The Best Geraniums for Your Garden

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    Hardy Geraniums Shine in the Summer Garden

    Bloody Cranesbill Hardy Geranium
    Photo: Horst Solinger/Getty Images

    Often passed over for their showier annual cousins the pelargoniums, hardy geraniums feature several desirable characteristics that warrant a closer look. Perennial geraniums shrug off cold winters, and many are hardy to zone 3. Pests generally pass over geraniums, so no chemical sprays are needed. Plants have a long blooms season, and the lobed foliage is attractive even out of bloom. Horticulturists have focused their breeding efforts on geraniums in recent years, so experiment with one of...MORE these cultivars in your garden. 

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  • 02 of 16

    Geranium 'Rozanne'

    Geranium Rozanne
    Photo: Joshua McCullough/Getty Images

    The 'Rozanne' geranium cultivar, which was named the 2008 Perennial Plant of the Year, shined the spotlight on hardy geraniums in general and caused a resurgence of interest in their role in the garden. 'Rozanne' features large blue flowers and lots of them over a long blooming season. 

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  • 03 of 16

    Geranium 'Elsbeth'

    Geranium Elsbeth
    Photo: Brian Carter/Getty Images

    The magenta blossoms of 'Elsbeth' geraniums pop against healthy green foliage at the front of the border. A large flush of blooms appears in June, and a smaller repeat blooming occurs in September. 

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  • 04 of 16

    Geranium 'Alba'

    Geranium Alba
    Photo: Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

    We gardeners can never have too many white flowers, and the deeply divided foliage of geranium 'Alba' only increases the ornamental value of this plant. This geranium appreciates soil with excellent drainage, and will shine in your rock garden. Shear the plants when blooms fade to keep it tidy. 

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  • 05 of 16

    Geranium 'Espresso'

    Geranium Espresso
    Photo: Joshua McCullough/Getty Images

    Dark, moody foliage is very on-trend in the landscape, and this seldom-seen variety will turn heads in your summer garden. Native to woodland areas, 'Espresso' geraniums prefer more moisture than other hardy geraniums, and also tolerate more shade than other varieties. 

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  • 06 of 16

    Geranium 'Buxton Blue'

    Geranium Buxton Blue
    Photo: Neil Holmes/Getty Images

    If you want to stump your horticulturally savvy friends, grow a lesser known geranium variety like the G. wallichianum 'Buxton Blue.' Place the small plants in your container garden, where you can observe the detail of the white eye up close. 

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  • 07 of 16

    Geranium 'Summer Skies'

    Geranium Summer Skies
    Photo: Anne Green-Armytage/Getty Images

    Geranium 'Summer Skies' is the antidote to the ordinary bloody cranesbill plant that some gardeners find a bit on the weedy side. Double flowers with veining appear in late spring, and continue for several weeks in hot areas or throughout the season in cooler regions.

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  • 08 of 16

    Geranium 'Splish Splash'

    Geranium Splish Splash
    Photo: Chris Burrows/Getty Images

    'Splish Splash' brings a level of novelty to the cranesbill group that appeals to many gardeners. Every petal features a different pattern of flecks and specks that endure for several weeks in summer. Shear the plants back when blooming slows for a repeat show in early fall. 

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  • 09 of 16

    Geranium 'Springtime'

    Geranium Phaeum
    Photo: Dan Rosenholm/Getty Images

    Also known as mourning widow geranium, 'Springtime' hardy geraniums sport deep burgundy flowers held aloft on wiry stems. Leaves emerge with a variegated pattern, but eventually settle into a green tone in the summer. 

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  • 10 of 16

    Geranium 'Ann Folkard'

    Geranium Ann Folkard
    Photo: Ron Evans/Getty Images

    'Ann Folkard' geraniums spread generously in the garden, weaving bright green foliage and purple flowers with neighboring plants to fill in all gaps in the summer border. Plant beside a silvery artemisia for a contrasting cloud of beauty. 

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  • 11 of 16

    Geranium 'Sirak'

    Geranium Sirak
    Photo: Michael Davis/Getty Images

    As is the case with many hybrid plants, 'Sirak' geraniums are consistent and reliable garden performers. Violet flowers have dark veining and a white blotch that make them interesting cut flowers

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  • 12 of 16

    Geranium 'Patricia'

    Geranium Patricia
    Photo: Rosalind Simon/Getty Images

    While the trailing and mounding types of hardy geraniums have their place at the border's edge, some situations call for a taller plant. 'Patricia' hardy geraniums are taller than most, reaching a height of about 30 inches. Plant them alongside ornamental grasses or baby's breath for a breezy garden effect. 

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  • 13 of 16

    Geranium 'Carol'

    Geranium Carol
    Photo: Neil Holmes/Getty Images

    A dwarf cranesbill like 'Carol' breathes life into crevices and other difficult to plant pockets in the garden in late spring and summer with wine colored flowers and grayish green foliage. 

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  • 14 of 16

    Geranium 'Plenum'

    Geranium Plenum
    Photo: Mark Turner/Getty Images

    One aspect of geraniums that turn many gardeners off is their habit of self-seeding all over the garden. However,'Plenum' geraniums are sterile, so they stay where you put them. If you do fall in love with their double violet flowers and tolerance of many growing conditions, you can propagate them by division in the spring. 

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  • 15 of 16

    Geranium 'Stephanie'

    Geranium Stephanie
    Photo: Neil Holmes/Getty Images

    In contrast to the sprawling hardy geraniums out there, 'Stephanie' produces a very compact plant that perks up the late spring border. The blue flowers with deep purple veins are very showy when paired with white flowers like sweet alyssum or candytuft. 

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  • 16 of 16

    Geranium Ingwersen's Variety

    Geranium Ingwersen's Variety
    Photo: Neil Holmes/Getty Images

    In addition to its unusual name, this geranium stands apart from others due to its aromatic leaves, which release fragrant oils when crushed. Walter Ingwersen probably didn't notice this feature immediately when he discovered it growing on a mountainside in Yugoslavia in 1929, but its stunning amethyst buds and contrasting pale pink flowers surely caught his eye.