THE OTHER ZONAL PELARGONIUMS – 2. TULIP-FLOWERED PELARGONIUMS
By Wayne Handlos, Ph.D.
Tulip-flowered pelargoniums are characterized by flowers with incurved petals that do not fully open.
The appearance is that of a cluster of small tulip buds. According to the original plant patent application
this plant was "characterized particularly by its healthy growth; its continuous and exceptionally free bloom
habits; its large and double flowered truss; its large florets with double petalage and distinctive color
The first tulip-flowered pelargonium was patented by Frank Andrea with the USPO in 1966 and was named
‘Patricia Andrea’. This plant was "the result of crossing ‘Fiat’ with an unnamed seedling, then crossing a
seedling from that cross-breeding and back cross-breeding with Fiat" after a three year period of development
from April 1958 to April 1961. It was granted patent number 2,621 (long since expired).
In an article in GATW (Vol. 14, No. 4, p. 71) with information provided by Andrea’s Greenhouse the plant was
developed by Robert and Ralph Andrea and named for Patricia Andrea (whether daughter, sister, mother, wife,
we are not told).
The Andreas believed that the plant had commercial merit because it was "unique and distinctive." Subsequent
comments over the years in GATW attest to the popularity of this plant. The cup-shaped, firm and waxy flowers
of carmine rose were very attractive. The patent application reports 20-25 flowers per inflorescence but GATW
reports 40-60 flowers per cluster. The leaves are dark green, thick and waxy-looking. The plant is vigorous and
free flowering. While it was claimed that the flowers were double, the petals are reported as 5-15 making the
flowers single to semi-double by current standards.
Frank Andrea filed another patent application in 1972 (based on breeding work from 1967 to 1970) and was granted
patent #3498 in 1974. This application was almost identical to the previous one but with a different flower color noted
– scarlet. This plant became ‘Red Pandora'.
In 1977, Frank Andrea filed for another patent (granted in 1978 as #4215) but this plant had flowers described as
rhodamine pink and rose bengal. This became ‘Pink Pandora’ or ‘Fringed Pandora’ according to Faye Brawner (GATW,
1997, V. 45(2) p. 6).
These are the three cultivars available occasionally over the years in the US. According to Pelargonium da Collezione
blog, the tulip flowered pelargoniums were introduced to Europe about 1985. A survey of the internet reveals additional
cultivars in Europe. The firm, Fuchsia Michiels, Lier, Belgium (http://www.fuchsia.be/en/pelargonia ) lists 14 types,
Sörgårdens Pelargoner (http://www.krukvaxter.se/Customer/ ) has 9 types and Fuchsiakwekerij Gommer, Dalen,
Netherlands (http://www.kwekerijgommer.com/fotos/) lists 14 cultivars. The cultivars are ‘Carmine Andrea’, ‘Connie’,
Emma från Bengtsbo’, ‘Fringed Pandora ‘Happy Birthday’, ‘Herma’, ‘Lilian Andrea’, ‘Linea Andrea’, ‘Marbacka Tulpan’,
‘Marie Louise’, ‘Mrs. Charles’, ‘Patricia Andrea’, ‘Pink Pandora’, ‘Red Pandora’, ‘Viktoria Andrea’.
The following cultivars are of smaller stature: ‘Happy Birthday’, ‘Lilian Andrea’, ‘Linnea Andrea’, ‘Viktoria Andrea’,
while the rest are taller and more robust.
Faye Brawner (Geraniums – The Complete Encyclopedia) and Tina Fabbro (Pelargonium da Collezione,
http://pelargoniumdacollezione.blogspot.com/p/tulips.html ) show pictures of inflorescences of ‘Pink Pandora’
with red flowers of a standard (fully open) zonal flower suggesting that, at least in this case, the plant is a chimera
– with the presence of two cell lines with different genetic compositions. (See the articles on ‘Mr. Wren’ and on
Chimeras in www.geraniumsonline.com.) It is also noted that branches may be produced that have only open, red
flowers and that the leaves on those branches have a matte surface (a situation parallel to the carnation-flowered
plant ‘Skelly’s Pride" which is a well-known chimeral plant.