Caliente Geraniums

caliente_orangeTo appreciate the best features of Caliente Geraniums,let’s consider them in light of their parents, Ivy and Zonal Geraniums—especially the Ivy Geraniums, which they favor.

Now, the Ivy Geranium is a decent plant and it does extremely well when tended, but all that care and maintenance can be a problem. If you let the plant get too dry and then water it too much, the leaves will develop a type of blister on the underside that looks unsightly. It’s not a disease—the cell walls are bursting from the dry/wet cycle—but the results are unattractive. 

Ivy Geraniums also have a lopsided habit in baskets and containers that requires steady trimming and attention to keep it looking neat and balanced. In this capacity Calientes really shine—the series is designed for excellent container and basket performance.

While not exactly brand new to the market, Calientes have only been around for a few years. We grew a light production run last year, so you may have missed them—but we didn’t. Our small run of Calientes made us sit up and take notice when we saw how they delivered.

Calientes have inherited the vigor of both Ivies and Zonals. Ivy Geraniums tend to cycle their blooms, but the Calientes bloom so much, they provide a steady show of flowers for the full season. Producing more flowers than either parent, they bloom earlier in the season as well—right in the heart of April. 

When it comes to the water cycle issue, Calientes are much more forgiving and we know how important that leeway is to a lot of home gardeners out there. It will be much harder to burn off the flowers when a customer ignores watering for too long, and the blistering problem that plagues the Ivies is not present in this cross. These traits make the Caliente an excellent commercial color choice for business containers and planters as well.

As for habit, the Caliente is midway between Ivies and Zonals, right where you would expect it to be. Attractive, bulky, spilling-but-not-sprawling—it fills, it flows and it puts on a great show. As Darth Vader might say, “Impressive . . . ” 

Ivies are still an important part of our Geranium mix. They offer colors that the Calientes do not, and there are lots of gardeners who have mastered and loved the Ivy Geranium for years—it is a sort of heritage plant in Cincinnati. But for heavy-lifting duty in containers and baskets, we feel the Caliente will become the industry’s “go-to” Geranium.

We are growing Calientes in 4-1/2 inch pots and 10-inch hanging baskets this season in strong numbers. Our Caliente colors are Coral, Fire, Orange, Pink and Rose.