The International Regal Preservation Project
What is a Regal?
A regal pelargonium is a plant in the Pelargonium x domesticum group of the geranium
family. It may also be called a ‘Martha Washington’ pelargonium in the United States
and in Europe it's called the English pelargonium. Regals have saw-tooth-edged leaves.
Most of them have green foliage, but a few have variegated white and green leaves.
The blooms on regal pelargoniums are frequently very eye-catching with several florets grouped into a large umbel, making the
umbel look like a bouquet on a single flower stem. A plant may have many umbels at one time. It is the belle of the ball wherever it
The petals of a regal pelargonium display many shades of color, from white thru pink, red, and purple all the way to nearly black.
In addition to the base color, the petals may have markings of other colors, with stripes, dots, feathers, and splotches making the
floret very appealing to bees and birds and people. Regal pelargonium petals may also be very ruffled, adding to the frilly look of the
blooms. A blooming regal with lovely colors, beautiful markings, and frilly petals can look like a sophisticated ball gown among other
flowers in the garden.
The ways that a pelargonium may display color, markings, and frilliness are infinite. A particular combination of these characteristics
will result in a plant that will usually have a cultivar name so that people can reference that plant in discussions.
Because regal pelargoniums are hybrids, cross-pollination and the resulting offspring of that crossing usually results in a plant with
different characteristics from those of the parent plants. Therefore, regal pelargoniums are propagated vegetatively, i.e., by
rooting cuttings taken from a parent plant to get a plant that is like the parent.
With proper care and yearly cutting back, a regal can last well over 30 years in its ideal habitat. Sadly, when a regal pelargonium
dies, the genetic code that determines how that plant looks is lost. So it is very important to have multiple plants of a particular
cultivar so that more plants of that combination of characteristics may be preserved.
Sometimes it takes a search among friends and other gardeners to find a living plant like that of a dear cultivar that has not
The Regal Preservation Project was founded out of the need to document the cultivars that are in existence, to create
backups of the plants, and keep them in circulation. Interested participants may email firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2011, The International Regal Preservation Project