The old-fashioned scented-leaved geraniums (Pelargonium species and cultivars) capture a truly amazing array of fragrances, so exactly approximating what they are mimicking. Rose, lemon, ginger, peppermint, nutmeg, apple and even coconut flavours exist! The leaves themselves are attractive and have a variety of appealing shapes and textures: the soft velvet of the peppermint geranium (Pelargonium tomentosum) is particularly irresistible. They are delightfully old-fashioned plants but they have a place in modern gardens as they form sturdy and decorative shrubs in hot, dry places (and also grow well in pots) - the majority of the species originate from South Africa.
Pelargonium tomentosum can cope with part or dappled shade and more moisture than the others, because its native habitat is on the edges of forests. Grown beside a path or on a patio near a seat, the fragrance of the leaves of these Pelargonium plants will be released as they are brushed past. As an added bonus, many of these plants have pretty blooms during the warm months of the year, usually pink, white or lavender. Regular deadheading will encourage continued blooming. The leaves can be used in posies, baths and cooking, or dried for sachets or potpourri. Lemon-scented species may act as a mosquito repellent. The essential oil from the rose-scented one (Pelargonium graveolens is used in cosmetics and perfumes.