There are over 700 species of Geranium grown throughout the world, with the most common being Pelargonium graveolens. Native to South Africa, the crop has been introduced in other areas of the world over time such as China, Europe, Reunion and Russia. Each geographic location influences the colours, odours and therapeutic benefits of the plants because of the varying soil and climate conditions. ECO. Geranium essential oil is cultivated, harvested and distilled in Egypt.
In the ancient civilisation of Fayoum, 70 miles south west of Cairo in Egypt, Geranium plantations thrives in what is considered one of the most fertile regions of the country. Once a desert, Fayoum became a lust oasis when the Nile river diverted to the region, filling it with nutrient rich water. Geranium crop is planted every October, and harvested once per year in June, when the plant is showing its full blossom. Geranium essential oil has been used for centuries in fragrances, cosmetics and household products. It is known for promoting a healthy complexion for any type of skin, support healthy digestion, promote hormonal balance and act as an insect repellent.
Geranium crop is planted every October and is harvested once per year from June to early August, when the plant is blossoming. Something interesting about the harvest of Geranium is that the optimal time of cutting is determined by a change in the scent of crushed leaves, which change from lemon-like to rose-like. The precious essential oil is concentrated in the leaves of the plant as old stems contain near to no oil. Each plant is harvested by hand using a sickle and meticulously cut 3 eye buds from the ground. The best time to harvest is in the early morning hours, between 6am and 10am. The oil is obtained by steam distillation of the whole aerial part of the blossoming plant. The crop is distilled the same day as the cutting to ensure the highest oil concentration and the optimal therapeutic properties. Geranium is a long-term perennial and can be maintained in the field for over 10 years.
It is estimated that around 8,000 families are involved in the production of Geranium essential oil, making it a crucial trade in the countries where it is produced. A range of individuals work together before the end product is achieved. From pickers, harvesters, trimmers, tractor drivers, irrigation masters, weed cleaners and farm managers, it is the collaboration of a hole interconnected network of people working side by side that contributes to a successful Geranium crop and resulting precious essential oil.
Permaculture practices are used to ensure the long-term viability and success of the crop. Geranium is intercropped with Garlic and the latter protects the Geranium crop from certain pest infestations. Because of this integrated pest management method, less pesticides are used on the aromatic raw material crop. Geranium has become an important cash crop providing diversification to the local farmers as well as non-negligible revenue away from the more classical feed crops (wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, etc). In Egypt, Geranium essential oil production requires less than 12 000 acres of land compared to the 7.2 million acres of Egypt’s planted land.