Geranium, Dusky Cranesbill, Hardy Geranium, Mourning Widow 'Samobor'

Geranium phaeum

Family: Geraniaceae (jer-ay-nee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Geranium (jer-AY-nee-um) (Info)
Species: phaeum (FAY-um) (Info)
Cultivar: Samobor
» View all varieties of Hardy Geraniums
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Alpines and Rock Gardens


Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:





18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 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)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

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

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


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

Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut

Farmington, Connecticut

Buford, Georgia

Saint Charles, Illinois

Des Moines, Iowa

Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

Albion, Michigan

Paris, Michigan

Dover, New Hampshire

Glouster, Ohio


Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Lexington, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

Concrete, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Port Angeles, Washington

Port Angeles East, Washington

Spokane, Washington

Fairmont, West Virginia

Madison, Wisconsin

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 25, 2020, sj7 from Marlborough, MA wrote:

I grew this plant when I lived in Michigan, and it was rather too successful. It reseeded itself VERY prolifically and began to take over a huge flower bed. I had trouble keeping it in check. It was very pretty, though.

Now I live in Massachusetts, and I inherited a large, mostly shady area around the edge of my property with little in it. I planted a couple of Samobors, hoping that they would be as vigorous as they were in my previous garden, to help fill in the empty area. They perversely have not spread at all and have not even grown much. They grew in partial shade before, but perhaps I have a bit too much here? Or the soil is too rocky?


On May 30, 2016, angel707 from Nanaimo,
Canada wrote:

Mourning Widow Cranesbill is an intriguing hardy geranium, especially suitable for a woodland edge garden. The plant does set seed though not invasively. It is not sterile. The seedlings will not always come true to type if you have a named variety such as the above 'Samobor' however there is only slight variation. Usually this involves the amount of black showing on leaves. 20 years after planting this variety, I am still getting true to type seedlings which are very welcome as the original plants have died out. A lovely little plant, worth cherishing.


On May 14, 2011, lydee from Fairmont, WV wrote:

i received this plant from a friend a few years ago. It is a tough little plant. It survived a long 8 hour trip back to my home and a few days before I actually got it into the ground. It survived being transplanted from an east facing bed to a west facing bed.

it now grows in a sunny, west facing bed amended with lots of compost. It can look a bit brown around the edges by mid-late summer, but it has reseeded prolifically in that spot. I started 2 new plants from it's seedlings two years ago in other areas of the flower beds and now they are as big as the parent plant. They also look like the parent plant.

It has interesting foliage, but tiny flowers. I keep it just for the foliage.


On Aug 4, 2010, groggyfrog from Calgary,
Canada (Zone 3b) wrote:

This is a lovely early-flowering plant. While the flowers are not very showy, they do seem to last a fairly long time (several weeks). It also self-seeds readily and the volunteers are easily relocated.


On May 18, 2009, Zone6aPA from Central, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is a very unusual plant. The leaves are lovely, as photos here show, and the flowers are a very interesting texture and color. In my opinion, these need special siting, because the flowers, neither bright nor large, get "lost." Last year, when my yellow floribunda roses were in full flush at the same time as the Samobor (which are planted in front of the roses), the effect was very nice. This year the roses are lagging behind and the cranesbill have no "background," thus they are not very interesting or noticeable. They are a poor cut flower as the petals drop almost immediately. My positive rating is mostly for the leaves, and for the "unique" factor. I am entranced by the texture of the petals, which are like vellum, but I probably wouldn't select this plant again. It seems more sui... read more


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

The blossoms are very dark purple and held well above the foliage.
The plants can be divided easily for a nice large grouping which is very effective. It also reseeds itself plenty, however, the seedlings are easy to pull out if undesired.
The leaves are wonderfully zoned with brown markings, this feature alone is an excellent reason to grow this plant although it can get a little tall and leggy. I cut mine back after blossoming, they look neater plus it prevents too much reseeding.


On Aug 21, 2003, marykay from Richmond, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

You can get one or two repeat flowerings if you shear the plant back after the first bloom. I can usually get two or three flushes of bloom by doing this and it keeps the plants much tidier during the summer.