Geranium Species, Bigroot Geranium, Bulgarian Geranium, Rock Cranesbill

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)
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Alpines and Rock Gardens



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade





Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

Pale Pink


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Juneau, Alaska

Palmer, Alaska

Fremont, California

Brookfield, Connecticut

La Grange Park, Illinois

Carmel, Indiana

Millersville, Maryland

Concord, Massachusetts

Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

Northfield, Massachusetts

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Somerville, Massachusetts

Spencer, Massachusetts

Monroe, Ohio

Albany, Oregon

Dayton, Oregon(2 reports)

Mill City, Oregon

Millersburg, Oregon

Newport, Rhode Island

Seattle, Washington

Spokane, Washington

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Gardeners' Notes:


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 e... read more


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 p... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.