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10 Perennials for the Northeast


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Cranesbill

Known as the "true geranium," cranesbill not only survives the harsh Northeastern winter but also offers flowers that add a range of color (from white to pink to blue) to a garden during blooming months.

Sometimes confused with the annual geranium (common name "storksbill"), cranesbill is of a different genus entirely and is very hardy. It's also versatile: The geranium can thrive in a good range of conditions, from some shade to full sun, and grows anywhere from 6 inches (16 centimeters) to a few feet (1 meter) tall [source: Sooner].

Cranesbill is a low-maintenance plant that suffers few susceptibilities to pests or disease and will grow without any above-and-beyond care on your part -- basically, it likes some fertilizer once a year [source: Sooner]. It can even thrive in containers, which is an increasingly big plus as more and more city dwellers get in on the gardening action. You'll get great color when it's in bloom, from about May to October (or beyond!), in white, pink, purple or blue, depending on variety; but its big, lobed leaves provide interest even without the flowers.

If your Northeast garden has greenery in need of some seasonal pop, cranesbill could be a way to add color to these inhabited areas since it grows nicely throughout shrubs and in lightly wooded areas. What really sets this perennial apart, though, is its ability to grow in dry shade. You won't find too many options for this type of garden location, and cranesbill is one of them [source: Fornari].