Pelargonium zonale and Pelargonium arcticum genes combined

Pelargonium 'Rushmoor Amazon – photo Fibrex

Pelargonium ‘Rushmoor Amazon – photo Fibrex

“It’s not often we see a new hybrid between two different Pelargonium species, and the fact that this newcomer has been thirty years in the making, on two continents, perhaps tells us why”, explains Graham Rice, author of the New Plants blog at the site of the UK garden charity Royal Horticultural Society. He refers to the yellow-flowered Pelargonium ‘Rushmoor Amazon’ which was one of the entries of the 2017 Chelsea Plant of the Year competition. Fibrex Nurseries, Stratford-upon-Avon (UK) submitted it to this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.
Rice describes the entry as the first of a dozen new introductions in the Rushmoor River Series which mainly combine genes from Pelargonium zonale and Pelargonium arcticum. As a group, these plants are known as zonarctics. Pelargonium arcticum is “a rather succulent, creamy yellow flowered, tuberous-rooted species from the Karoo in South Africa.”
First hybrid seedling in 1986
The aim was according to Rice to transfer the flower colour of Pelargonium arcticum into familiar garden pelargoniums while eliminating its deciduous foliage and succulent tendencies. “But first Cliff Blackman in Australia and then Steve Pledger in Britain have worked diligently on this for many years since raising the first hybrid seedling in 1986.”
Some suitable for use as cut flowers
Rice quotes breeder Cliff Blackman saying: “One of the more interesting outcomes has been the appeal of the flower forms and colours. Their longer pedicels can give a more open form of inflorescence, also the unusually long flower stem and their lasting quality has made some suitable for use as cut flowers.”
Unusually open and relaxed head of bloom
Rushmoor zonartics - image: Fibrex

Rushmoor zonartics – image: Fibrex

He describes ‘Rushmoor Amazon’ as a zonartic with pink-flecked, yellow, semi-double, 5-7cm flowers that held on longer than usual stems giving an unusually open and relaxed head of bloom. “We’ve seen pelargoniums with more or less yellow flowers before, none entirely successul, but this is the first with this background.”
Actually, Fibrex Nurseries presents on their website already fourteen Rushmoor zonartics in white, cream, pale and rich yellows, peachy shades, pinks, oranges and reds. The nursery recommends the zonartics as a ‘new category of Pelargonium giving Pellie enthusiasts the opportunity to try something completely different‘.