Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pelargonium Caliente® Fire '09

Pelargonium Caliente Fire

Caliente® is a series of Pelargonium hybrids developed by Syngenta for increased heat tolerance. The plants have great hybrid vigor, which results from crossing zonal pelargoniums (Pelargonium × hortorum) with ivy pelargoniums (Pelargonium peltatum). Although touted on various web sites as suitable for the deep south, the Syngenta web site lists the heat tolerance of the Caliente® series as moderate, that is, 70–80° F (21–27° C), which does not appear to be much, or at all, greater than the heat tolerance of typical zonal pelargoniums. Perhaps the plants are being compared, not to zonal pelargoniums, but to regal pelargoniums (Pelargonium × domesticum) and to regular ivy pelargoniums (Pelargonium peltatum), both of which tend to have low heat tolerance. In any event, the Caliente® series can be expected to burn out during south Florida's torrid summers; however, for reasons that are not too clear, when grown in pots the plants tend to be much more heat tolerant than if planted in the ground, especially if protected from the intense afternoon sun.

Fire '09 is a Caliente® cultivar characterized by very dark green leaves and intense tomato-red flowers. Unfortunately, it is all but impossible to capture the true color of its flowers with either film or digital cameras and the above image has an orange tone that is completely lacking when the flowers are viewed by the human eye. Fire '09 is listed by Syngenta as PPAF (plant patent applied for), which precludes its vegetative propagation without a license from Syngenta.


© 2011 Rufino Osorio.

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