Family: Geraniaceae

Common Name: ABC's of Hardy Geraniums


The "Hardy Geranium" are your true Geraniums, easily hardy to Zone #5. Whereas the red, pink, white, salmon, orange ones, also called Geraniums” are from warmer, temperate climates and are not winter hardy to Zone #5. We have to go back over 250 years and blame Linnaeus for this confusion.

Plant TypePerennials Hardy, Site author's observations
Hardiness Zone4-8
Sunlightfull sun to semi shade, a few for drier sites
Moistureaverage to moist soils, some for the drier soils.
Soil & Siteaverage to moist to dry
FlowersThe flowers have 5 equal and usually over lapping petals, ten stamens, many have notched petals and most expel their seeds in an explosive manner. Color palette is purple, pink, white, violet, rose-pink, purplish-red and blue.
Fruitdistinctive beaked seed capsules, hence the common name of crane’s bill (geranium in Greek means crane
Leavespalmate lobed, dissected, usually opposite, many have nice fall color.
DimensionsMost are short to medium in height with a medium spread.
MaintenanceMost like to be cut back after flowering to encourage a new flush of growth
PropagationAlmost all by division or cuttings, some from seed and a few from root cuttings.
Author's NotesThe name cranesbill comes from the top of the fruit (carpels), which forms a beak-like structure. Word derived from Greek geranion, a crane. In 1753, Linnaeus lumped the Pelargonium and Geranium into one genus "Geranium". In 1789 the two genus were separated by an amateur French botanists, but the confusion had already set in.
Notes & Reference#04-Herbaceous Perennial Plants (Allan Armitage), #06-Perennials for the American Gardens (Clasusen and Ekastro),#29-Hardy Geraniums (Peter F. Yeo), #36-Encyclopedia of Perennials (Christopher Woods)
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