Geranium Species, Bloodwort, Herb Robert, Fox Geranium, Redshank, Robert Geranium

Geranium robertianum

Family: Geraniaceae (jer-ay-nee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Geranium (jer-AY-nee-um) (Info)
Species: robertianum (roh-bert-ee-AH-num) (Info)
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Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


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:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


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

Burlingame, California

Fremont, California

Healdsburg, California

Pleasanton, California

Redwood City, California

San Francisco, California

Evanston, Illinois

Gaithersburg, Maryland

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Bellaire, Michigan

Cadillac, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Royal Oak, Michigan

Warren, Michigan

Columbia, Missouri

Buffalo, New York

Croton On Hudson, New York

Syracuse, New York

Grassy Creek, North Carolina

Dallas, Oregon

Junction City, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Coopersburg, Pennsylvania

Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Mehoopany, Pennsylvania

Gig Harbor, Washington

Mukilteo, Washington

Olympia, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Stanwood, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 29, 2014, RosinaBloom from Waihi,
New Zealand (Zone 1) wrote:

The leaves of Herb Robert are the main part of the plant used for multiple, medicinal purposes. A great little herb plant - if only people would appreciate their part in creation, and their attributes to mankind...


On May 27, 2014, capengarden from Columbia, MO wrote:

This grows in a community wildflower garden I tend. It spreads throughout the beds, in the mowed grass areas, and competes with tall grasses in an infrequently mowed area. Pretty, but a nuisance at best and aggressor when sharing space with small plants. It's easy to pull up, but hard to mow when in thick beds; it lays down under the mower and escapes the blades. I would not intentionally plant this in our area. (Mid-Missouri)


On May 8, 2014, Canukia from Red Deer,
Canada wrote:

I have found Herb Robert to be a special plant which is useful in the treatment of cancer by facilitating oxygen transportation to the cells of the body. As far as the name 'stinky bob' is concerned, this is inaccurate. The herb does have an earthy smell, sort of like Arugula, but it is not offensive. The fresh herb steeped in hot water has a pleasant taste with a perceptible hint of strawberry and gave me a deep sense of well being. I don't know what all the hype is about this being an invasive plant. The root system is far too delicate to cause it to become invasive. My own personal experience with this herb (Alberta Canada, zone 3) is limited to sowing and over-wintering (inside house). Thumbs up for this beautiful and neglected plant!


On Feb 1, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

I love geraniums, and it's hard to believe that something so small and delicate can be a noxious weed, but that's what it's proved to be here. I manage a "wild" garden where this is a serious weed, and I can't keep up with its self-sowing.

I am far from the only person who finds the smell offensive.

The state of Washington has declared this species a Class B noxious weed, and is considered noxious in Oregon as well.


On Jul 29, 2013, Dean48089 from Warren, MI (Zone 6b) wrote:

Love this plant. Unless the temperatures drop below zero with no snow cover it is evergreen and will often bloom in January when little else is in flower. Since it's a biennial/short-lived perennial, people who complain that it doesn't live beyond 3 or 4 years perhaps need to hit the books.

Seedlings do take advantage of open ground but I have found that it does not compete well with larger plants, so I have to make a point to collect and sow seeds every year. Even on mature plants the roots are insubstantial and so it is easily controlled with a garden hoe.

In areas where Herb Robert has allegedly "overwhelmed" the native growth I have to wonder if the native growth hadn't already been destroyed by picnics, hikers, bicycles, livestock, pollution, etc. A l... read more


On Jun 5, 2009, Bruce10 from Junction City, OR wrote:

This plant is extremely invasive and should not be offered for sale or trade. It will completely cover an area choking out all other plants.


On May 16, 2009, anelson77 from Seattle, WA wrote:

invasive exotic which has escaped to the woods and crowds out native woodland plants. Its also too weedy and stinky to be a good garden plant. It should not be planted and should be pulled out whenever possible.


