Purple Pillow

'Purple Pillow'
Greyleaf Crane's-bill

"The kings of Tyrus with their convict list
Are waiting in line for their geranium kiss,
And you wouldn't know it would happen like this,
But who among them really wants just to kiss you?"

-Bob Dylan
b. 1941


Geranium cinereum 'Ravpil' is marketed under the trademark name 'Purple Pillow.' It is one of the darkest deepest purple-red of all crane's-bills, the petals having distinct dark veins.

The first time I saw this offered by a local nursery, there were eight pots of it for sale, & as I stood trying to make a decision about adding the umpteenth crane's-bill to the collection, five pots were grabbed at my left & my right by three other customers, while a dozen other cultivars went untouched. It was pretty clear that this previously unseen color was going to be a hit.

'Purple Pillow' was developed in The Netherlands by van Nort Nurseries, as was another crane's-bill in our gardens, G. pratense 'Hocus Pocus.'

The three-quarter inch cupped flowers are numerous late spring & early summer (May & June), with rebloom right into autumn.

Slightly fragant foliage is a bit more compact than most other Greyleaf Crane's-bill varieties, & shimmers silvery-grey in sunlight. Come autumn, the foliage takes on coppery-orange & purple coloration.

It is usually only six to eight inches tall though it can potentially hump up to as much as a foot. It suppresses weeds, but is not as smothering as larger-leafed crane's-bills, so is safer around the base of medium-sized perennials such as larger crane's-bills could overwhelm.

It is a bit more drought-tolerant than the majority of crane's-bills though moist sharply draining soil would be best. If soil is too wet or poorly draining, it will soon rot out of the garden. It is ideal for the front of rockeries, along paths, or as a weed-suppressing groundcover, & a good choice for container gardening. It can even be adapted as a houseplant.

It is more cold-hardy than heat-hardy & will need the protection of bright shade if attempted further south, but in general wants quite a lot of sun in zones 4 through 8.

See also these Greyleaf crane's-bills:
Geranium cinereum 'Lawrence Flatman'
Geranium cinereum var subcaulescens


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