The fact that Geranium 'Rozanne' requires minimal attention in the garden is only one of its many charms. Start with the glorious violet-blue color that seems to blend with whatever is planted near it. It is particularly stunning next to yellow flowers, such as the soft yellows of coreopsis or intermingling with yellow roses.
Geranium 'Rozanne' has a sprawling habit, but it holds its many flowers high above the foliage. The stems have a rather chaotic way of growing (in the best sense) and find their way in and throughout neighboring plants.
Geranium 'Rozanne' will bloom throughout the growing season. It may take a short break from flowering mid-season, to regain its strength, but it will quickly resume flowering and carry on through fall. . 'Rozanne' is not know to be bothered by insects or disease. It is high on the list of most dependable as well as most desirable flowering plants.
Geranium 'Rozanne' as Perennial Plant of the Year
Each year the Perennial Plant Association (PPA), a trade group that works to educate gardeners on great performing perennial plants, selects their Perennial Plant of the Year© . Although there is a marketing angle to this program, they tend to focus on little known or used perennials that deserve a more prominent place in our gardens, which is useful information for gardeners. In 2008 the honor went to Geranium 'Rozanne'.
What Makes a Plant Worthy of Plant of the Year?
The PPA doesn't just pick a favorite plant or one that is currently trendy. Sometimes the Plant of the Year is an old, but underused workhorse and sometimes it is relatively new and unknown, but worth a little publicity to introduce it to a wider audience of gardeners.
Whatever the case, the PPA has a standard set of judging criteria that the plant must meet, before being choosen their Plant of the Year. The plant must be:
Geranium 'Rozanne' certainly meets those standards, which is not true of all geraniums. As lovely and useful as perennial geraniums are, not all of them are winners in the flower border. Some spread so quickly they are better used as groundcovers and others, like 'Johnson’s Blue' put on a brief show and then turn ugly unless cut back and cared for.
What Makes Geranium ‘Rozanne’ So Great?
The features that made Geranium ‘Rozanne’ get noticed were her brilliant violet-blue blossoms and the fact that she repeat blooms throughout the summer, with minimal care. Unlike Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’, which gives a great initial show and then falls over itself unless you trim it back for a sparse second show, ‘Rozanne’ is a true repeat bloomer. You won’t have a full flush of flowers all summer, but she’ll keep plodding along until fall. A shearing in mid-summer will help freshen up the spent foliage and encourage more blooms.
The blossoms are larger than ‘Johnson’s Blue’ too. Averaging about 2 - 2 ½” across. They have violet veining and small white centers, which set off the blue even more. Even the finely cut foliage is attractive and it turns wonderful shades of bronze-red in the fall.
‘Rozanne’ is a clump former, but she will start to spread. In especially rich soil, ‘Rozanne’ can take off running. You can keep her in check by removing side-shoots as they develop or with periodic division. Geranium ‘Rozanne’ is a patented plant, which means that the gardener can't propagate and sell this plant without paying a royalty to the breeder. (U. S. Plant Patent PP12,175 issued October 30, 2001) However you can make divisions to use in your own garden. Geranium ‘Rozanne’ rarely sets seed and being a hybrid, won’t grow true to seed anyway.
As with other perennial geraniums, ‘Rozanne’ is virtually pest free.
How to Grow Geranium ‘Rozanne’
Geraniums make great edgers and are wonderful for use under leggy plants, like roses. A free-flowering clump former, like ‘Rozanne’ is especially nice at the base of an entry gate or on the corner of a garden border. ‘Rozanne’s’ heat tolerance also makes her a good choice for rock gardens and containers or window boxes. The brilliant blue is all the more electric when paired with yellow flowers like coreopsis, black-eyed Susan and goldenrod.