Pelargonium Profile - Pelargonium ‘Clorinda’
by Wayne L. Handlos PhD
‘Clorinda’ is a sturdy, floriferous pelargonium that has been around for over a hundred years. It produces
masses of bright pink (neon pink, hot pink, cerise pink) flowers in clusters. Each flower is about 1
½ inches in diameter. The two upper petals have a darker red area in the middle, with burgundy to black
veins beneath. The lower petals are unmarked.
The leaves are variously lobed – usually described as three-lobed but depending on your definition up to
9 lobes may be found. The margins of the leaves are toothed. The leaves are scented and have been
imaginatively described as eucalyptus, cedar, lemon or cedar rose. Pungent (according to Faye Brawner)
is most accurate.
In my garden the plant reaches about three feet tall and the plant sprawls across the border. The plant
has been reported as suitable for training as a standard or tree. It can also be espaliered (trained on a
trellis, framework or wall). In my garden it tolerates light frosts (27 degrees F).
The plant is usually vegetatively reproduced from cuttings. Root buds send up plantlets around the parent
plant. These can be dug up and potted. The flowers do not seem to set seeds. The stamens are
small and probably do not produce viable pollen.
Several sports/mutations have been named and these include ‘Orchid’ or ‘Mauve Clorinda’ with a lighter
flower color. ‘Golden Clorinda’ (yellow leaf margin) and ‘Silver Clorinda’ (white edged leaf) were introduced
by Gary Scheidt in California in 1982.
In earlier days, ‘Clorinda’ was considered one of the Unique pelargoniums, but more recently it has been
listed with the scented leaf geraniums. The best guesstimate of its parentage is as a hybrid betweenPelargonium
quercifoliumand some unknown regal (P. x domesticum). This is an “oldie but goodie” geranium, best
in the ground or in a large pot.