Plant profile: Summer Rose

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It may shock you to find out that this is not a rose. It is actually the flower of an ivy pelargonium called "Summer Rose" (aptly named). It is in the family of rosebud ivies that I simply adore.

I acquired a cutting of Summer Rose in October 2017 from a friend in the Geranium and Pelargonium Society of WA (GAPSWA), who herself acquired it from a pelargonium show she attended in Adelaide in 2008. Unfortunately nothing is known about its history. However, I can tell you what I've learnt about it in the last year and a half.


It took 9 months for my plant to get big enough to flower. Growth did speed up after this, it just seemed to take a while to get going. I notice that when I plant cuttings of it too. They usually take longer to strike than my other ivies (up to 2 months compared to around 1 for most others) and the new leaves grow slowly. In the long run, I actually find this to be a good thing because it means I don't have to continually cut it back and it doesn't get leggy. It's just annoying at the beginning!


This ivy will self branch and naturally has a bushy habit. I LOVE this quality! It means pinching out the growing tips is unnecessary - this saves so much time and I don't have to worry that I'll be coming back to a leggy plant if I don't give it any attention for a while. It makes a perfect hanging basket.


Like many plants, Summer Rose reaches its peak flowering in spring. However, it is rarely seen without a bloom at all times of the year. It is also generous in the quantity of blooms. Just check out this photo I took last spring!


  • Be extra careful of over watering this one. Because it is slow growing, it uses up less water than your typical ivy. Make sure to use a moisture meter to ensure no mistakes are made. 
  • Deadhead regularly to encourage more blooms and maintain a tidy appearance.
  • Spray for caterpillars during the warm months (especially in spring) to prevent your buds from being eaten out from the inside by budworm. Not what you want just when all those lovely flowers are about to burst forth! Dipel, Success Ultra, Pyrethrum, Mavrik and Rose Shield are all effective options. 
  • Ensure your plant gets enough direct sunlight for optimal flowering - morning sun during summer and at least half a day during the cooler months. 
  • Use a liquid fertiliser monthly to ensure those leaves stay lovely and green and the flowers keep coming (I use Thrive Flower and Fruit).

Overall, Summer Rose is an easy-care ivy that is a bushy albeit slow grower and a prolific bloomer. It will reward any gardener many times over!

1 comment

  1. Enjoyed reading this interesting write-up about summer rose. Gardening is one of the most creative and fulfilling hobbies. My wife is into it in a small way. Maybe during my retirement I will also take it up.


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