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Other RHS Gardens

Geranium 'Orion'

Geranium 'Orion'

Striking violet-blue flowers really stand out, and at Wisley we have such eye-catching beauty by way of Geranium ‘Orion’ planted prominently in the herbaceous beds supporting the gorgeous roses in the Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden on Weather Hill. You can also find it in the Glasshouse Garden among other places, as it flowers superbly all summer.

Vital statistics

Common name
Cranesbill 'Orion'
Family
Geraniaceae
Height & spread
80cm (31in) high x 170cm (67in)
Form
Herbaceous perennial
Soil
Fertile, well-drained to moist
Aspect
Full sun or partial shade
Hardiness
Hardy in the British Isles

Geranium

Cranesbills, Geranium, comprise a genus of around 300 species of annuals, biennials and herbaceous, 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 easy to grow. 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, usually rounded or five-pointed, often have interesting marks, textures, or colours. Flowers are white, pink, purple or blue, usually saucer-shaped, and often petals are contrastingly veined.

Geranium 'Orion'

This is a mound-forming perennial that has attractive, highly dissected leaves that almost disappear from sight when the plant is in full bloom.

This stunning cultivar bears large violet-blue flowers up to 5cm (2in) across, with fine dark red veins with white at the centre. It starts flowering in May and can go on until the autumn.

It is in the Pratense group of hardy geraniums.

Cultivation

  • Perfect for underplanting roses or filling the front of a border, coping well in full sun or partial shade.
  • Water freely in the growing season. This plant is fast-growing and will benefit from a late summer chop to tidy up its habit and encourage production of fresh foliage and extended flowering.
  • Plants may be damaged by vine weevil and sawfly larvae, slugs and snails. In dry conditions powdery mildew may be a problem.

Propagation

  • Seed: sow in containers outdoors as soon as ripe or in spring.
  • Lift and divide large colonies in spring. 

AGM

The RHS Floral Trials Subcommittee awarded Geranium ‘Orion’ an Award of Garden Merit with the description:

'Flowers single, 4.5cm diameter, upward and outward pose, bright royal purple-blue with small cream eye. Magenta parallel veins. Flowered from late May through June. Leaves medium green, slightly hairy with paler more hairy reverse.'

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