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This post is all about true Geraniums, not the Pelargoniums that we often call by the same name. If you have a hardy geranium in your garden, you’ve probably noticed it beginning to flower round about this time of year. They’re a magnet for bees and are one of the easiest plants to have in the garden as they die down each year and pop back up in late spring/early summer.
They make a great ground covering, suppressing weeds and covering soil. Some varieties can become quite thuggish, but they’re easy enough to keep under control by giving them a good chop when they’ve become a bit too big for their boots! You can choose a geranium in colour ranging from blues to pinks and it will always have 5 separate petals, and 5 parts to its leaves.
Other Names for the Geranium
Many people call geraniums “cranesbills”. This name comes from the shape of the seedpod, which looks like the crane bird’s bill. The word “geranium” comes from the Greek “geranos” which means “crane”.
Although they will tolerate a fair bit of neglect from the gardener, it’s a good idea to give a slow release feed to your geraniums in Spring. This will help them get on their way to creating beautiful displays later in the Summer. Depending on your location, it may be possible to cut back the geraniums after the flower and get another display later in the season.
A geranium will tolerate most locations and soils. I have them growing in full sun, partial shade and full shade!
Other than their Spring feed, geraniums really do not require a lot of attention. At the end of the season when the leaves are looking tatty, it is a good idea to chop the plant right back, just to tidy the garden up.