Geranium macrorrhizum 'Album'

    Perennial of the Month-- December 2004 

(ger-A' knee-um  mac-cror-rI' zum) (pronunciation at link, turn up volume if too low)

Common name: Bigroot Perennial Geranium

Family: Geraniaceae, Geranium

Height x width: 12" x 24-30"

Growth rate; habit: moderae, low mound

Foliage: 6-8" wide, 7 divisions, each division with shallow lobes; very strongly fragrant when crushed--characteristic and unmistakable!

Flowers: purplish red for species with red calyces (sepals); white flushed pale pink, with pink veins, for this cultivar with lovely contrasting red calyces;  one inch wide, held on slightly hairy stalks (peduncles)

Hardiness: USDA zones 3-8

Soil: moist to average, tolerates drought but may wilt in heat and dry; doesn't tolerate wet

Light: full sun, or part shade south

Pests and problems: none significant

Landscape habit, uses: front of borders, massed, groundcover for large areas, fragrant gardens; interplant among shrubs or roses, in front of taller perennials or ornamental grasses (such as blue-leaved switchgrass for contrast or David garden phlox to echo white)

Other interest: common name from large, vigorous root system; species was one of earliest cultivated geraniums, dating to at least 1576; species has been cultivated for Oil of Geranium

Other culture: very attractive, floriferous, low maintenance perennial

Propagation: spring division, cuttings under mist or humid chamber

Sources: Geraniaceae, or specialty perennial nurseries online/mailorder/local

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