(Hardy Geranium) Indispensable, easy to grow and often long-flowering, what more does any gardener want from a plant? We are, of course, talking about hardy geraniums as opposed to the brightly coloured ones grown for summer colour which are pelargoniums.The flowers might be small but they are produced in great profusion. They can be flat and open, trumpet shaped or cupped. Some are produced in sprays, others singularly while the leaves, which again are amply produced, are usually mid-green but some have leaves of another colour. The mid-green leaves of Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’ are yellow leaves in spring, while Geranium pratense ‘Marshmallow’ has dark red leaves. Some geraniums are upright or mounding, others will spread to cover the ground.
Left to right: Geranium 'Azure Rush', Geranium 'Ann Folkard', Geranium 'Silverwood'
As there are hundreds of different hardy geraniums, to make choosing from them a little easier they can be divided into the following groups:
Early spring flowering
Starting from early May these are invaluable for providing spotted colour in borders and shadier areas of the garden which as the leaves on trees emerge will disappear into the shade.
Types: Geranium macrorrhizum, Geranium nodosum, Geranium phaeum, Geranium sylvaticum
Other good choices: Geranium ‘Prelude’
Types: Geranium renardii, Geranium sanguineum
Other good choices: Geranium ‘Dilys’, Geranium ‘Elke’, Geranium ‘Philipe Vapelle’
Mounding border types
Types: Geranium x oxonianium, Geranium pratense, Geranium psilostemon
Other good choices: Geranium ‘Dragon Heart’, Geranium, Geraium ‘Rozanne’
Left to right: Geranium psilostemon 'Catherine Deneuve', Geranium renardii, Geranium 'Prelude'
Needs Well-drained soil in sun, partial shade or shade. Some are happy in dryer soils.
Great for Front or back of the border
Bees & Butterflies Bees, but not many
For Cutting No
Care Cut back after the first flush of flowers has finished to encourage more flowers and fresh foliage, and to discourage seeds that some varieties produce. Cut back again in autumn to tidy up. Divide clumping geraniums every free years to keep them vigorous.
Great with everything