Cranesbill - cutting back recommendations (pic)

frank325June 2, 2008

My dad gave me some of these last summer, I believe it is Cranesbill which is a type of Geranium (if I'm not mistaken). A couple have gotten pretty leggy like this. I did not cut back or prune anything since they've been planted (last summer). What do you recommend I do with these, at this time of year? I like that they've practically doubled in size, if not tripled, but I could do without them moving onto the walkway. Are these supposed to be cut back after the winter? What would I do at this point late in spring/almost summer? I live in the Cincinnati area.

And if I did cut them back some, how long till I get flowers again? It's nice having flowers.

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anitamo(5)

They look great, just as they should be looking this time of year. I cut them back after blooming, since they do open up and sprawl. The new foliage grows in pretty fast and creates a neat mound, which may produce sporadic bloom throughout the rest of the season. In fall, I cut it back to the ground. In spring, no work is needed then since I cut it in the fall. If you don't, then spring cleaning is necessary.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 2:45PM
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linda43_gardener

I am ever amazed that I found this post, which was exactly what I was looking for when I signed on. We are in a rainy spell, thankfully, I am going to go out and prune all my cranesbills immediately. They root so easily that I have them bordering my flower bed.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 12:33PM
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otter88

How do you propagate cranesbill? ALso, I have never cut mine back and they return year after year. What are the advantages of cutting them down?
Thanks,
Otter88

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 12:30PM
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anitamo(5)

If you're still there otter88, the reason I cut mine back is just for cosmetic purposes. Some of them get so sprawled out and gangly looking, I like to spruce it up by cutting back. The resulting new growth looks much better. I don't have to do this to my macrorrhizum's, though.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 11:36PM
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frank325

I had to resurrect this post because I put it up almost exactly 1 year ago today. And to think that last year I thought my plant was getting long... look at them this year!

Now yes, they are very large. But I honestly do not like it. They dwarf my liriope, and the new stuff I'm putting in looks like it is in the land of the giants (see the coreopsis at the top right).

Once their first show of blooms is over with, how much do you think I can safely cut these back?? And next year, do I have to divide these or is it possible to cut them back as they're growing to keep them smaller (i.e. like mums).

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 9:22PM
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oilpainter(3)

I trim my cranesbill geranium back after they flower for a couple of reasons. First I hate those long seed pods and second to keep control of the size. If it's crowding your path just dig out the part you don't want. You can divide them or leave a couple of pods and collect the seeds. If you didn't cut the seed pods off last year look around and you will see plants with miniature leaves the same distinctive shape as the ones on the plant.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 6:56PM
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frank325

How far can you cut back without hurting the plant?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 7:36PM
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birdie(z5 IN)

I think that this plant is indestructible. I have taken a sprig of it with one slim chance of a root, plunked it in the ground somewhere for the heck of it, and it grows. Mine are like weeds now with the self seeding and because I adore this plant, i can't bear to throw any part of it away. My favorite plant. The perfect flower. I want more.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 9:42PM
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bluebearee

I have discovered a cranesbill in a bed I'm renovating. It is very leggy with no foliage below a canopy of leaves, no flowers. I would like to move it, should I cut it back first, will it grow any more leaves this year, or survive w/o foliage til next season??

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 6:18PM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

Yes, cut it back when you move it. It should soon grow new, healthy leaves and may even flower this year. Not knowing what type it is, I cannot say any more right now. Hardy geraniums are mostly very tough plants that can stand a certain amount of abuse or neglect.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 10:36PM
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bluebearee

Thank you! I don't know the type either, as I'm new to this yard and am still finding perennials in this area, but I'm sure about the geranium/cranesbill part. It's almost 3 feet high, trying to reach some sun. I'll try it and see what happens, can't hurt!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 11:31AM
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bluebearee

It's thriving and upright and some new leaves are forming!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 7:18PM
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canterbury_sage

Do cranesbill bloom all summer? I was breaking off the seed pods thinking this would make it re-flower. Am I wrong? Here in central PA mine is not a prolific bloomer like the pics I've seen here (Frank 325). I mainly wanted it for ground cover along the hillside, but it doesn't appear to bloom throughout the summer like most of my perennials.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 11:48PM
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bluebearee

Now it's blooming, I'm amazed, I should take some photos and post here, as I'd like some help id'ing it.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 12:10PM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

Canterbury sage, my sanguineums bloom off and on most of the summer, especially if we get lots of rain like this summer. Other types of geraniums have a very definite bloom period with no re-bloom, e.g. ger. magnificum and sylvaticum.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2009 at 11:50PM
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geranium_hybrid(6)

I cut mine back until i see the new green buds. I cut all leggy stems and cut flowers. This gives the plant energy to grow, then it will produce even more flowers

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 11:35PM
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