Pelargonium fruticosum is a shrublet known for a profusion of flowers in spring, although some may occur all the year round. The flowers may be white to dark pink in colour and about 2 cm wide. The two upper petals have dark pink to purple markings at the base. The three lower ones are unmarked and narrower. The flower stalks are short, bearing usually one flower each. The calyx tube may be up to 2 cm in length.
The leaves are fleshy to leathery, trifoliolate but finely further divided or lobed, with a furrowed appearance of the connecting parts. The upper stems are light green, older ones becoming red and woody. The plant grows to about 1 m in height. The seeds are wind dispersed and drill into the ground using the corkscrew tail attached to it for this purpose.
The species distribution ranges from Ladismith to Willowmore and from thesouthern Cape coast through the Little Karoo up to about 100 km inland. It is mainly found on southern slopes in well-drained soil among Karoo or fynbos plants. The plant is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century, listed as of least concern on the 2009 Red List of South African plants.