Favorite hardy geranium

Putnam Valley, NY(Zone 5b)

What is your favorite hardy geranium? I love Rozanne but wish it didn't sprawl. I see a new cultivar, Azure Rush, is a sport of Rozanne that reportedly is more compact. But I can't find it anywhere. I guess I'll try it another year. I also have a macrorrhizum that I transplanted from a neighbor, possibly Ingwersen's variety, that has thrived along the border of the woods in poor soil. Beautiful but the bloom is so short. So I'd love to know what works well for others. My garden is part shade, zone 5B.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Hi krainieri
So far my favorite is G. x magnificum. It is a clumper, not a sprawler like Rozanne. It blooms for about 3 glorious weeks late spring. Very tolerant of drought/neglect. I cut it down after it flowers, so it sprouts nice new foliage, then again in winter or spring. this plant is maybe 5-6 years old, and is over 7 feet across. Time to divide!
Last year I planted a new cultivar: G. x magnificum 'Rosemoor'. It is billed as a bit smaller, longer blooming and less likely to flop. It is blooming now, it started blooming about 2 weeks after the regular variety. We shal see about the rest.

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Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Not favorites, but useful: Last year I also planted two varieties of G. phaeum, 'Lily Lovell' and 'Samobor'. I wanted plants for dry shade, and these were recommended. The all survived and are blooming now. The blooms are not very visible, but the bees love them. 'Lily' has nice green foliage, and 'Samobor' has purple variegation on leaves, but as blooms are maroon they just are not too showy.
#1 'Lily is the clump on the right, 'Samobor' is the clump on the far left, early spring.
#2 super closeup of tiny "Lily' flower
#3 variegated foliage of Samobor
#4 Backlit 'Lily' in bloom'
#5 'Samobor' habit-showing how the blooms are not well seen.

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Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I have also planted G. macrorrhizum 'White Ness' and G. x cantabrigiense 'St Ola', hoping they might be nice white ground-covery plants, resistant to drought (see a theme here?). they made it thru our tough winter fine.

No luck with the alpines like G. cinereum, they can't take my clay and winter wet.

Here is G. 'Rozanne from last August, showing the sprawling/climbing habit. Each photo is just one plant!

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Oviedo, FL(Zone 9b)

I planted Samobor or Sambor, not sure which name, for the foliage, which is striking and retains its color all season. This plant also drops seed which produces true plants so I can dig the babies up in the spring and either move them to new spots or sell them at my plant sale. Still, bought this originally for the foliage.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

MLM, that looks like a huge peony in front of the geranium. My geranium has straight stems and I put a cage of 2x2" squares fencing around it. By the time it grows it entirely hides the support and looks gorgeous. But with no support it doesn't sprawl, it falls flat as a fritter. I don't know what kind it is. Just a plain old 'garden variety' blue geranium/

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Hi Oberon-no peonies in these photos-which one were you looking at?
The fencing idea looks good. This year my Rozanne got over 7 feet up in a shrub!

krainieri- if you are still looking, try the mail order Geraniaceae, they have a truly massive list of Geraniums. They are expensive, because the plants are big!

For winter reading, here is a book to take out of the library- Gardening with Hardy Geraniums by Birgitte Husted Bendtsen, a Danish gardener.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

The first photo on June 2. Right smack in front of the geranium. Sure looks like a peony.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

The very first photo is the big purple (or maybe it should be called violet?) Geranium, and in front of it are some orange Geum 'Totally Tangerine'. This is my favorite Geum so far, because of the long bloom period, and vigor of plants. Others I have tried include 'Mrs Bradshaw', 'Mango lassi', and 'Lady Strathedon'. Are there any orange peonies? There is also an orange Bearded Iris bloom sticking up in the middle, hard to see in these thumbnails. Do Geum grow in Anchorage?

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Yes, there are orange dahlias. All sorts of solid ones, and varigated ones. Really beautiful

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Hmmm. I put a little Peony 'Molly the Witch' on the other side last year (yellow), but it died, I think I didn't water it enough. Maybe I will find an orange one.

Putnam Valley, NY(Zone 5b)

Still searching for a blue compact hardy geranium. Don't want a sprawling one in the front bed, as I like it to look a little neat. Back garden can be casual. I wish I could find someone who had experience with Azure Rush but as I can't I may just go for it and see what happens.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

If you get Azure Rush please report back about how it does.

Putnam Valley, NY(Zone 5b)

Again this year couldn't find it. Not yet widely available in US I think. Maybe next year.

(Zone 4b)

Quote from krainieri :
I see a new cultivar, Azure Rush, is a sport of Rozanne that reportedly is more compact.

