Hardy Geranium, Bloody Cranesbill 'Max Frei'

Geranium sanguineum

Family: Geraniaceae (jer-ay-nee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Geranium (jer-AY-nee-um) (Info)
Species: sanguineum (san-GWIN-ee-um) (Info)
Cultivar: Max Frei
Hybridized by Frei
Registered or introduced: 1976
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Alpines and Rock Gardens



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round

Suitable for growing in containers


under 6 in. (15 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 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:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall



This plant is resistant to deer

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 the rootball

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

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


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

Grand Junction, Colorado

Des Plaines, Illinois

Lake In The Hills, Illinois

Gardiner, Maine

Royal Oak, Michigan

Hopkins, Minnesota (2 reports)

North Platte, Nebraska

Brookline, New Hampshire

Jefferson, New York

Apex, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Dayton, Ohio

Strongsville, Ohio

Aberdeen, South Dakota

Custer, South Dakota

Orchards, Washington

New Lisbon, Wisconsin

Watertown, Wisconsin

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 29, 2015, KariGrows from New Lisbon, WI (Zone 4b) wrote:

I love this plant, it is always compact and stays where I plant it.... unlike some of my other geraniums in the woods. Some of mine are so lanky and floppy, but this little gem makes a neat mound. I have two in the woodland garden, one in full shade , one in part shade and one in another bed near my garage that gets half day sun...all bloom and look great. They are each about 18 inches in diameter.


On Apr 23, 2014, Rosiespring from Custer, SD wrote:

Altitude here is just over one mile, rocky but somewhat improved soil, sometimes down to -28 degrees. Max Frei was planted near the Apothecary rose in full sun in 2000. It has spread to at least 3 feet wide, has volunteered in a few spots up to 10 feet away - and blooms beautifully. If I do some shearing or dead heading, it throws out some more blossoms. Turns pretty red and yellow mixed in with the green foliage as weather cools. Max does flop over later in season, so I surround it in spring with a "tube" of chicken wire - it helps. This is a good, strong blooming plant that I rely on.


On Nov 2, 2009, annakins from Aberdeen, SD wrote:

Wonderful plant for the front of the border. Blooms all summer and fall. Looks good next to woods purple aster. Both bloomed even after frost.


On Jun 3, 2009, tabasco from Cincinnati (Anderson Twp), OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

I've have G. 'Max Frei' in my sunny border planted along the driveway edge where it gets morning sun and afternoon shade. I started with one plant four years ago and two years later divided it into four and now have a thriving little colony of them. I wish I had more, too

I'm surprised there are not more positive comments about 'Max Frei' on Plant Files since it's one of the nicest, easiest to grow, compact hardy geraniums in our Zone 6a garden.

I highly recommend it for a neat little edger or rock garden plant with pretty bright flowers in May and June.


On May 26, 2003, diasue53 from Dayton, OH wrote:

These plants edge my perennial garden. I love them, and wish I could track down more. I'm in Zone 5 and they've been thriving for 5 years now in a sun/part shade environment. Soil goes from moist in the spring to dry-dry-dry in the summer.