"A quick caress she gives the rose,
Lilac, geranium all in season --
Oh, if she might have seen a reason
For powdering her nose!" -Allen Tate
The vibrant dark violet-blue flowers of the Showy Geranium (Geranium x magnificum) appear to have penciled dark-blue veins.
The blossoms are about twice the size of most hardy geranium flowers, two inches rather than the average one inch across. It is indeed "Showy" & a stand-out in any collection of crane's-bill species & cultivars.
Showy Geranium was developed in 1970 as a cross between two species. It is usually sold under the hybrid name G. x magnificum, but it does also get listed under the actual species' names, either separately or together as G. ibericum x platypetalum.
G. ibericum is a large crane's-bill of northwest Turkey, Iran, & the southwest Caucassus Mountains, providing its hybrid with its large flowers & sprawling habit. It was crossed with G. platypetalum, a native of Turkey, & it lent the hybrid its dark veining.
The clumps are loose & spreading & can cover considerable ground, smothering weeds. It can overwhelm small perennials in its immediate vincinity so should share an area with taller perennials or with woody shrubs. The hairy foilage develops excellent autumn reds & yellows before winter die-back.
Ideal for Zones 5 through 8, it can be stretched for zones 3 through 10, though at the extremes bloom period can be greatly shortened to two or three weeks in June. Here on Puget Sound it begins blooming in May & reblooms throughout summer. Since it spreads aggressively by its roots, it is easily propagated by division.
Ours grows at the foot of a Diablo Ninebark. There are several types of Snow Crocuses planted in the same vicinity which begin blooming immediately before spring. When these are finished blooming, the Showy Crane's-bill Geranium is regaining its leaves, blooming well after the crocuses to keep color in that location.
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