Introducing the fantastic Mr Cox…and his geranium friends
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Introducing the fantastic Mr Cox…and his geranium friends

IT is difficult to say which is the more attractive feature of the geranium named Mrs Henry Cox: the multi-coloured leaf patterns, or the clusters of medium pink flowers.

Splashes of brown, gold, red, orange, and yellow on scalloped, evergreen, toothed leaves marks this as a showpiece attraction throughout the year.

I would choose the foliage every time, even to the point of removing developing blooms.

The correct, researched name of this plant is Mr Henry Cox, but it has been sold, and promoted under both names.

I like to winter garden indoors (and indeed in sheltered corners outdoors) with this variety and Vancouver Sentinel, another pelargonium of stellar merit which needs better recognition.

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Geranium Mr Cox is shrubby and multi-branching to eighteen inches when sited happily in full sun and an open type of soil. He does particularly well in pots and containers (as stated) in sheltered parts of the open garden. As with all geraniums, plant in a rich, fast draining soil, water in summer when the top inch of soil dries out, and feed with a well-balanced fertilizer once a fortnight from spring through to late summer.

To control the formation of leggy stems, pinch or prune the growing tips to encourage branching. Remove faded flowers regularly to encourage the formation of new blooms.

Vancouver Centennial is another attractive tomentose palmate-leaved geranium whose foliage remains brick red (with distinctive light green edges tinged yellow) all year, and slightly scented red flowers from spring to early autumn.

The flowers are excellent for cutting.

It’s an herbaceous evergreen perennial with an upright spreading growth habit which I can highly recommend to readers.

Best of all it can be propagated easily by cuttings taken during summer. The combined leaf and colouring of this exceptional plant means that it blends easily into the garden, but can be balanced if needed, by any number of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep.

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Trim the flower heads after they fade and try to encourage more blooms by liquid feeding. These can be produced late into the season if done on a regular basis.

Vancouver Centennial geranium will grow to around a foot tall at maturity, with a similar dimensional spread. Its foliage remains dense and well branched right to the ground and does not require ‘facer’ plants in front. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for an appreciable number of years.

This geranium does best in full sun also in partial shade. An interesting point to note is its high tolerance of urban pollution and ability to thrive in any inner-city environment.