Geranium sanguineum Max Frei, South of France, Languedoc


In Switzerland I always had Geranium “Rozanne” – it is one of the longest flowering and most vigorously growing Geraniums I knew and I loved to see those gorgeous blue flowers all over my garden. But alas, it’s not made for dry Southern climes or soils.

So for this garden I’m using as ground covers two types of Geraniums that work well here: Geranium sanguineum and Geranium macrorrhizum.

Geranium Sanguineum

Geranium sanguineum makes nice low ground covers in sun or half-shade and works in most types of soils as long as they drain well. In very poor soils a little organic feeding in spring certainly doesn’t hurt to help them get started.

Geranium sanguineum comes in many shades of pink, rosé, or white. In my experience the darker pinks tend to be more vigorous and to fare better in hot sun. I’ve planted Geranium sanguineum album (pure white), striatum (apricot with pink veins), Pink Pouffe (very light pink with dark pink or purple veins), Elke (pink with darker pink veins and white borders), Aviemore (bright pink with dark pink veins), and Max Frei (dark pink with white center). They bloom from March/April to June and again in September/October.

Geranium Macrorrhizum

Geranium macrorrhizum work well in dry shade or half-shade. They are also pretty tolerant about soil humidity but do prefer loose and fairly deep soil. In my hard dry clay they do okay though.

Geranium macrorrhizum comes in shades of pink, violet, or white. I’ve planted Geranium macrorrhizum Spessart (white-rosé) and Bevan’s Variety (magenta pink).

They make pretty flowery cushions from March/April to June and the smell of their leaves is supposed to keep cats away. They spread out via rhizoms and keep weeds down, even competing well with ivy.

Both types of Geranium are not bothered by roots and can be planted around trees.


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