How to Grow Hardy Geraniums aka Cranesbill Geraniums
Flowers for your Cottage Garden
I feel almost like a fraud trying to tell you how to grow these flowers. They are so easy they just about take care of themselves. These hardy things are the true geraniums. What is commonly passed off in garden centers as Geraniums are actually Pelargoniums. They are related so I guess it is okay to call them both Geraniums.
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I have about 6 or 7 different selections of these Cranesbill Geraniums and they are all well behaved in my garden, except one.
It is obviously a wild species type and reseeds itself over enthusiastically so I must keep it from going to seed or I find little sprouts EVERYWHERE. I thought it was Johnson’s Blue when I bought it but I was mistaken. Johnson’s Blue would not misbehave.
I keep it in check by taking my Ryobi weed wacker to it just after it blooms. This garden thug also spreads by runners so I am also trimming it back out of the pathway frequently.
All the others are hybrids that are named and you can only propagate them by divisions so they mind their manners.
Rozanne was the 2008 Perennial of the year and it is not only well behaved but blooms and blooms. Though I planted it at the base of some roses to hide the bare canes at the bottom of the bush it quickly overgrew the rose but with careful pruning I was able to tame it.
Hardy Geraniums have a mounding habit and are hardy in Zones 5-8.
Different varieties grow to different heights so check the details on each but typically they grow between 2 to 3 feet tall.
To rein in the ones that get scraggly, cut them back after first bloom to within a couple inches of the ground and they will fill back in and re-bloom.
Like most plants they like well draining soil that is moderately rich. (compost, compost, compost, click here to see how I enrich my soil)
I have read they prefer moist soil but here in California we have been enduring drought conditions for 4 years and mine have done just fine but they are well established.
Hardy Geraniums are not only deer resistant but pollinators love them. Win, win!
Most prefer full sun to part shade. When you need to divide just dig up and cut through the root mass and replant, do this in Spring or Fall.
Mildew can be a problem in humid climates but just shear them off and let fresh foliage fill in. Slugs like to snack on the young sprouts so be sure and bait for them or have other slug controls in place.
They look great spilling over rock walls or just rambling along under your roses.
There are even some double varieties but I have yet to get any and try them.
If you want to add an easy, gorgeous plant to your garden then give Hardy Geraniums aka Cranesbill geraniums a try.
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