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


Alpines and Rock Gardens

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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 Francisco, California

San Jose, California

Stanford, California

Portland, Oregon

Austin, Texas

Seattle, Washington

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Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


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... read more


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 degre... read more


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.


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.