Geraniums are commonly known as cranesbills, due to the shape of the interesting seed heads resembling that of a crane's beak. They provide excellent ground cover, forming mounds of attractive leaves and a large quantity of geranium flowers which keep on giving throughout the summer.
They require a free draining soil and sun or partial shade, but apart from this these border staples are undemanding and will quickly develop into mature looking additions to your outdoor space. Regular dead heading will ensure the best continuity of blooms and offer a full time feast for your pollinators.
Of course, many people think of geraniums as the brightly coloured seaside bedding plants in reds and whites, but these are actually pelargoniums - plants which need winter protection, but are also well worth growing.
Back to our true hardy geraniums and these look perfect as part of a cottage garden scheme. Plant near the front of borders as they are reasonably low growing and as they fill out they will create a soft curvaceous flow to your design. They are mostly available in pastel shades. 'Rozanne' being undoubtedly the best known variety in beautiful blue. It holds an RHS 'AGM' (Award of Garden Merit) and was also declared 'RHS Chlesea Plant of the Centenary' in the flower show's 100th anniversary year. If pink is more your passion, or you are keen to introduce a mix of pastels, 'Bloomtime' is another popular option.
Geraniums make perfect border partners of many herbaceous plants. Good companions might include peonies, delphiniums and lavender, but really, there are few plants these won't horticulturally harmonise with.
Where to grow Geranium plants?
- Any well drained soil will do with the preference being for a sandy loam.
- Geranium plants perform best in full sun but will tolerate light shade.
- Dependant on the variety Geranium plants are suitable for just about anywhere – pots, beds, baskets and window boxes.
How to grow Geranium plants?
- Geranium plants prefer to be kept on the dry side and can be killed by over-watering
- Feed occasionally – every 2 to 3 weeks
- Deadhead regularly to prolong the flowering season
- Favourite plants can be kept in a frost-free place over winter