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PLANT PROFILE


Geranium himalayense 'Plenum' - double violet Cranesbill

Geranium

Cranesbill

After you become familiar with the hardy Geranium commonly known as Cranesbill you may never want to plant the annual form again. The versatility of the plants within this genus is amazing. Some excel as edgers, some as groundcovers, still others as border or rock garden specimens. Some have single flowers, others are double-flowered. And with the significant number of species and cultivars available in a variety of colours as well as foliage types there will be no shortage of choices for any garden, soil type or exposure. And in a few forms, fall foliage colour may be brilliant.

PRONUNCIATIONjer-RAY-nee-um
COMMON NAMECranesbill
SYNONYMSHardy Geranium, "True" Geranium
DERIVATIONCranesbill - for the beaklike fruit that follows the blooms
FAMILYGeraniaceae - Geranium
TYPEhardy perennials
USESas ground cover, as edger, in rock gardens, borders, woodlands, under shrubs - depending on species or cultivar
FLOWERabundant, 5-petalled, cup- or saucer-shaped, on wandlike stems
COLOURvarious
FOLIAGEmound-forming, deeply divided
COLOURvaries
HARDINESS
EXPOSUREsun or light-to-medium shade, prefers some shade during hottest part of the day
SOILwell-drained, rich, moist
WATERextra water may be required during droughts
HEIGHTfrom 4" - 48", depending on species and/or cultivar
SPREADvaries
BLOOMmost bloom from late spring to early summer, and possibly later in the season if entire plant is cut back after the first flush of flowers
STAKINGnot necessary with most forms
DEADHEADas soon as flowers fade
PROBLEMSslugs, especially during spring
AFTERCAREcut foliage back to 1" from the ground when first bloom is over to stimulate new growth and later rebloom
FALL CAREcut to ground after a hard frost
PROPAGATIONcuttings:  (semi-ripe) summer;
division:  NO! All forms have long roots that do not divide well; take small slips from outside of clumps with a few small rootlets attached and transplant these;
root cuttings in spring or fall; set cuttings 1 inch deep
seeds:  species only
SEED CULTUREspecies only; sow ripe autumn or spring; seedlings bloom in 2-3 yrs.
FERTILIZERtop-dress in spring with compost, well-rotten manure or a balanced organic fertilizer
MULCH 
FORMSGeranium x cantabrigiense:  8-12"x12" alpine or border type
Geranium cinereum:  Grayleaf Cranesbill, 4-6"x12" alpine type
Geranium clarkei:  Clark's Geranium, 12-18"x18" border type
Geranium dalmaticum:  Dalmatian Cranesbill, 4-6"x12" alpine type
Geranium endressii:  Endres Cranesbill12-18"x12-24" border type
Geranium himalayense:  Lilac Cranesbill, 12-18"x24" border type
Geranium x 'Johnson's Blue':  12-24"x24" border type, Geranium himalayense x Geranium pratense
Geranium macrorrhizum:  Bigroot Geranium, 12"x24" border type, excellent ground cover
Geranium maculatum:  Wild Cranesbill, Spotted Cranesbill, for bright shade or woodlands
Geranium x magnificum:  Showy Geranium, 18-24"x24" border type, as showy as the name suggests
Geranium x oxonianum:  18-24"x24" border type, Geranium endressii x Geranium versicolor
Geranium phaeum:  Dusky Cranesbill, Mourning Widow,18-24"x24", perfect shade specimen
Geranium pratense:  Meadow Cranesbill
Geranium psilostemon:  Armenian Cranesbill, 3-4'x3', good focal point because of its height
Geranium renardii:  12"x12", unique puckered yet soft foliage invites touching
Geranium sanguineum:  Bloody Cranesbill, 9-12"x12" border type
Geranium sylvaticum:  Wood Cranesbill, 18-24"x24" excellent woodlander
Geranium wallichianum:  12"x24" alpine or border type
PERFECT PARTNERHemerocallis (Daylily) - Plant a hardy geranium in front of a favourite daylily:  
  • when the geranium blooms in spring-early summer, daylily foliage is just sprouting
  • after the geranium has been cut back, the daylily bloom will be starting
  • then, when the daylily blooms begin to fade, the geranium foliage will be lush and full once again
LEARN MOREThis genus is so rich and diverse, you may want to search out books that can tell you much more including the few mentioned below:  
  • Hardy Geraniums: The Complete Guide to the Genus - Peter Yeo
  • Gardener's Guide to Growing Geraniums - Trevor Bath & Joy Jones
  • Gardening with Hardy Geraniums - Birgitte Husted Bendtsen * my favourite - gorgeous
COMPANION PLANTSPLANT PARTNERSHIPS

