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Geranium phaeum

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© RHS

Characteristics

Plant type

Herbaceous Perennial

Habit

Bushy

Resilience

Hardiness

old H4 (hardy)

Colour

Flower

Pink, White, Pale Purple or Dark Purple in Spring or Summer

Foliage

Green in Spring and Summer

Size

Ultimate height

0.5-1 metres

Ultimate spread

0.1-0.5 metres

Time to ultimate height

2-5 years


Preferred common name

dusky cranesbill

Family

Geraniaceae


Geranium can be annuals, biennials and perennials, herbaceous or evergreen, with rounded, usually palmately lobed or divided leaves, and lax inflorescences of rounded, 5-petalled flowers

G. phaeum is a erect, clump-forming perennial with lobed leaves often with brownish markings, and flat, outward-facing dusky purple, lilac or white flowers 2cm wide in late spring and early summer

Other common names

  • black widow
  • dusky-flowered cranesbill
  • mourning widow

How to grow

Sunlight

  • Full sun
  • Part shade
  • Full shade

Aspect

  • South-facing, North-facing, West-facing or East-facing
  • Sheltered

Cultivation

Grow in moderatly fertile, well-drained soil in sun or part shade but most soils (unless waterlogged) are tolerated. Especially good in damp shade

Soil

  • Well-drained
  • Acid, Alkaline or Neutral
  • Sand, Clay, Chalk or Loam

Propagation

Propagate by division in spring or basal cuttings in early or mid-spring and root with bottom heat. Propagate by seed in containers outdoors as soon as ripe or in spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types

Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower borders and beds or Underplanting of Roses and Shrubs


How to care

Pruning

Cut flowered stems and old leaves to the base to encourage new foliage and flowers

Pests

May be damaged by capsid bug, vine weevil larvae, sawfly larvae, slugs and snails

Diseases

A virus or downy mildew may be troublesome. Powdery mildew may be a problem in dry conditions