Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Dusky Cranesbill, Mourning Widow
Geranium phaeum

Family: Geraniaceae (jer-ay-nee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Geranium (jer-AY-nee-um) (Info)
Species: phaeum (FAY-um) (Info)

Synonym:Geranium phaeum var. phaeum

» View all varieties of Hardy Geraniums

12 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
Maroon (Purple-Brown)

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

Click thumbnail
to view:

By bootandall
Thumbnail #1 of Geranium phaeum by bootandall

By conodoguinet
Thumbnail #2 of Geranium phaeum by conodoguinet

Thumbnail #3 of Geranium phaeum by TBGDN

By mosquitoflats
Thumbnail #4 of Geranium phaeum by mosquitoflats

By Galanthophile
Thumbnail #5 of Geranium phaeum by Galanthophile

By Baa
Thumbnail #6 of Geranium phaeum by Baa

By philomel
Thumbnail #7 of Geranium phaeum by philomel

There are a total of 12 photos.
Click here to view them all!


5 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative NancyMcD On Jun 4, 2010, NancyMcD from Grand Marais, MI wrote:

Although some of the flowers are pretty and all are handsome, I have declared this a public menace in our garden. It simply seeds too freely, and the rhizomes stomp all over the neighbors - and what they don't stomp, they shade. We're in Zone 4, with sandy, slightly acidic soil, and that seems to be just what mourning widow wants. Since I don't want to have to mourn for all my other lost treasures, out it goes. It may be more polite where you live, but please think before planting this.

Positive ferncrazy On Apr 14, 2008, ferncrazy from San Francisco, CA wrote:

This is a hardy, spreading, non-invasive geranium. Both the lovely foliage and flowers contribute to a woodland appearance. It divides easily and loves shade.

Positive Weezingreens On Jul 18, 2007, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

This is one of my favorite hardy geranium. It has a neat clump form in the spring, and the leaves are zoned with a dark pattern. As the season progresses, it takes a much larger spot in the garden, and grows to over 3 feet in height. There are profuse purple blooms that cover the plant. This is an avid self-seeder. In our South Central Alaskan climate, I mulch it for the winter.

Positive TBGDN On May 17, 2006, TBGDN from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Mourning Widow geranium is an attractive plant coming from mountainous areas of Europe. It is very hardy here and likes evenly moist, lightly acidic soil; it seems to do well in part shade where I have it planted. I grow the white, as well as a dark maroon purple color. Blooms are graceful and somewhat pendulous on thin stems about 12-16" in height. They seem to add a 'woodland' atmosphere to the garden. Both self seed.

Positive marykay On Jul 24, 2003, marykay from Richmond, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

this is a good plant in my area. I have found a mid/late summer shearing will yield a good fall bloom

Positive hollymayle On Jul 8, 2002, hollymayle wrote:

Vigorous plant that thrives in shady, moist, acidic conditions.

Flowers are highly attractive to bees. Will tolerate pruning to keep foliage healthy and attractive after blooming.

Self-sowing -- generated 10 seedlings that are currently thriving after having been transplanted.

Neutral Baa On Sep 10, 2001, Baa wrote:

Clump forming hardy Geranium from moutainous regions of Europe and Western Russia. Has lobed, soft green, slightly hairy leaves sometimes with a purple mark. Bears deep maroon, almost black, violet blue or white, 5 petalled, slightly reflexed flowers up to 1 inch across.

Flowers end April - July with the occasional flower appearing throughout the season.

Likes damp soils in partial shade but not soil that lies wet and will tolerate sun.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Seward, Alaska
San Francisco, California
Macy, Indiana
Somerville, Massachusetts
Grand Marais, Michigan
Pittsford, New York
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Equinunk, Pennsylvania
Newburg, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Richmond, Virginia
Kalama, Washington

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America