You can find this plant on the Long Border at Rosemoor where the bright magenta flowers make a striking combination with the bright yellow of Hemerocallis 'Burning Daylight' AGM planted nearby. In the Cottage Garden it harmonises with the velvety red-purple flowers of Clematis 'Royal Velours' scrambling up white flowered Syringa vulgaris 'Madame Lemoine'.
- Common name
- Armenian cranesbill
- Height & spread
- Up to 1m (36in) high x 45cm (18in) wide
- Clump-forming herbaceous perennial
- Fertile, well-drained to moist, but not waterlogged, soil
- Full sun or partial shade
- Hardy throughout the British Isles
Cranesbills, Geranium, comprise a genus of around 300 species of annuals, biennials and herbaceous or semi-evergreen, sometimes tuberous perennials. They are sometimes confused with the genus Pelargonium which is commonly, though mistakenly, known as geranium.
Cranesbills are found in all except very wet habitats in temperate regions. They are generally long-lived and undemanding plants. Compact perennials, to about 15cm tall, are good for a rock garden; trailing, spreading or mat-forming plants are effective as ground cover in a woodland or wild garden. Taller, clump-forming species and hybrids are suitable for a border or among shrubs.
The leaves are frequently interestingly marked, textured, coloured or aromatic. Flowers are white, pink, purple or blue, usually saucer-shaped, and often petals are contrastingly veined.
From north east Turkey, G. psilostemon is an herbaceous perennial forming a large clump of lobed leaves, tinted red in autumn. It bears flowers up to 4cm wide in deep magenta-crimson with black centres, on upright stems to 1.2m.
- Grow in any moderately fertile soil apart from waterlogged soils.
- It copes well in full sun or partial shade, and deep shade is tolerated.
- Plants may require some support to prevent flopping.
- Remove flowered stems and old leaves to encourage a fresh flush of growth.
- Plants may be damaged by vine weevil and sawfly larvae, slugs and snails.
- Powdery and downy mildews, and a virus may be a problem.
- Divide in spring.
- Take basal cuttings in early to mid spring and root with bottom heat.
The RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee awarded Geranium psilostemon an Award of Garden Merit with the description:
'Herbaceous perennial forming a large clump of lobed leaves, tinted red in autumn. Flowers 4cm wide, magenta-crimson with black centres, on upright stems to 1.2m.'