gardeners have tinkered with hybrid breeds to create what can be considered specialty plants.
Some are hybridized to be drought resistant, others deer resistant, or for longer-lasting blooms into late fall, or even to extend their bloom period into the winter.
As zonal geraniums are grown for their bright flowers, these are propagated from cuttings because they don’t produce seeds.
When you buy a potted zonal geranium, the nursery will have rooted this and potted it up.
To continue getting big bright blooms throughout the year, take some time to learn about taking cuttings and how to root geranium cuttings to keep your zonal geraniums flowering beautifully, continuously.
There’s a good chance that if you don’t grow new zonals from your existing one, you’ll never get the exact same type again.
For less color but bigger flowers, take a gander at the regal geranium colors.
Colors of Regal Geraniums
Regal geraniums aren’t as brightly colored as zonal geraniums, but the blooms are bigger.
The colors of the flowers from regal geraniums are often dual-toned.
Regals put out flowers in shades of lilac or lavender, deep red or burgundy shades, pink, white, and purple.
Depending on the cultivar, you can get two-toned regal geraniums.
A unique characteristic of regal geraniums, (newer hybrids anyway) is the two-tone flowers.
Dual-toned flowers take advantage of the petal differences between the true geranium and the pelargonium.
With new breeds of regal geraniums, the bottom three petals can be a complimentary color to the top two petals.
The more traditional regal geraniums still go by the “Martha Washington” label signifying one of the earliest hybrid names for regal varieties.
Whilst the name stuck, traditional Martha Washington regal geraniums tend to have flowers that are purple, red, pink, white, or purple with a lighter or darker color around the edges of petals.
More modern hybrids of regal geraniums have two colors of petals rather than one solid-colored petal with a complimentary color around the edge of the petals.
Regals have bigger blooms with vibrant colors, although not as colorful as zonal geraniums.
For more color in compact spaces, annuals have been hybridized to the extent that you can grow geraniums in hanging baskets.
The Colors of Ivy Geraniums
Ivy geraniums are the cascading variety of pelargoniums specially hybridized for hanging baskets, or for ground cover.
The flowers from ivy geraniums are smaller, but they are just as vibrant.
You’ll find the flower colors for ivy geranium species steers more to the red-purple family of colors.
Think along the lines of pink, purple, red, burgundy, and the lighter shades of lilac, lavender, and sometimes orange (more of a paler shade of red).
Ivy geranium flowers still have five petals, the same as all the other varieties.
However, they grow in clusters, have smaller flower heads and the stems are shorter too.
In addition to trailing ivy geraniums, there are also ivy-zonal hybrids that take advantage of the vining habit of traditional ivy.
Ivy-zonal hybrids are vining plants suited to growing along walls (just like growing a Bougainvillea or trellis training a goji plant) to produce bigger flowers on a vine rather than cascading ivy geraniums that need the height to trail downward.
The majority of ivy-zonal geraniums have colors in the pink to purple range rather than the deeper reds and burgundy in the zonal geranium varieties.
Colors of Perennial Geraniums
If what you want is the true geranium (cranesbill or hardy geranium), the colors aren’t as bright, but they are still showy.
The flowers on hardy geraniums can be lilac, white, pink, purple, or lighter shades of any of those colors, such as blue geraniums, which are extremely rare and more likely to be closer to a blue-lilac color.
They aren’t as bright as pelargoniums, but they do grow in abundance.
You can’t get flowers with different colored petals, but you can find cranesbills with two color tones.
Most of the blooms on true geraniums have bright-colored petals that float above the foliage.
Towards the center of the flowerheads is a darker or lighter tone that gives the appearance of an eye.
The clue is in the name of most of these varieties, such as the Black-Eyed Magenta Cranesbill, meaning it has magenta-colored petals with a black center and being a cranesbill, it is a hardy geranium, not a pelargonium.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Geranium Flower Colors
Can you get yellow geraniums?
Geraniums are available in fewer colors than pelargoniums, but surprisingly, only two colors are yet to be conquered in either species. Yellow and blue. To date, only one yellow geranium has been hybridized and that was in 2010. It’s called ‘Pacyell’, and it’s patented by Willhelm Elsner, so if there’s ever going to be a yellow geranium, it’ll be a zonal geranium developed and released by Elsner PAC.
What type of geraniums are bi-colored?
For bi-colored petals, zonal geraniums have two colors, either three petals of one color – the two upper petals a different shade from the lower three petals. Regal geraniums have five solid-colored bright petals with a second color around the edge of each petal. Hardy geraniums have the same color of petals with a different color of the eye in the center of the flower.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.