Geranium maculatum 'Espresso'

Phlox paniculata John Fanick Perennial of the Month-- November 2006 

(ger-A-nee-um) (pronunciation at link, turn up volume if too low)

Common name: Cranesbill Perennial Geranium

Family: Geraniaceae, Geranium

Height x width: 12-18 x 12-24"

Growth rate, habit: moderate, mounded

Foliage: deeply cut, palmately 5-lobed, to 6" across although generally less, chocolate, main attraction of this plant

Flowers: lavender, saucer-shaped, upward-facing, to 1.5in. across in spring (south) to early summer (north) with long bloom (4-6 weeks)

Hardiness: USDA zones 3-9

Soil: average to moist, well-drained

Light: full sun to part shade, best leaf color in full sun

Pests and problems: leaves may scorch on edges if too dry; none serious; possibly rust or leaf spots, slugs and snails

Landscape habit, uses: borders, shade garden, groundcover massed, native plant gardens; combines well with foamflowers, coralbells, in front of and under roses, interplanted with Trollius, Gold Bullion Centaurea and similar gold foliage plants

Other interest: genus name from Greek for crane, for seed capsules resembling a crane's bill which gives rise to the common name; this cultivar noted for it's dark foliage; selection from North Creek Nurseries, Landenburg PA from woods nearby; species found in woods, woodland clearings and edges, roadsides of eastern U.S.; similar to 'Elizabeth Ann' only with smaller flowers but darker foliage; deer resistant, attracts butterflies, low maintenance

Other culture: lightly cut back and shape after bloom or mid-summer in hot climates if leaves burn; may self-sow in optimum conditions

Propagation: division

Sources: many online and local specialty perennial nurseries, North Creek (wholesale)



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