Pelargonium alchemilloides

Click on an image to enlarge it.
Botanical Name
Pelargonium alchemilloides
Geraniaceae - The geranium family.
pe-lar-GO-nee-um al-ke-mil-OH-id-eez
Common Name(s)
English: Lady's Mantle-leaf Pelargonium; Garden Geranium
Afrikaans: Malva; Wildemalva
IsiXhosa: Inkubele
IsiZulu: Inkubele; Ishwaqa; Umangqengqe
Sesotho: Bolila-ba-litsoene
siSwati: inkubele; ishwaqa; umangqengqe
Plant Group
  • Perennial A plant whose life cycle lasts for three or more seasons.
  • Veld Flower Small veld flowers of interest, rather than for their usefulness in the garden. Some of these plants have garden potential, particularly for less formal garden situations.
Plant Size
  • Small to Medium
    Tree8m to 15m
    Shrub75cm to 1m
    Perennial/ground cover20cm to 40cm
    Bulb30cm to 40cm
    Succulent20cm to 40cm
  • Canopy Shade Canopy shade is found below closely grown trees where some light filters through. Ideal for the protection of herbaceous plants.
  • Dry Shade Shady areas where soil has poor water retention or are dependent on rain for their moisture needs.
  • Light or Dappled Shade Found below trees with sparse, open foliage. Ideal for the protection of herbaceous plants.
  • Partial Shade The area is in shade for part of the day and in full sun for part of the day.
  • Sun The area is in full sun for all or most of the day, all year round.
General Information
  • Drought Tolerance: Moderate The plant is moderately adapted to arid conditions and can survive short periods of drought and high temperatures without extra water.
  • Evergreen to semi-deciduous The plant is evergreen in warmer, wetter parts of the country, but may lose some of its leaves during winter in colder, drier situations.
  • Frost: Hardy The plant can withstand freezing temperatures or frost without artificial protection.
  • Sand tolerant Plants adapted to survive in nutrient poor, very sandy soils.
  • Water Wise Plant species originating from low rainfall regions that require less water to survive and thrive than other plant species.
Specific Information

Pelargonium alchemilloides is a low, sprawling plant up to 20 cm in height with a woody rootstock and an underground tuber that can reportedly grow up to 6 m in length.  The leaves, which form a central rosette, are usually 5-lobed, often with a purplish-brown to dark red horseshoe-shaped zonal marking and are sparsely covered with silky hairs.  Leaves range in size from 20 - 70 mm in diameter, are irregularly toothed and highly variable in shape. The straggly flowering stems are slender and covered with long hairs. Seeds are held in the distinctive 'crane’s bill' arrangement of all pelargoniums. The plant seeds prolifically and as the seeds are distributed by wind, will be found germinating over quite a large area away from the mother plant. The plant may be deciduous in cold or very dry areas but will remain evergreen if it has sufficient water.

Ad Break

small pelargonium flowers held at end of a long thin stem in an umbrella-like cluster

  • All Year Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • Spring to Summer Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • pink
  • white
  • cream
Growth Rate
  • Fast Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
Plant Uses
  • Attracts bees, butterflies or other insects This plant attracts insects which can be food for birds or other creatures in your garden.
  • Filler Either a fast growing tree or shrub used temporarily to fill in an area while the permanent plants grow to a desired size, or a plant used to fill gaps in borders or beds.
  • Interplanting Arranging and planting plants in the garden that have different blooming times and habits of growth, extending the amount of time in which the area is in flower.
  • Wild Garden An indigenous garden planted for the benefit of wildlife and birds. Provides food, water, a variety of mini-biomes and no poisonous chemicals are used.
Distribution and Habitat

widespread in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West provinces, as well as in Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe and  throughout tropical east and north-east Africa to Ethiopia and Somalia

Planting Suggestions

Pelargonium alchemilloides is best planted from seed. Plant direct or in a seed tray in any well drained medium, cover lightly and keep moist. Transplant when big enough to handle. Tolerates a wide variety of soils, habitats and positions. Water occasionally if necessary, but this is a truly water wise plant needing little care.

Lorraine's Garden Notes

This pelargonium grows vigorously in the veld around Bathurst and in my wild garden and makes frequent forays into my formal gardens. Besides being sprawling and untidy, I do not encourage it to take hold as I am certain that given a chance it will become invasive. The smaller plant with the leaf markings (see pics.) comes from a wetter area of the country and is more delicate, preferring shade and moisture. (I am in fact not entirely certain that it is P. alchemilloides​ but it has all the characteristics).

Medicinal Uses

Medicinally used for fever, diarrhoea and wounds.

Ad Break

Discuss this plant

Share knowledge, ask a question or give an experience.

Bottom Border