The images below show the variety of flower colour and form available in this genus.

Geranium endressii - Endres Cranesbill Geranium magnificum - Showy Geranium Geranium x 'Johnson's Blue' - 'Johnson's Blue' Geranium Geranium 'Ann Folkard' Geranium himalayense - Lilac Cranesbill

Geranium 'Lawrence Flatman' Geranium renardii Geranium clarkei 'Kashmir White' Geranium phaeum - Mourning Widow Geranium sanguineum 'Alpenglow' - Bloody Cranesbill 'Alpenglow'


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CORNER GARDEN CONSTRUCTION  |  CORNER GARDEN PLANTING  |  LONG GARDEN

EAST GARDEN  |  HOSTA GARDEN  |  NORTH GARDEN  |  WINTER GARDENS

PLANT PARTNERSHIPS

BLUE PERENNIALS    Aconitum - Geranium  |  Iris - Vinca

BULBS    Allium - Hyacinthus  |  Narcissus only  |  Tulipa only  |  Minor Bulbs

BUTTERFLY MAGNETS    Anaphalis - Hemerocallis  |  Liatris - Veronicastrum
DAYLILIES      Spider & Unusual Form

EDGERS    Arabis - Iris  |  Nepeta - Veronica

FOLIAGE PERENNIALS     Alchemilla - Tanacetum

HOSTA    Hosta - all

HUMMINGBIRD-FRIENDLY PERENNIALS    Alcea - Salvia

ORANGE PERENNIALS    Achillea - Tulipa

ORNAMENTAL GRASSES    Acorus - Imperata |  Miscanthus - Spodiopogon

PINK PERENNIALS    Achillea - Lilium  |  Lychnis - Veronica

PURPLE PERENNIALS    Aconitum - Liatris  |  Polemonium - Veronica

RED PERENNIALS    Achillea - Veronica

SHADE PERENNIALS    Aegopodium - Erythronium  |  Ferns - Polemonium  |  Polygonatum - Vinca

SILVER FOLIAGE PERENNIALS    Achillea - Cerastium    |    Cornus - Limonium    |    Lunaria - Veronica

SIMPLY SPECIAL PERENNIALS    Acanthus - Saxifraga

WHITE PERENNIALS    Achillea - Iris  |  Kalimeris - Yucca

YELLOW PERENNIALS    Achillea - Hypericum  |  Inula - Verbascum

VARIEGATED-FOLIAGE PERENNIALS    Acorus - Erythronium  |  Hakonechloa - Lysimachia  |  Miscanthus - Yucca

PLANT PROFILES

Dianthus 'Tiny Rubies'  |  Geranium  |  Geum coccineum  |  Kerria japonica  |  Knautia macedonica

Paeonia tenuifolia  |  Papaver somniferum  |  Rudbeckia  |  Salvia 'East Friesland'

Trollius  |  Veronica 'Sunny Border Blue'

PROPAGATION

DIVISION - SPRING ONLY  |   DIVISION - FALL ONLY  |   DIVISION - SPRING OR FALL  |   DO NOT DIVIDE

FERTILIZATION

BULBS  |   ORNAMENTAL GRASSES  |   PERENNIALS  |   SHRUBS  |   VINES

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