Hardy geraniums, or crane's-bill, are clump-forming perennials that bloom in a generous flush in late spring or early summer. The five-petaled flowers vary in color and size. The range includes pastel pinks and blues, white, rose, and deep magenta sometimes accented with black centers. The leaves are usually green, somewhat rounded, and lobed. Plants range from a few inches to a few feet tall. A few types climb or scramble onto bushes.
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How to grow: Garden geraniums need good well-drained garden soil in full sun or light shade in areas with hot summers. Shear plants back for neatness after the blooms have all opened. You may get regrowth and a second crop of flowers. Thin or divide when plants become crowded.
Propagation: By division for named cultivars or from seed.
Uses: In a border or a rock garden, geraniums are lovely plants. They make excellent ground cover and are striking when grown along a wall, with the stems and flowers tumbling over the edge.
Related species: Geranium cinereum is a low-growing plant usually reaching about eight inches in height with one-inch pink flowers. G. macrorrhizum is a vigorous species with large pink flowers, lots of vigor, and thick roots that are easy to transplant.
Scientific name: Geranium species