Geranium (Cranesbill)

       When searching for flowers that are adaptable, compact and long-blooming, consider hardy geranium plants (Geranium spp.). Also called cranesbill geranium flower, the plant comes in bloom colors ranging from pinks, blues and vivid purples to subdued whites. Attractive, cup shaped or frilly flowers with five petals, often with distinctive veining, bloom profusely and spread abundantly. The hardy geranium flower blooms in late spring and lasts until fall. The long, palmately cleft leaves are broadly circular in form. Some plants have attractive foliage that lasts until nipped by frost.

       Growing hardy cranesbill geranium may be as easy as planting and watching it blossom when conditions are somewhat damp. Hardy geranium plants grow best in consistently moist soil when first planted, but become somewhat drought tolerant when established. Growing hardy cranesbill geranium in fertile soil also encourages the plant to spread.

Many varieties of hardy geranium plants exist and thrive in full sun to shady locations. When considering how to plant hardy geraniums, consider the location where you wish to plant and choose an appropriate plant for the available sunlight. Also, locate the plant where it has room to sprawl, clipping the edges back if necessary to keep it within its boundaries. Some varieties may be used as ground cover, while others are attractive as border plants. Brighten the rock garden with various cultivars of the cranesbill geranium flower, which may be as short as six inches or as tall as three feet. Smaller varieties may cascade from containers.

       Hardy geraniums should be planted so the crown of the plant is at soil level; planting the crown more deeply can result in the loss of the cranesbill geranium. Hardy geranium care involves the removal of spent blooms and occasional watering for the best performance. When mature, cranesbill has few insect pests and requires only limited fertilization. Rich organic soil is often all the plant needs for optimum growth and flower set. Propagation is by semiripe cuttings in summer, by seed, or by division in autumn or spring.

Notable features of hardy geraniums include that they are deer resistant, drought tolerant (once established), a good ground cover plant, low maintenance, and they will help with slope and erosion control.