Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cranesbill, Bigroot Geranium, Bulgarian Geranium, Rock Crane's-bill
Geranium macrorrhizum

Family: Geraniaceae (jer-ay-nee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Geranium (jer-AY-nee-um) (Info)
Species: macrorrhizum (mak-roh-RY-zum) (Info)

» View all varieties of Hardy Geraniums

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

17 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Alpines and Rock Gardens

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
Pale Pink

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

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 rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 9 photos.
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9 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Apr 18, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A tough, versatile perennial that's virtually problem-free. It makes a great weed-smothering groundcover that's easy to control. It performs well here in dry shade. It's adaptable, but I find it does best with some protection from the hottest summer sun.

The flowers are showy, and bloom for about two weeks in May here. In the species, the petal color is magenta. Flowers range in color by variety from white to magenta. 'Ingwerson's Variety' is soft pink.

This was the traditional source for oil of geranium, which is toxic to dogs and cats. The foliage has a sweet piney fragrance, especially when rubbed or crushed, that I enjoy but some find a little medicinal. Because of the fragrance, this plant is said to be deer-resistant.

The foliage isn't evergreen here in Boston Z6a, but the stems live on from one season to the next and should not be cut back in the fall. They aren't attractive when leafless in winter, and should be placed accordingly. In most years, I don't see much fall foliage color here.

I propagate this plant by pulling off a stem, pulling off all the leaves except an emerging one at the tip, and burying the stem with the tip at ground level. No extra watering is needed.

Positive straea On Jun 13, 2009, straea from Somerville, MA (Zone 6b) wrote:

The two incredibly differing conditions (in different gardens the same town) where I have grown this plant speak to its ruggedness. In my old garden, I bought a root from a mail-order company and planted it at the edge of a woodland garden here in the city, where the soil was pretty alkaline because it was by a sidewalk (leaching from concrete tends to make nearby soil alkaline) and it had a tendency to alternate between being dry and wet, and it spread along the open-air fence, blooming well despite only getting sun early and late in the day. In my current garden, I bought it at an autumn plant sale and it overwintered in a small pot (!), and this spring I planted it near a bearded iris clump in my sloped sunny garden that is uncharacteristically hot and windy for my region, and it is putting out its gorgeous leaves and again creeping along (though others on this page say it blooms earlier in warmer regions, it usually blooms starting between mid-June and early July for me here). As it's creeping past the bearded iris clump, to reach above the tall foliage it has sent its big rhizomatous roots up into the air, like some sort of alien being. How could one plant be so interesting and varied?

Positive anelson77 On May 31, 2009, anelson77 from Seattle, WA wrote:

I have 'album' and 'bevan's variety'. I wish I had all 'Albums', as the white flowers are sweeter looking and also easier to coordinate with other flower colors. The Bevan's variety spreads a bit faster. This is a vigorous evergreen ground cover adaptable to a variety of conditions. Mine are in the dryish shade of Camellia bushes. Blooms in May and spreads moderately fast via underground rhizomes. Too vigorous to plant in the company of wimpy plants. Still, they are not as hard to control as many spreading groundcovers; I find I am removing the unwanted ones to keep them in bounds a couple times a year. They make up for this work by being very effective themselves at suppressing weeds--I have almost no weeds coming up through their thick surface roots.

Positive sallyg On Mar 22, 2009, sallyg from Anne Arundel,, MD (Zone 7b) wrote:

I have it in part shade. Foliage is in a low rounded mass about 8 inches high. Stems are gradually creeping sideways to enlarge the clump. I pulled off and potted some of the long stems two weeks ago; some had roots and some didn't but they all look great so far. Voles have a home under it but haven't killed it yet.
Foliage is evergreen here and has fall color.

Positive ifonly On Jun 20, 2008, ifonly from Brookfield, CT wrote:

This is an incredible spreader - 3 small plants merged into a 7 foot clump. Very tidy leaves & many blooms. Easily pulled to control.

Unfortunately, voles attacked it last year, leaving big hole in center which I suspect will fill in before long.

Positive Pyrola5 On Mar 7, 2005, Pyrola5 from Bradford, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have several and like them very much. I have found that my neighbor's rabbits also like them. I hope this year I can find a way to protect them. Last year just as they were blooming, they got munched nearly to the ground.

Positive northgrass On Mar 6, 2005, northgrass from West Chazy, NY (Zone 4b) wrote:

The macrorrhizum geranium family is high on my list of favorite plants. They spread nicely without being invasive. The many delicately beautiful blossoms are held high above the foliage in June.
They can be grown anywhere it seems, even in shady dry areas.
A big bonus is the aromatic foliage, I heard is said that it is used in Woodland scented perfumes.

Positive bmuller On May 3, 2002, bmuller from Albuquerque, NM (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have found this plant pleasant and useful to grow in dry shade. It is hardy, beautiful in spring (flowering) and fall (with its colorful leaves), and fragrant of leaf.

Positive Lilith On May 2, 2002, Lilith from Durham
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

This Geranium is not related to the annual bedding or container plant known by the common name geranium (Pelargonium spp.). This perennial Geranium is mounded in form with scented leaves. It is rhizomatous. Flowers are in clusters. Seedheads are pinkish-brown. Fall colors are a combination of red, rust, gold, purple or orange.


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

Juneau, Alaska
Palmer, Alaska
Fremont, California
Brookfield, Connecticut
La Grange Park, Illinois
Millersville, Maryland
Concord, Massachusetts
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Northfield, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Somerville, Massachusetts
Spencer, Massachusetts
Monroe, Ohio
Albany, Oregon
Dayton, Oregon
Mill City, Oregon
Newport, Rhode Island
Seattle, Washington
Spokane, Washington

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