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Common Name: Rose-Scented Geranium
Pelargonium capitatum is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 0.60 metres tall.
It has medicinal and miscellaneous uses.
S. Africa - eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal.
Dunes and sandy hills near the sea from the south-west Cape to southern Natal[
]. Found in disturbed soils[
Requires a light well-drained neutral to alkaline soil in a sunny position[
Plants are not very cold-hardy in Britain, tolerating temperatures down to about 0°c[
]. They generally require greenhouse protection but might succeed outdoors when grown in a very sheltered warm spot in the mildest parts of the country[
]. They can also be grown in containers that are placed outdoors in the summer and then brought into the greenhouse or conservatory for the winter[
]. The plants need to be kept fairly dry in the winter[
Very tolerant of pruning, they can be cut right down to the base in the autumn when bringing them back indoors, or in the spring to encourage lots of fresh growth[
When bruised, the leaves release a scent of roses[
This species is sometimes cultivated for its rose-scented essential oil[
The whole plant is an aromatic, soothing, emollient herb with a rose-like aroma[
]. All parts of the plant are astringent[
]. It is taken internally as a remedy for minor digestive ailments, plus kidney and bladder disorders[
Externally, the plant is applied to rashes and cracked skin[
]. The sweetly scented leaves are a wonderful skin softener[
]. The leaves can be rubbed into the hands to soothe calluses and scratches, into heels to soften horny, cracked skin and can be tied to a piece of muslin and used in the bath as a skin and wash treatment which also soothes rashes[
A tea made from leaves was an old remedy used by people from the Cape to treat kidney and bladder ailments, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and flatulence[
]. The leaves can be harvested and used as required[
The essential oil is a major component of geranium oil, which is used in aomatherapy and skin care[
An essential oil is obtained from the plant, it has a rose fragrance[
]. It is used in perfumery[
]. The essential oil is an effective inhibitor of hydrochloric acid corrosion when coated over steel[
The leaves are used in pot-pourri[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse. Stored seed should be sown in early spring in a greenhouse. The seed germinates best with a minimum temperature of 13°c, germination usually taking place within 2 weeks though it sometimes takes some months[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. If trying them outdoors, plant them out in early summer and consider giving them extra protection during the winter.
Cuttings are quite easy and succeed at almost any time in the growing season, although early summer is the best time in order for the new plant to become established before winter[
]. Cuttings usually root within 3 weeks[