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Herbaceous Perennial

Geranium phaeum
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

dusky cranesbill

G. phaeum is a erect, clump-forming perennial with lobed leaves often with brownish markings, and flat, outward-facing dusky purple, lilac or white flowers 2cm wide in late spring and early summer

Other common names
black widow
dusky-flowered cranesbill
see moremourning widow
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Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Purple Pink White Green
Summer Purple Pink White Green
Autumn
Winter
Position
  • Full shade
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

West–facing or South–facing or North–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Geraniaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Geranium can be annuals, biennials and perennials, herbaceous or evergreen, with rounded, usually palmately lobed or divided leaves, and lax inflorescences of rounded, 5-petalled flowers

Name status

Correct

Plant range
S C & W Europe

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How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in moderatly fertile, well-drained soil in sun or part shade but most soils (unless waterlogged) are tolerated. Especially good in damp shade

Propagation

Propagate by division in spring or basal cuttings in early or mid-spring and root with bottom heat. Propagate by seed in containers outdoors as soon as ripe or in spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Underplanting of roses and shrubs
Pruning

Cut flowered stems and old leaves to the base to encourage new foliage and flowers

Pests

May be damaged by capsid bug, vine weevil larvae, sawfly larvae, slugs and snails

Diseases

A virus or downy mildew may be troublesome. Powdery mildew may be a problem in dry conditions

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