Although Jefferson never recorded growing Geranium at Monticello, he did so at the President's House while serving as President from 1801-1809. Native to South Africa, Geraniums were popular enough in America by 1800 to be featured by Rembrandt Peale in his famous 1801 portrait of his brother Rubens.This species is believed to have been grown by Thomas Jefferson in the President's House.Upon Jefferson's retirement in 1809, Margaret Bayard Smith, a Washington socialite, asked for a geranium Jefferson was growing and the departing president replied: "it is in very in bad condition, having been neglected latterly as not intended to be removed. ... if plants have sensibility, as the analogy of their organisation with ours seems to indicate, it cannot but be proudly sensible of her [Mrs. Smith's] fostering attentions."Imported from South Africa into Britain by the early 1700s, this species geranium was an exciting novelty that became one of the parents of our modern bedding geraniums. Geraniums were popular enough in America by 1800 to be featured by Rembrandt Peale in his famous 1801 portrait of his brother Rubens.The geranium is a tender perennial, grown as a houseplant, with velvety green foliage studded with clusters of bright scarlet flowers throughout the year.
Visit Monticello’s Online Shop to check for seeds or plants of Geranium.
Typical Blooming Dates: May - November
Growth Type: Perennial
Color(s): Reds, Orange
Hardiness Zones: Zone 10
Location at Monticello: Southeast Piazza (Greenhouse)
Planting Conditions: Partial Shade