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There are more than 300 species of geraniums. The true geraniums are dainty wild flowers which grow in all temperate climates. They are often called crane's-bills because of the shape of their long seed pods. About 70 species are found in North America. Of these the most common is the wild geranium, or crans's-bill, of the eastern United States and Canada. It has large purplish-pink flowers growing in clusters on plants about 2 feet tall. Its roots, like those of the American alumroot, are sometimes used in making medicines.
There are also the cultivated geraniums, which are far more beautiful both in colour and of their flowers in the shapes and markings of their leaves. These plants came originally from South Africa, and in colder northern countries they cannot be left outdoors during the winter. They make satisfactory bedding plants, and in winter are good house plants due to the fact that they need very little care and bloom over a long period of time. These types of geraniums grow easily from cuttings. Cuttings should be started in the spring for summer flowering and in the fall for winter flowering. They should be planted in light, rich, well-fertilized soil to which sand has been added to ensure good drainage as too much water is bad for the plants.
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