With its beautiful, soft violet-blue flowers, the meadow crane’s bill is one of the most distinctive of our wildflowers. The darker radiating veins on the petals guide bees to the nectar. In bud the flower-stalk is upright, but as the petals unfurl, the stalk dips to almost horizontal. This is because the cells grow unevenly on either side of the stalk.
The flowers each 3cm (1¼ in) across, borne continuously from June to September. Perfect for a meadow, the flowers may bloom again once the meadow is cut. Trouble-free, this plant will thrive in most soils, except boggy ones. As a perennial, it will come up year after year.
The Cranesbill is often planted in gardens as it flowers for a long time, it must be one of our loveliest wild flowers and worthy of a place in any border.
Sowing: Sow in late winter/late spring or in late summer/autumn.
Fill pots, cells of trays with a good seed starting compost. (John Innes or similar). Sit the containers in water to moisten thoroughly. Sow the seeds 2.5cm (1in) apart, on the surface of the compost and cover seed with vermiculite, sand or sieved compost after sowing. Keep soil slightly moist but not wet. Perennial geraniums often germinate over several months, usually between 30 to 90 days at temperatures around 5 to 10°C (41 to 50°F). Seed trays should not be discarded prematurely. Constant moisture must be maintained. Do not leave in direct sunlight.
Transplant the seedlings into 7.5cm (3in) pots to grow on. Avoid large pots, because the compost will be wet permanently and wetness can a cause growth inhibition and a poor root development.
Overwinter autumn sown seedlings indoors frost free at 3 to 5 °C (37 to 41°F). If outdoors use an outdoor fleece cover to protect the plants.
Plant outdoors in spring after the last expected frosts. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out into their permanent positions. Space 30 to 40cm (12 to 15in) apart.
In mid summer after flowering rejuvenate plants that are beginning to look jaded by shearing it back, this will promote dense growth and encourage better reblooming. Lift and divide large colonies in spring, March to May
Low-moderate fertilisation levels are required use a complete balanced fertiliser. Avoid high ammonium and high nitrogen levels. Very high nitrogen levels will cause shoot stretching and then the shoots fall apart. Don't fertilise after mid September.
The roots are sensitive to wet substrates which can cause rotting of roots and poor plant quality. Allow for the plants to dry thoroughly between irrigations.
Cottage/Informal Garden, Flowers Borders and Beds, Wildlife / Butterfly Garden. Beekeeping.
Full sun to partial shady locations. Rock gardens, stone walls, perennial borders, ground cover, large containers
Geranium is the official flower for a 4th Wedding Anniversary and the perfect gift!
The species pratense is the meadow cranesbill of early summer hedgerows. Native to Europe, Caucasus, Armenia and areas of Asia minor and is cultivated and naturalised throughout the world.
The name Geranium comes from the Greek 'geranion', which is a diminutive of 'geranos' meaning crane. It gets its common name 'crane’s bill' from the 'beak' over the seed pod and is also called storksbill in some areas.
The species epithet "pratense", pronounced pray-TEN-see comes from the Latin for "meadows dweller"or "found in meadows"
It gets its common name 'crane’s bill' from the 'beak' over the seed pod and is also called storksbill in some areas.
The name “crowfoot” is often used for geraniums, because the leaves resemble buttercups, which historically were called crowfoots
- Additional Information
Packet Size 25 Seeds Family Geraniaceae Genus Geranium Species pratense Cultivar Wildflower of Britain and Ireland Common Name Meadow Cranesbill, Hardy Geranium
Wildflower of Britain and Ireland
Other Common Names Garden Geranium Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Soft violet-blue flowers Natural Flower Time Summer to Autumn Height 30-60cm (12-24in) Spread 22-30cm (9-12in) Position Sun to Partial Shade Soil Will tolerate most soils but prefers poor, well-drained soil Time to Sow Sow in Late winter/late spring or late summer/autumn. Germination Germinates in less than two weeks.