I took this picture today. It is either "Azure Rush" or "Havana Blues". (What is nice is that it does well in much less than full sun)

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Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Wow, I must have missed this great thread last year. Pistil, I looked up that Geranium phaeum 'Lily Lovell' and LOVE it. I'll have to start my 2016 wish list with that one for sure. My 'Sambor' did so well this year and it has grown huge. It gets part sun. What kind of sun do yours get? I'd like to try it in full shade as well. I got four new geraniums this year to add to my collection. My favorite one is supposed to be a Geranium wlassovianum (pic 3) but I don't think it is. Either way, the blooms are gorgeous. I have a pic of one bloom below. Most of the blooms are white, a few are white and lavender, and some are just lavender. One of my favorite ones is my 'Johnson's Blue' (pic 1). I have that planted in full shade and it sprawls ALL over but that is why I love it so much. My beds are a typical 'cottage garden' style and it's so cool to see blue blooms several feet away from the plant. It does so well there I might get a couple more. For best individual blooms, I'd have to go with 'Ballerina' (pic 2). The plant is fairly small though.

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Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Hi Seq-
Well both my G phaeum ('Lily Lovell' and 'Samobor' are doing poorly this year. I suspect it is just tooooo dry under my pine tree, which is limbed up so not dense shade. I had planned to water occasionally last summer, but due to house renovations I could not use the hose and it was a hot dry summer. So this spring (also hot and scarily dry) the 'Samobor' got covered in grey-white ?mildew, and now may be dying. 'Lily' is struggling and wimpy. I tell you what, if they are doing better in September, maybe I will dig them up and trade them to you? In general, although I like the 'Samobor' variegation, I like 'Lily' better. The bees love them both.

Oberon- How did I miss this? You were asking about the Tree Peony in the second batch of photos. It is 'Tria'. Here she is this year. The buds got a bit frosted, causing crinkling and a red tinge to the edges which it usually does not have.

#1-3 Tree Peony 'Tria'
#4 is Geranium 'Lily Lovell' this year, not happy
#5 is poor G. 'Samobor'

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Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

That Samobor looks like it has powdery mildew, not a big deal but it does occur in dry conditions when the plant is stressed. I'd take them off your hands but they have quite a distance to travel in a dark box.

Your peony looks pretty great.

Putnam Valley, NY(Zone 5b)

Rouge21, I love your geranium! Exactly what I am looking for. So you're not sure which one, it is Azure Rush or Havana Blues? but I think both are very similar
I love the veining on Ballerina.
I guess next year I will try both

Putnam Valley, NY(Zone 5b)

So I'm working on this again. I found Azure Rush at Far Reaches Nursery. Geraniaceae does not have them. Expensive but I might go for it, happy birthday to me. I will report back on how they do.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I love Far Reaches, and since they are near me I can have many of their oddities. In the depths of gloomy January I succumb to their advertising prose... Azure Rush seems a really great one.

(Zone 4b)

Azure Rush seems a really great one.

I have 5 AR and 2 HBlues. Both have beautiful flowers and long blooming. It has been my experience that AR is more hardy than HB. But both have a similar habit to "Rozanne"...not as sprawly but I wish for more compactness.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Thanks, Krainieri, for the mention of Geraniaceae.
They've got lots of strange and wondrous geraniums.
Couldn't help but place an order.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I have four Brookside in shade. They flop, but this year I put supports around them early in the season and they look nice. They bloom almost all season long. They've been blooming since the beginning of May and will bloom until a hard frost. After a pretty hard frost, the foliage turns red. I enjoy them. I don't usually put up with plants that flop as much as Brookside, but I can't get much to grow in this garden. The soil is basically subsoil (thanks, builders) and lots of shade. I call the area the "dead zone" and yet the Brooksides bloom all season and then show off their lovely fall foliage. So, I'm willing to work around the floppiness.
I have Rozanne and like it also. Yes, it flops, but it slides around other plants that sort of hold it up.
I also have Geranium Biokovo and Geranium Karmina alternating as a border. This is their third year and as the saying goes, they are "leaping". No flopping, compact plants in full shade. I sheared off the blooms last week in hopes for another round of blooms. I noticed a few have re-seeded with new, small plants. I'm pleased they are re-seeding. I have several places I could put more geraniums.
I'm happy with all of my geraniums.

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

This is a nice thread!
Of all the geraniums that I've tried over the years, the most successful one has been Samobor . The flowers are small but there are many over a long period. The leaf markings are nice and the plant refreshes from a hard cutback. As others said, it sows around and so you can get a nice border out of them. Takes shade and sun.

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Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

My G. phaeum 'Samobor' are in dry shade under a pine tree. I have never had a sadder Geranium. The get some kind of mold and are dying. I really should go dig them up and try them in a better spot! The G. phaeum 'Lily Lovell' are in slightly better shape, but mostly I wasted a lot of $ buying all these for that spot.
p.s. I think some I got mail order from Geraniaceae (and they also have succulent Pelargoniums...)

#1 Here is a photo of 'Samobor' being overgrown by Epimedium, which really does well in that icky spot.
#2, #3 are 'Lily Lovell'

Both of these G. phaeum are attractive to bees, and have a pretty long bloom time. The flowers are sort of small, dark and gloomy, so not very noticeable in that dim spot.

