Scented geraniums grace many a windowsill with leaves that evoke the smell of lemon, lime, orange, and even chocolate. But the strongest scented of the bunch is the rose geranium. Its leaves and pink flower petals smell strongly of damask roses. Both petals and leaves are used in potpourri as well as culinary preparations.
Note: common windowbox geraniums are a different species (P. maculatum) and are notable for their harsher scent. Named cultivars of P. graveolens that have the strongest rose fragrance are ‘attar of rose’ and ‘true rose.’
Preparing Geranium Blossoms
Simply pull the petals off, leaving the green base. Don’t harvest the flowers until you are ready to use them, as they will dry out quickly. The typical use is to bake them into cakes, cookies, or sweet breads. Consider adding them to pancakes for a special breakfast treat, topped with warmed rose geranium jelly.
This jelly recipe is a quicker version of rose petal jam, and it is just as delicious when spread on a warm muffin or scone.
Recipe: Rose Geranium Jelly
A reliable source for scented geraniums is Logees, which offers complete indoor growing directions as well as a recipe for rose geranium pound cake.