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Can pelargoniums regress to a previous type?

pitter-patterpitter-patter Posts: 2,109
Sorry if the question sounds confusing. Last year I’ve had some very nice zonal pelargoniums (one rosebud, one Mr Wren). I’ve taken cuttings in the autumn and I’ve grown them on a sunny windowsill. They haven’t grown as vigorously as others, but I thought there were fine. One of them has just flowered and it has tiny white flowers. Could anyone help?

Thank you.


  • LynLyn Posts: 21,337
    If you take them from cuttings they should be the same, I’ve never had one come out different. 
    When they are small plants I always pick the flowers of as soon as I see them to give the roots chance to build up first.  Could be just weak flowers as they’re new. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • pitter-patterpitter-patter Posts: 2,109
    It hadn’t happened to me before either and I’ve been growing pelargoniums for quite a while. The plants are quite large as they have been growing all winter and spring. They have a good root system. I would post a photo but I’ve decided to remove the flowers and prune it a bit.
  • PurplerainPurplerain Posts: 1,053
    edited May 2018
    I took some cuttings from deep crimson pelargoniums one year and one turned out traffic light red. I have always wondered about that. 
    SW Scotland
  • pitter-patterpitter-patter Posts: 2,109
    After it’s been pruned, my regressed pelargonium has started to grow again. I’ve kept it in the conservatory over the winter where it was in bloom for most of the time. This is how it looks now:

    I have since removed the ‘regressed’ label from the plant😊. Still, it’s unlike any pelargonium I’ve grown, so I’ve decided it must be a sport. I shall grow it as a climber.
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 13,272
    If it is grown from a cutting, any plant will be identical to the plant it was taken from.
    It can't be a sport.
    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,637
    This got me thinking about reversion in varigated plants. I would expect cuttings from reverted shoots to exhibit the original non-varigated form whereas cuttings from a varigated section would exhibit the varigated sport (genetic mutation). Is this what happens and if so does it mean that it is possible to get two genetic forms of cuttings from one plant? It has been some decades since I first read about Mendel's pea experiments and I don't remember anyone mentioning things like reversion at the time so forgive the daft question!
  • My variegated weigella had a whole stem with just solid green colour leafs. Mutated back to the original genetically stronger form. Had to cut that stem out at the ground level to keep the nice variegated look. So this kind of changes is possible on the same plant. Not sure if this also spplies to pelargoniums. 
    Btw that pink pelargonium is gorgeous. 
  • pitter-patterpitter-patter Posts: 2,109
    It is possible, yes. I’ve asked in Fibrex earlier this year when I’ve visited. Sports can appear in pelargoniums and cuttings from a sport would make completely different plants. It’s the only way I can explain what happened. 
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 13,272
    Cuttings from a sport would indeed be a sport, but cuttings from a non sport, could not be a sport.
    Regarding variegated shrubs, non variegated shoots are not a mutation, they are a reversion.
    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,354
    I deliberately took a cutting from a reverted shoot on my variegated weigela as the pale flowers showed up much better and it looked less messy.
    Now have a lovely big plain green shrub, as it's also more vigorous :)
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