On Apr 10, 2009, giftgas from Everson, WA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Is it a carrot, parsley, baby giant hogweed, poison hemlock? Doesn't everything look the same? Nice flowers...if it's the only plant you want in your garden. Think of it as a more hateful vinca...


On Apr 6, 2009, growinggreene from Healdsburg, CA wrote:

I have been trying to track the name of this one down for the last 10 years. I couldn't forgive that smell, either - it was so irritating that I tried to take them all out after a while. It never completely worked out but that's ok. Summer here may be too dry for the plant to thrive but it perseveres - autumn comes and I'll find a few seedlings once more flourishing in little spaces under the bushes!


On Aug 14, 2007, wannadanc from Olympia, WA wrote:

I came here to comment on what a horrible smell comes from any crushed plant parts. What has happened instead is that I can easily shift to enjoying the appearance - because it certainly IS pretty enough. It is just that every place I see it reminds me of the nasty smell. Thank you, DGers, for giving me a mind set change.


On Jun 21, 2007, janeanet from Portland, OR wrote:

This plant is VERY invasive in the forests of the Pacific Northwest and should not be planted, at least in Washington and Oregon under any circumstances.


On Aug 13, 2006, krishnatulsi from Nevada City, CA wrote:

This is the most prolific weed I've ever had in my garden. And to think that I bought it at a nursery and planted it myself.
Year One: little growth, no flowers
Year Two: prolific growth with many little pink flowers, not particularly attractive, pulled it out in favor of another geranium which has been much more beatiful
Year Three: thousands of weeds in my garden - in the gravel walkway, in the rock wall, sprouting under other plants, everywhere, all summer long, in wave after wave
Year Four: in spite of last year diligently pulling every weed before it went to seed, this year there were still many hundreds of sprouts, all summer long
Year Five: roughly a hundred, at least managable now

Don't even think about introducing this plant to yo... read more


On Jul 30, 2006, mountainhome from Mehoopany, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

In dry shade this plant grows to about six inches tall and wide and is well mannered. HOWEVER, some got into my wet shade garden and is now 2 ft tall and wide and is taking over. I hate to pull it but I'm going to have to.


On Jun 5, 2006, lunavox from Seattle, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I think the lacy foliage and cute flowers of herb robert are beautiful, but this plant is *so* invasive where I live (Seattle). It's really hard to eradicate, and yes, it does have a bizarre stinky smell. Basically, I'm happy with it, unless it's in my yard.


On Jun 2, 2005, Wayfinding from Gig Harbor, WA wrote:

This is a very attractive groundcover, but it does spread like crazy and it is invasive. Also known as 'Stinky Bob', I'm surprised no one has mentioned how bad this guy smells when it's leaves are crushed!

I am keeping it in some areas of my property (beneath 1/3 acre of Maples and other tall trees) because it looks great and blocks out crabgrass, curly dock, and all kinds of ugly, out of control weeds that used to be growing there, at the same time I have to keep pulling it up from the pond and flower garden area and really don't enjoy the smell while doing that. I definitely would not recommend someone go out and buy this plant because of how invasive it is (see link).


On Apr 27, 2004, garyon from Syracuse, NY wrote:

This has been a great understory plant in the "natural" areas of our garden. It self-seeds abundantly throughout the garden, but its shallow roots allow it to be easily pulled from the areas it is not wanted. I like to colonize it in large drifts among other geraniums and giant flowering raspberries.

A great plant for naturalistic or informal settings, possibly for pot culture as well.

Form, flowers and leaves attractive.


On Jan 22, 2003, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is a weedy little guy and better suited for a wildflower garden. I put one tiny plant in the corner of my shady bed and he threw his seeds far and wide! It's a pretty plant with nice foliage and cute pink flowers but it can be too much of a good thing.


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

Common in shady places, it attains its full glory on walls or rocks where the sun turns stems and leaves brilliant crimson.