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Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I thought geraniums liked slightly alkaline soil. When I researched this, I couldn't find much.

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

Pistil, how old are those geraniums under the pinetree? Your Samobor does look like it has some powdery mildew. Mine has never suffered from that or any pest or disease. I think you just jinxed me! Lol!
Birder, I'm pretty sure I've heard the same about the Ph.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Loretta- that garden was planted 2013. Just a very tough spot, our Seattle "dry rains" are such a problem, wet all winter, but in about March, it's usually nothing but a drizzle, most is soaked up in the branches of this big pine, very little water gets to the ground, then the the thirsty tree roots get most, so the soil is basically bone dry April through the end of October. I chose those cultivars as G phaeum is listed as a more drought tolerant species of geranium. In NJ, like the Midwest, you get brief but drenching rainstorms all summer, that just does not happen here, so summer drought is normal.

Birder- my soil is a bit acid, I don't lime the geraniums. I have had no luck with G. cinereum cultivars and other more "Alpine" types, but I attributed that to my lack of good drainage. Maybe it was acidity.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

My G. 'Brookside' is in poor draining soil. The soil is slightly alkaline. I would guess the problem with geraniums by the pine is as you suggested, dryness. Manure does wonders for my plants that are unhappy.

(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

Pistil, how has your G. x magnificum 'Rosemoor' faired? I hope you can give a favorable update.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

'Rosemoor' is doing fine. Seems to be about a week or two later to flower than the regular kind, but I would not say it stays in bloom longer. It also seems to flop after flowering and thus benefits from cutting back after flowering, to grow nice fresh foliage. I think it is a bit shorter, not by much. It is in a less sunny spot, though, gets about 3-4 hours midday sun. Also very drought tolerant.
I am not sure it is that much better than the regular one.
Here is a crummy pic I just shot through the window:

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Anna, IL(Zone 6b)

Quote from birder17 :
My G. 'Brookside' is in poor draining soil. The soil is slightly alkaline. I would guess the problem with geraniums by the pine is as you suggested, dryness. Manure does wonders for my plants that are unhappy.

birder - You comment on manure. What kind of manure do you use?

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Horse manure. I feel it's the safest from antibiotics, herbicides, and pesticides. I've used it from the same person for a year now. The difference is like night and day.
Some of my plants have struggled for years and top dressing them (clematis) has made an unbelievable difference.

Edited to add: It's like Popeye with the Spinach. Am I dating myself?? :)

This message was edited Jun 5, 2016 1:48 PM

(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the info on 'Rosemoor', I have little tolerance for plants that flop. I've got full grown G. 'Samobor' just finishing up (1st pic) and it's 3' x 2', self seeding all over the place. I planted a nice pink last year given to me in a trade, so far with only one bloom and yet to be identified. I also purchased and planted G. 'Purple Who'. I love the color of the blooms but the performance is yet to be determined, it's still a baby (2nd pic).

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Yes, Birder, you are definitely dating yourself!

I love two - cantabrigiense Biokovo and ANY kind of sanguineum striatum. Biokovo has started to spread nicely for me. I can pick up buts and move it around, and I can pick up tine bits that turn into beautiful clumps.

Love it with roses and peonies.

I have found striatum to be vigorous and repeat blooming. I have it in pure white, pure pink, and striated. The ferny foliage is great, and it is a lot more vigorous than I would have though, spreading and reblooming. A very different effect - sort of feathery.

This message was edited Jun 12, 2016 8:04 PM

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Duxbury, MA(Zone 7a)

I thought I had one more variety to add to this post - dusky cranesbill, Morning Widow. But upon looking it up with a google search, it is samobor. My flowers look similar to Mypil's first photo on Jun 5 2016, but my leaves look different, not as much of the darker coloring, just a touch. Mine has always been the same. Maybe it's the amount of sun? Mine is in full sun.
First photo - leaves of morning widow, second photo - you can see the flowers in the foreground if you look hard, burgundy color, third photo - my other geranium that was here when I bought the house, I've been calling it Johnson, but it's really more magenta than the Johnson pictures I see. Anyone know?

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Duxbury, MA(Zone 7a)

I'm sorry, that second photo was portrait when I uploaded it. Not sure how to turn it around.

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

That's a beautiful border, Cindy!
Samabor can be marked like that. There are variations.
I find that even if your computer's photo viewer orients the file the right way, it has to be saved on your computer before uploading. I know someone said their is a way to do it on Dave's but I haven't noticed where that is. Maybe someone can say.

(Robin) Blissfield, MI(Zone 6a)

I agree with Loretta Cindy, those are beautiful borders. The first two look like Samobor and I don't know what the third one is but I LIKE it!

You can view the photos upright if you right click the photo and select 'View Image'. When You're done, use your back button to get back to the post.

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