Geranium – Hardy Type

Q: On your radio show you mentioned hardy geraniums to use as a ground cover. I didn’t catch all of the conversation. Could you fill me in?

A: In my opinion, hardy geraniums are vastly underused in Georgia gardens. Unlike the gaudy red and orange flowers of annual geranium, which more accurately is a Pelargonium rather than a Geranium, perennial geranium has more muted purple-to-lavender blooms. Given good drainage, hardy geranium forms a weed-free mat of foliage that tolerates both drought and rainy weather. The flowers and attractive leaves are a bonus.

I like Geranium sanguineum ‘John Elsley’ and any of the cultivars of Geranium macrorrhizum. You may sometimes see hardy geraniums labeled “Cranesbill Geranium” due to their distinct seed pod, which resembles a bird’s beak.

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