Geranium pulchrum is a really beautiful evergreen geranium from the South African Mountains. 'Pulchrum' means beautiful in botanical terms and amply demonstrated by the gorgeous large silver-grey velvety leaves which are covered in soft, downy hairs which are irresistible to the touch.
From late spring to late autumn it produces dense sprays of largish purple-veined mauve flowers about 4cm (1½ in) across, sometimes with a lighter centre. The plant takes less than one year to flower, and has a long flowering period. Growing to around 60cm (24in) it does well in semi-shade and in direct sun
Geranium pulchrum is robust and highly adaptable sub-shrub. Endemic to the Drakensberg, it is often found in marshy areas and on stream banks at altitudes of 1500 to 2200m. It grows in soils ranging from a pH of 5 (extremely acidic ranges from 0 to 5.1) to 8.5 (alkaline ranges from 8.1 to 8.5). It enjoys medium levels of water and, unlike many geraniums this plant positively relishes damp conditions.
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.
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 a genus of 422 species of flowering annual, biennial, and perennial plants, found throughout the temperate regions of the world and the mountains of the tropics, but mostly in the eastern part of the Mediterranean region.
Geranium pulchrum is a frost hardy perennial geranium, an evergreen sub-shrub, native to the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa.
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.
'Pulchrum' is derived from the Latin for "beautiful"
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
|Packet Size||10 Seeds|
|Common Name||Hardy Geranium|
|Other Common Names||Crane’s Bill.|
|Hardy||Hardy to -15°C (5°F)|
|Flowers||Mauve with purple veins|
|Natural Flower Time||Late spring to late summer|
|Foliage||Silver-grey velvety leaves|
|Position||Full sun to part shade.|
|Time to Sow||Sow in late winter/late spring or in late summer/autumn.|
|Germination||30 to 90 days at temperatures around 5 to 10°C (41 to 50°F).|