Pelargonsjuka is the Scandi gardening trend to know about – Dawn French is already a fan

Simple *and* stunning? No wonder so many people are falling for this Scandi gardening trend

Dawn French smiles against a monochrome backdrop
(Image credit: Getty)

Would you like a Scandi gardening trend to add to your overflowing list of garden ideas? And a Scandi gardening trend that's been adopted by our own beloved Dawn French, no less? Of course you would.

First, we had the cosy Danish lifestyle concept of hygge (pronounced ‘hue-gah’). Next came lagom (la-gum), which reminded us to seek out 'just enough'. Now, pelargonsjuka is the latest trend to decorate our Pinterest boards with and it's all about how we garden.

In a bid to learn more about this hot new Scandi garden trend, I reached out to Annika Zetterman, author of New Nordic Gardens: Scandinavian Landscape Design

What is pelargonsjuka?

Translating to 'pelargonic disease',  pelargonsjuka comes from the people of Sweden's love affair with pelargoniums (or geraniums, if you prefer a perennial).

They adore the flowering plants so much, in fact, that they keep them in pots, so that they can bring them indoors for the long cold winter and coddle them accordingly.

'With a long period of darkness and cold during winter, green and living plants are uplifting in any room in Scandinavia,' explains Annika. 

'Bringing a "reminder of the garden" inside, has been important in Scandinavia for centuries.'

Several pots of geraniums sit on a rustic windowsill

(Image credit: Getty)

'Geraniums are both delightful and hardy, flowering with abundance with next to no maintenance, which makes them the perfect plant in a Scandinavian home and garden,' continues Annika. 

'They are connected to nostalgia as much as they are perfect social plants – easy to share, take shoots and a much appreciated gift.'

New Nordic Gardens: Scandinavian Landscape Design | £20 at Amazon

New Nordic Gardens: Scandinavian Landscape Design | £20 at Amazon

From fashion to interiors, we have long been obsessed with Scandi design. Now, Annika Zetterman's book explores how the dramatic Nordic landscape, combined with long summer days and light-poor winters, has given rise to exceptionally refined examples of garden design, too.

How has Dawn French become connected with pelargonsjuka?

Dawn French's home in Cornwall – and, in particular her greenhouse – has become the envy of all after she shared a video of the rustic and sun-soaked indoor space on her Instagram feed.

'The beauty,' she captioned it. 'Feelin mighty blessed today in m’greenhouse…'

In the clip, an array of white tin flower pots – filled with bright-coloured blooms, obviously – could be seen displayed on shelving that ran from the floor to the ceiling.

Set against the rustic exposed brickwork, it was a striking display. One which, predictably, has given Dawn's followers plenty of new greenhouse ideas of their own.

'Oh my goodness, that is stunning!' reads one comment. 'That looks like a place out of a fairytale!'

'Pelargoniums perhaps represent our own survival spirit in the north,' says Annika. 'As soon as summer hits, we spend as much time as possible outdoors, where we nurture our gardens, our souls… and we bring the indoor plants out with us.

'This, in turn, gives our plants the vitality, strength, and energy to survive winter.'

Gardening, different spring and summer flowers, flower box and gardening tools on garden table

(Image credit: Getty)

How to recreate the Scandi gardening trend

Annika suggests we look to The Flower Window, a painting by artist Carl Larsson, for inspiration. 

'To recreate a Carl Larsson window, is to recreate a Scandinavian icon in your own home,' she says. 

'Using the popular Mårbacka Pelargon with pale pink flowers, planted in a terracotta pot, is especially popular.

detail of the purple flowers of Mrs Kendall Clark geranium

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

'In gardens, the simple Geranium sanguineum 'Apfelblüte' has a similar colour to the Mårbacka” perlargonium,' adds Annika.

'This makes it a perfect plant for a Scandinavian look, either in a modern or traditional garden. It should last all summer long.'

Geranium sanguineum var. striatum | £16.99 at Crocus

Geranium sanguineum var. striatum | £16.99 at Crocus

This hardy geranium flowers continuously until autumn with pretty pale pink blooms, streaked with dark pink veins. A striking addition to any home or garden.

Chris Bonnett, founder of is a big fan of this Scandi gardening trend.

'Pelargoniums are considered pretty easy to look after,' he says. 'They love sunlight, so make for a great outdoor plant and they thrive in well-drained soil, which means they don’t need watering too often either.'

A window filled with fluffy peach geraniums

(Image credit: Getty)

'Not only are they low maintenance, but they’re gorgeous to have in your garden as they’re known for their bright blooms and colours,' continues Chris. 

'They can withstand a wide range of temperatures, but they can’t tolerate extreme cold and frost. The Scandi gardening trend of keeping the flower in pots indoors is a great way to protect this beautiful bloom and enjoy it all year round.'

Well, that settles it: Annika, Dawn, and Chris have me convinced that I'm ready to embrace pelargonsjuka with open arms. So, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to ogle the pelagoniums at my local garden centre... 

How do you save geraniums over the winter?

Make like the Swedish and bring your geraniums indoors for overwintering: they honestly make perfect houseplants if you can a) provide them with plenty of bright light, and b) keep them out of cold drafts.

Do geraniums come back every year?

Geraniums are an annual, not a perennial. This means that they do not die back and begin new growth each year; instead, they continue growing from the same plant structure.

Do geraniums do better in pots or in the ground?

While geraniums look wonderful in a flower bed, they actually fare slightly better when they are in containers and pots. Proving, once again, that the Swedish know exactly what they're doing with these gorgeous blooms.

Kayleigh Dray
Acting Content Editor

Kayleigh Dray became Ideal Home’s Acting Content Editor in the spring of 2023, and is very excited to get to work. She joins the team after a decade-long career working as a journalist and editor across a number of leading lifestyle brands, both in-house and as a freelancer.