Pelargonium cotyledonis: Care and Propagation Guide

Pelargonium cotyledonis is a succulent that is also referred to as Old Father Live Forever or the hollyhock-leaved pelargonium. This geranium plant is native to the island of Saint Helena and has a tree-like appearance with a short bark and few branches, each of which bears thick and veined leaves in summer.

pelargonium cotyledonis

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How to Care for Pelargonium cotyledonis

The Pelargonium cotyledonis plant grows well in pots and containers and can make for an excellent houseplant. To ensure that the plant thrives in its growth, you should maintain the following care elements.


Pelargonium cotyledonis thrives in sunny areas. It can do well in gardens and yards as well as on balconies and windows. Make sure the plant ideally receives sunlight during the early hours of the morning (especially in summer), along with some shade once the temperatures become hotter later in the morning and afternoon.

In other months, when temperatures are lower throughout the day, you can leave the plant out in the sun for a bit longer.


Pelargonium cotyledonis does not require too much water on a frequent basis. In fact, it can help the growth of the plant if you keep it relatively dry throughout summer and winter, although infrequent watering is still a must, especially in spring and winter.

You should ideally water the plant lightly and more often once the leaves begin to grow. Make sure you let the soil dry out fully before you carry out the next watering session.


You can use a regular succulent mix to grow Pelargonium cotyledonis. Unlike many other plants, this plant can actually thrive when there are no organic elements in the soil, so make it a point to avoid these as much as possible.

You can, however, add a few materials that can make the soil slightly coarse and loose, such as sand, pebbles and pumice.

pelargonium cotyledonis


You should not fertilize Pelargonium cotyledonis too much during the year. In fact, even if you do not provide fertilizer to it at all, your plant will still grow healthily. However, in order to boost the growth, you can provide a mild, diluted and balanced fertilizer to the plant only once in the growing season.

Fertilizing this plant more than necessary can end up completely changing its features and appearance.


Pelargonium cotyledonis tends to grow in winter and spring, although the leaves usually appear towards the end of summer. These plants are durable but still enjoy warm climates during their growth and do not do well in frost and extremely cold climates.

The temperature should ideally be above 45℉ even in winter, which is why growing your plant in greenhouses or inside your house can be ideal.

They are hardy in USDA zones 10-11.

pelargonium cotyledonis

Pests and Diseases

If you grow Pelargonium cotyledonis in suitable and appropriate conditions, you might not face too much of an issue with pests and diseases. If the conditions are unfavorable, however, diseases like rot and blight can affect the plant.

Pests are relatively rare, although the geranium bronze butterfly (if found in your region) can drop its larvae onto this plant and kill it.


Pruning is typically not a common practice when it comes to Pelargonium cotyledonis plants, mainly because the leaves only grow for a short period of time in the months of summer.

However, in case the leaves grow quite dense, you can start pruning out some of the older growth, especially if there are some leaves that seem to be on the verge of decay. Generally, however, the leaves will shed on their own.

Potting and Repotting

You can use any kind of pot or container to grow Pelargonium cotyledonis. Make sure the pot comes with a drainage hole so that extra water can escape from the soil. You should also ensure proper width and depth for the roots.

Repot the plant once it grows large enough by taking a larger pot along with some fresh soil.

Propagating Pelargonium cotyledonis

If you wish to propagate Pelargonium cotyledonis on your own, you can either sow seeds or stem cuttings. For the seeds, you can obtain them either from stores or from the fruits of a mature plant, following which you can easily germinate them in a tray or directly in the soil.

You should ideally sow them in either spring or fall.

If you want to use stem cuttings, you should cut some stems from a mature plant, remove the leaves and root them using a rooting hormone. You can then sow them in a pot with a suitable kind of soil and care for them well.

If you have a greenhouse or growing area in your house, it can be ideal for you to grow these plants there. If not, growing them outdoors in a warm region or indoors as a houseplant where the plant receives ample sunlight can allow the plant to thrive too.