Is a rose geranium the same as a geranium?

Perfume and fragrance enthusiasts often come across the terms “rose geranium” and “geranium” when exploring different scents. It’s natural to wonder if these two terms refer to the same thing or if they represent different aromatic varieties. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of perfumery to shed light on the similarities and differences between rose geranium and geranium.

Understanding Geranium

Geranium, scientifically known as Pelargonium, is a flowering plant belonging to the Geraniaceae family. It is native to several regions, including South Africa, but has been cultivated in many other parts of the world. Geranium plants are known for their attractive flowers, which come in a range of colors including white, pink, purple and red.

In the realm of perfumery, geranium essential oil is highly prized for its distinctive aroma. The oil is extracted from the leaves and stems of the plant through a process of steam distillation. Geranium oil has a delicate, floral scent with hints of rose and citrus, making it a popular ingredient in perfumes, colognes, and other fragrances.

Introducing Rose Geranium

The rose geranium, also known as Pelargonium graveolens var. roseum, is a specific variety of geranium that is highly sought after for its unique fragrance. Although Rose Geranium is from the same botanical genus as Geranium, it is considered a distinct variety due to its specific fragrance profile.

The essential oil extracted from rose geranium has a more pronounced rose-like aroma compared to traditional geranium oil. This is why it is often referred to as “rose geranium”. The fragrance of Rose Geranium is characterized by its floral, sweet and slightly fruity notes that are very similar to the scent of fresh roses. This captivating aroma has made Pink Geranium a popular ingredient in perfumery and aromatherapy.

Distinguishing Characteristics

When comparing Rose Geranium to Geranium, there are a few key differences to consider. The most significant difference lies in the scent profiles of their respective essential oils. Geranium oil has a more balanced and complex scent, combining floral, citrus and herbal notes. In contrast, rose geranium oil leans heavily toward a rose-like scent with its distinct sweetness and fruity undertones.
Another notable difference between the two is the appearance of the plants. While both geraniums and pelargoniums have similar foliage and flowers, pelargoniums often have a more compact growth habit and may produce slightly smaller flowers. It’s important to note, however, that these differences can vary depending on specific varieties and growing conditions.

Perfumery applications

Both geranium and rose geranium oils are used extensively in the perfume industry. Geranium oil is valued for its versatility and ability to blend harmoniously with a wide range of notes, making it a valuable ingredient in a variety of fragrance compositions. It adds a floral and slightly herbal nuance to perfumes and is often used to enhance and round out other floral scents.

Pelargonium geranium oil, on the other hand, is prized for its distinct rose-like aroma. It is often used in perfumes that seek to capture the essence of fresh roses or evoke a sense of romance and femininity. The sweet and fruity undertones of Rose Geranium lend themselves well to floral, oriental and chypre fragrances, creating a captivating and luxurious character.

Bottom line

While Geranium and Pelargonium are closely related, they are not the same. Geranium represents a broader range of varieties with a more diverse fragrance profile, including notes of rose and citrus. Pink Geranium, on the other hand, is a specific variety that has a more pronounced rose-like aroma, making it a popular choice for fragrance enthusiasts seeking a captivating floral scent. Both oils have their own unique applications in perfumery, and their distinct characteristics contribute to the rich and varied world of fragrance.

Whether you’re drawn to the versatile nature of Geranium or the seductive rose-like notes of Rose Geranium, these aromatic extracts offer a wealth of olfactory possibilities for perfume connoisseurs and fragrance enthusiasts alike.


Is Rose Geranium the same as geranium?

No, Rose Geranium is not the same as geranium. While they share some similarities, they are different plant species.

What is Rose Geranium?

Rose Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) is a specific variety of geranium that has a distinctive rose-like scent. It is often used in perfumes, cosmetics, and aromatherapy.

What is geranium?

Geranium is a genus of flowering plants that belongs to the family Geraniaceae. It includes several species, one of which is Rose Geranium. Geraniums are known for their colorful flowers and aromatic leaves.

What are the differences between Rose Geranium and geranium?

The main difference between Rose Geranium and other geranium species is the scent. Rose Geranium has a distinct rose-like fragrance, while other geraniums may have different scents or no scent at all. Additionally, Rose Geranium is often cultivated for its essential oils, whereas other geranium species are grown mainly for their ornamental value.

Can Rose Geranium and geranium be used interchangeably?

While Rose Geranium and geranium are not the same, they can sometimes be used interchangeably in certain applications. For example, both can be used in skincare products, potpourri, or as natural insect repellents. However, it’s important to note that the scents may differ, so it’s best to test and see if the desired aroma is achieved when substituting one for the other.

Are there any similarities between Rose Geranium and geranium?

Yes, Rose Geranium and other geranium species share certain similarities. They are both flowering plants with attractive blooms and have been used for various purposes such as medicinal, culinary, and aromatic applications. They also belong to the same plant family, Geraniaceae.