Geranium

 

Basic Facts:

(Common Name: Cranesbill, Hardy Geranium).

Garden Use:

There are varieties suitable for a wide range of uses - ground cover, trailing, mid-border, sun, dense shade. In fact the only situation I've not come across a Geranium to fill is very boggy or in water - but I have a sneaking suspicion there's one out there somewhere.

Wildlife Interest:

Geraniums are great plants for bees.

Cut Flower Use:

Not tried.

Cultivation:

Different species require different conditions and there is a Geranium to suit most gardens.

There are quite invasive types among the goodies so read up about them first.

Not all "Hardy Geraniums" are hardy! - all of ours are though.

Propagation:

Propagation and care differs between species - see below for specific notes.

Pests and Diseases:

The only specific pest we've experienced is a saw fly caterpillar that makes holes in the leaves in late summer.

History:

The common name is a reference to the shape of the seed capsules. Hardy Geraniums should not be confused with their half-hardy distant cousins, the Pelagoniums, which are commonly called Geraniums just to confuse things! 

A member of the Geraniaceae family.

Geranium himalayense Gravetye

Low growing, repeat blooming and spreading.

Geranium himalayense Plenum

Double form, also known as Birch's Double

Geranium macrorrhizum

One of my favourite "grow anywhere" plants with (usually) scented leaves and trailing fleshy stems. Makes a great evergreen ground cover and grows in dry, dense shade as well as sunnier aspects.

The mounds of foliage grow to about 1ft - 1ft 6in tall and will spread to cover a good area over the years. Easy to pull out excess plants as they grow from surface rooting stems, not deep rooted. Propagation is by easily rooting these stems at any time of the growing season.

The leaves often take on good autumn tints in dry conditions.

Geranium macrorrhizum Album

Scented leaves, white flowers with pink stamens in May - June.

From Bulgaria originally.

RHS Award of Garden Merit

Geranium macrorrhizum Czakor

Exceptionally aromatic leaves. Bright magenta flowers May to June.

Geranium macrorrhizum Freundorf

Pale pink flowers.

Geranium macrorrhizum White-Ness

Discovered on an expedition by Ness Botanic Gardens, this form has pure white flowers over a very long period - even carrying some flower into the autumn. Unlike other varieties, the leaves are glossy and are not aromatic leading me to suspect it is cross with another species.

RHS Award of Garden Merit

Geranium monacense Claudine Dupont

Attractively coloured and patterned leaves in spring. Rose pink flowers from April to June 1 - 1/2ft / 30-45cm tall and wide.

Gernaium x.oxanianum Varieties

Geranium Nesta

Tan patterning on the leaves and rose-pink semi double flowers. A good rebloomer from late May to late August 1 - 1/2ft / 30-45cm tall and wide. Prefers a little shade in summer

Named after the lady who's garden it first came up in.

Geranium x.oxonianum Lace Time

Delicately patterned flowers and clumping plants that are more compact than other of the type. Good repeat flowring. Height 1ft / 30cm.

Geranium x.oxonianum Maurice Moka

Pale pink, silky flowers more or less all summer - just keep cutting back old flower stems. We grow him in full sun and in light shade with equal success. Height 1ft / 30cm.

Geranium x.oxonianum Sherwood

The star-shaped pink flowers appear from May onwards on plants reaching 1 1/2ft / 45cm. Good repeat flowring.

Geranium Spring-Fling

Flamboyantly variegated leaves in spring, becoming less so in summer. Pink veined flowers in summer. Not the strongest grower though.

Geranium x.oxanianum var Thurstanianum

A mouthful of a name for a very simple flower. Rolled up petals, purple, taller than "Sherwood".

Geranium Patricia

Raised by Alan Bremer

Brilliant magenta with a black eye. Flowers all summer. Quite bushy plants about 1ft 6in tall. It is a hybrid of GG.endressii and psilostemon.

Divide in spring. We've had failures in a cold winter when dividing in autumn.

RHS Award of Garden Merit

Geranium phaeum

Great for dry shade these plants from neat clumps of large, often patterned leaves and have flowers on top of 2ft stems in late spring into summer and often continue in the late summer, albeit reduced in number.

These will self seed, but not excessively but we propagate by division to ensure purity of type. I only divide plants in spring as they don't do well in pots in winter but for planting in the garden they can be divided in autumn.

Geranium phaeum Album

Pure white form with plain green leaves.

Rather lovely especially with the sun shining through the petals revealing the star-shape calyx in silhouette.

RHS Award of Garden Merit

Geranium phaeum Joan Baker

Beautiful soft blue-pink flowers on neat plants

About 1ft 6in / 45cm tall in flower

Price £5.50 (9cm pot)

Geranium phaeum Lavender Pinwheel

Lovely lavender coloured flowers with darker purple outlines of the calyces showing through.

About 2ft 3in tall in flower

Geranium phaeum Lisa

Pale green leaves with pale yellow, almost white, at times, centres.

2ft tall.

Geranium phaeum Rachel's Rhapsody

Mosaic-like variegation to the large leaves in yellow and green with dots of red. Rather weird. Flowers are typical maroon phaeum type.

Makes a large leaf mound about 2ft tall.

Geranium phaeum Sericourt

Beautifully variegated leaves in pale lemon and green, becoming greener later in the year.

1ft tall.

Geranium phaeum Valkyrie (Walküre)

Good in partial shade through to full sun. 1ft 6" / 45cm tall in flower.

Geranium pratense Mrs. Kendall Clark

Blue and silver flowers like Mother of Pearl on 2ft 6in (75cm) stems. Mounds of divided leaves. Blooms May - July and sometimes again September - October.

RHS Award of Garden Merit

Geranium pratense Victor Reiter

Intensely purple foliage in spring, aging more dark green. Purple flowers in early summer.

Cut back hard after first flowers to encourage second flush.

Leaves turn orange and red in autumn.

Geranium reflexum

Good for sun or shade with pink flowers with highly reflexed (swept-back) petals from May to July

Geranium renardii

Felted leaves look attractive at all times. The large purple-white flowers have deeper purple veins. About 6in-9in / 15-22cm tall. Good for poor, dry soils. Needs a sunny spot.

Propagate by division in spring.

RHS Award of Garden Merit

Geranium sanguineum varities

These are low sprawling or bushy plants for sun and dry, well-drained soils. Most are about 6-9in / 15-22cm tall and about 12in / 30cm across. Best if pruned by a half of their length after the first flowering finishes. Propagate by division, root cuttings or, in some cases, seed.

Geranium sanguineum Album

Pure white version of this lovely mat forming plant. Rather more upright than other types

RHS Award of Garden Merit

Geranium sanguineum Elke

One of the best of the type. Shimmering pik flowers with silvery white edge. So pretty!

Geranium sanguineum John Elsley

Brightly coloured and slightly veined flowers.

Geranium Stephanie

Leaves like Geranium renardii and pearly pale violet flowers from April - June. Low growing and great in dry and poor soils but give her some TLC and you won't regret it! Needs a sunny spot.

Propagate by division in spring.

Geranium Tiny Monster

This is a cross between Geraniums sanguineum and psilostemon producing a low-growing plants (like a sanguineum) with large, magenta flowers like psilostemon (albeit lacking the black eye). They do well in dry, sunny spots and flower from May through to the autumn with a little rest in high summer.

Propagate by division in spring or by root cuttings.

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