Pelargonium gibbosum

Click on an image to enlarge it.
Botanical Name
Pelargonium gibbosum
Geraniaceae - The geranium family.
pe-lar-GO-nee-um gib-OH-sum
Common Name(s)
English: Gouty pelargonium; Arthritic pelargonium
Plant Group
  • Perennial A plant whose life cycle lasts for three or more seasons.
Plant Size
  • Medium
    Tree10m to 16m
    Shrub1m to 2m
    Perennial/ground cover40cm to 60cm
    Bulb40cm to 60cm
    Succulent40cm to 60cm
  • Sun The area is in full sun for all or most of the day, all year round.
General Information
  • Deciduous Plants which completely lose their foliage for part of the year.
  • Evergreen Plants that have leaves all year round.
  • Fragrant / Aromatic These plants posses a strong, usually pleasant odour.
  • Frost: Half-hardy The plant is able to survive low temperatures and some frost but requires protection against severe frost.
  • Water Wise Plant species originating from low rainfall regions that require less water to survive and thrive than other plant species.
Specific Information

Called 'gouty pelargonium' because of its swollen joints or nodes, Pelargonium gibbosum is one of the few yellow pelargoniums. This is definitely one for collectors of caudiciforms and succulent pelargoniums.The deeply toothed, blue-green leaves are semi-succulent.The plant is usually dormant in summer, the plants being much more compact and dense if they are allowed their normal dormancy. In the right position Pelargonium gibbosum forms a thick mound 30-60cm high, and with time will develop a caudiciform base, the plant spreading to over a meter across. They will tolerate light frost if protected. The flowers in the above pictures were taken while the plant was still fresh from the nursery where it was lightly shaded and watered. Once planted out in full sun with less water, the next flowers were, as well-described by another author, chartreuse-sulfur yellow. This is the more natural colour. (Will add photos when available)

Ad Break

clusters of pelargonium flowers at the end of fairly long stems, strongly scented at night

  • All Year Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • Autumn to Winter Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • yellow
  • tan yellow
Growth Rate
  • Moderate 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
  • Accent or Focal Point A plant used to attract the attention because of its colour or form.
  • Attracts bees, butterflies or other insects This plant attracts insects which can be food for birds or other creatures in your garden.
  • Container Trees, shrubs and ornamental species that can adapt to growing in a restricted environment.
  • 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.
  • Pot Plant A plant that needs a protected environment on a patio or indoors.
  • Rock Garden An area constructed of larger rocks, arranged naturally, to emphasise the use of stones as a main element. Generally plants used do not need a lot of care.
  • Suitable for coastal gardens Plants adapted to dry, sandy soil, forceful wind, limited rainfall and intense sunlight.
  • 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

along the western coast of the Western Province of South Africa, from the Richtersveld to the Cape Peninsula (winter rainfall area), in sandy and rocky places

Planting Suggestions

Pelargonium gibbosum is normally dormant in summer but will grow year round if moderately watered. Their time of maximum growth is autumn to winter, during their natural rainy season. They do best in the ground or a large pot where they can really spread their roots. They need very well drained loam or sandy soil. A little compost and a thin layer of mulch around and below, but not against, the stems can be applied if the soil is very depleted.

Medicinal Uses

No data found.

Ad Break


Hello I am trying to confirm if gibbosum is a species pelargonium?

I attach photos taken today, I live in the south of the UK. We are having a very mild Autumn, so far. I grow pelargoniums in a greenhouse, which is kept at 5 degrees in winter.

Hi Elaine

Apologies for the tardy reply.

Yes, Pelargonium gibbosum is a species of pelargonium. It is an exceptionally tough plant that grows best with very little water and lots of sun. Too much shade and water cause very leggy growth and even rotting.

Kind regards

My pelargonium gibbosum has grown very leggy and I was wondering whether I could cut the stem into pieces and propagate the cuttings in water. This is the first year I have grown this so have no experience of this plant. I live in London and at the moment the weather is mild enough for it to be outside on the windowsill. Thanks for any advice.

Hi Jill

Mine also grow very leggy - even though they are in hot sun with very little water. I think it is just their nature.

I have never had much success or patience with water propagation of pelargonium - I just pop the cuttings straight into the ground and they root in no time.

My instincts with Pelargonium Gibbosum tell me that the water method may not be the best one. This plant originates from a winter rainfall area where summers are very dry. I just get the feeling that the thickened stems may be prone to rotting. Perhaps experiment with a couple in water and a couple planted in the pot with your mother plant. That way you can cover both bases.

I will assume you have experience in making cuttings, but if not google a bit first for information.

You could also layer the joints - I have seen my plants do this naturally in the garden.

Hope this helps and good luck with your propagating - whichever way you choose to go.

Kind regards

Discuss this plant

Share knowledge, ask a question or give an experience.

Bottom Border