Perennial geranium

kmsimmons(7b)June 10, 2014

I have three brookside perennial geraniums. I have seen lots of pictures of these plants where they look like a nice little bushy plant. Mine, however, sprawl all over the place and when they do seem like they are starting to bush out from the middle, end up sprawling. Any ideas why this might be happening?

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Haha, good to know it isn't just me! I have had my brookside for years, and it is very spindly and leggy (and it tends to grow upward instead of sprawl, so also really tall). Here is the first bloom of the year of it (right of center), and you can see how "unbushy" it is. I wondered if it just needed more light (it is fairly shady where I have it, though all my other geraniums do fine there, and with even more shade). I will be looking to see if anyone else has answers.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 4:00PM
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Mine is also in a lot of shade, but I bought for that space due to hearing about how well it is supposed to do in the shade. I love the flowers, but would really enjoy something that actually fills out the space better.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 8:13PM
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shillanorth Z4 AB

I have Rozanne - it starts out in a nice, mounded form. Toward the end of summer, I cut it back as it starts to engulf the roses but it always looks good. Here it is as of today.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 2:36PM
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shillanorth Z4 AB

This is from last year - just about time for a trim!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 2:40PM
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Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

I LOVE hardy geraniums and now have quite a few different types, each with unique charms and merits. A handful have been outright duds, but these have been few and far between, and I find hardy geraniums in general to be one of the most resilient and useful plant groups in the garden.

That said, I use them in filler/weaver/groundcover situations. I don't think many (or any) of them would work well as specimen plants because they can be far too airy or sprawling when grown alone. But when mixed with other closely planted perennials or growing at the base of roses or daylilies where they can weave gently into their neighbors, they are superb.

I think you would be happier with your 'Brookside' if it were interspersed with other plants through which it could weave. Planted by itself, I can see how you might be disappointed with its lack of "oomph." It might be fuller if planted in more sun, but even then it would look more natural growing intertwined with its neighbors. It is a beautiful cultivar, but try to think of it as a component of a meadow-style planting or a closely planted cottage bed rather than as a stand-alone specimen.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 2:49PM
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shillanorth, what is that tall plant you have in the middle of the bed. Is is a vine?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 2:49PM
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Thanks ispahan, that was very helpful. In the fall, maybe I will spread them out a bit instead of having them all grouped together. I do like the way the just casually mingle with the plants around them

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 7:13PM
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shillanorth Z4 AB

ianna -those are Dreamweaver columnar flowering crabapples.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 5:29PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Shillanorth...are those Rozanne hardy geraniums? How old would you say all your hardy geraniums are? I think it was 2 yrs. ago, A very generous gardener from either Washington state or Oregon sent me a Rozanne that was from her plants, and I can't recall her name. It is bugging me because I wanted to ask her some questions about its growth and care. Maybe since you are so successful, you can answer my question? My plant was planted to close to a peony bush and the foliage kind of covers up the Rozanne and maybe if mine were moved, would it bush out more? Do I need to prune it to get it to bush out? I has bloomed more this year than last so guess it's got itself established. I don't want to try to move and transplant it until Fall when it is cooler weather. How can I propagate this plant to get more?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 8:31PM
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shillanorth Z4 AB

Yes, they are hardy. These are about 4 years old now. We had some -40 temps this winter and they managed just fine. They are under about 3 inches of cedar mulch. This is a sterile plant so you could try divisions if it`s getting to a reasonable size. Mine will really start to sprawl and overtake the roses later in the summer if I don`t trim them. I just use my pruners and hack away till they are sort of a mounded shape again. Mine will bloom until frost but I don`t get the heat and humidity issues that I think you have to deal with so your bloom season may be shorter. These have been a really no muss, no fuss plant other than the trim job I give them. I think eventually, they might overtake your peony so you may be wise to move them.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 1:03PM
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