In the early 1600’s this plant was introduced to Holland and England from South Africa. It comes in many different scents: apple, apricot, coconut, lemon, lime, peppermint, and rose (among others). Thomas Jefferson was noted for growing several varieties. England’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew had a geranium collection by the late 17th century.
Scented Geranium leaves can be used to flavor tea, biscuits and jelly, and to flavor sugar. Petals can be alternated with sugar in a mason jar and set in the sun for two weeks, then sifted out for a delightful flavored sugar.
The rose geranium with its highly scented leaves is used in protection sachets, or the fresh leaves are rubbed onto doorknobs and windows to protect them. The leaves have been dried and added to potpourris and sachets of all types
This plant is used rarely in herbal medicine, but seems to have good astringent qualities, making it useful in baths and facials. The leaves steeped in vinegar, and applied to the forehead eases headache.
Scented geraniums are used for aromatherapy, unusual taste treats and for their visual charm.
According to the SPCA the Pelargonium species are toxic to cats and dogs. The presence of geraniol and linalool cause vomiting, anorexia, depression, and dermatitis.