Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Kalwerbossie, Rabassam, South African Geranium
Pelargonium sidoides

Family: Geraniaceae (jer-ay-nee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pelargonium (pe-lar-GO-nee-um) (Info)
Species: sidoides (sih-DOY-deez) (Info)

» View all varieties of Pelargoniums

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

19 members have or want this plant for trade.

Alpines and Rock Gardens
Tropicals and Tender Perennials

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 14 photos.
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6 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive otter47 On Apr 2, 2013, otter47 from Livermore, CA wrote:

Unlike other pelargoniums that get nipped when temperatures fall into the 20s, this one stays green through the winter. It also withstands the heat of summer without flagging. An easy-care plant.

Positive AmyMorie On Aug 15, 2010, AmyMorie from Green Cove Springs, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Wonderful plant in southern California! Clumps readily, easy to divide and spread or share, but easy to keep controlled as well. Great grey-green foliage color contrasts well with the crimson flowers. Plan to try this on the east coast and see if it can take the humidity.

Native to South Africa. Reported medicinal uses for respiratory problems.

Positive lazepherine On Jun 19, 2009, lazepherine from Seattle, WA wrote:

I bought two of these plants last spring; the dusty, gray/mauve of the leaves and the beautiful, dark flowers were a wonderful addition to my raised bed. This past winter (2008-09) we had temps down to 17F, and it was 18F for a few days in a row. I thought for sure I had lost both plants, but no! Patience is rewarded! In mid-May the forlorn-looking clumps started sending out new leaves, and now are slowly filling out again.
I have read that pelargonium sidoides has a network of thick, underground branches - an adaptation that enables it to survive brush fires. I wonder if this adaptation helped it survive the potentially killing temperatures of this past winter as well.
This is a lovely plant, and a great choice for an herb or medicinal garden. It has been used for hundreds of years in South Africa as an effective folk remedy for upper respiratory infections including tuberculosis, pneumonia, bronchitis, the flu and the common cold, and for Strep throat.

Positive southcherry On Feb 14, 2009, southcherry from Long Beach, CA wrote:

Grows wild in South Africa, has almost been extinguished there because the natives harvest it for the drug manufacturers for its strong antibiotic properties.

I have grown this for 3 years, was hard to start from original softwood cutting. However, once established, the babies can be clipped, dropped on moist soil, and I get 99% success rate.

Great xeriscape plant in So. California. I do NOTHING to it, and it just stays as a nice mound, doesn't seem invasive after 3 years. So far, it has been rejected by spider mites, slugs, snails, caterpillars, aphids, whiteflies. Perhaps this is due to the strong antibiotic chemical in the roots. Everything else around it gets attacked by pests.

Tolerates drought, hardy in humid beach weather, 40 degrees to 95 degrees, takes sun or partial sun. Blooms all year. I don't feed it, just water a little more in July, August.

Positive Calif_Sue On Oct 11, 2006, Calif_Sue from Northern California
United States (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have had this for years now, in a couple of places as I rooted a piece from the original plant. When it gets too big and woody, I cut it back and it eventually fills back in.

Positive philomel On Nov 17, 2004, philomel from Castelnau RB Pyrenes
France (Zone 8a) wrote:

One of my favourite species Pelargoniums. The silvery leaves are very attractive in their own right, but the flowers are unusually dark and smouldering. It needs careful placement with ither plants, but can look quite breathtaking.
Do not over water and use free draining gritty compost.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Tucson, Arizona
Calistoga, California
Davis, California
Escondido, California
Lake Forest, California
Livermore, California
Long Beach, California
Los Angeles, California
Northridge, California
San Jose, California
Stanford, California
Portland, Oregon
Austin, Texas
Seattle, Washington

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