Shade Tolerance of Geranium Patricia

denise133June 20, 2013

Does anybody have some advice re the degree of shade tolerance of Patricia? Would it be similar to Rozanne?

Rozanne becomes leggy for me and then often disappears in areas with only a few hours of sun. Does great in sunnier spots though.

I saw Patricia at a garden centre today and I would really like to find a spot for her in my mostly shady garden!

Thank you in advance for any advice.

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Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

This one also likes more sun than shade and is not reliably hardy in zones 5-6, despite what is advertised. Some people will disagree, but in my conditions (well-drained sandy soil in zone 6a), I have yet to have overwintering success with Geranium psilostemon or any of its hybrids except for 'Tiny Monster' (which takes after its G. sanguineum parent much more). That said, I am now on my second try with both 'Patricia' and golden-leaved 'Sandrine'. Both still look very weak compared to my other varieties. I had one plant of 'Anne Folkard' return this spring, but it was so weak it died of unknown causes.

For excellent shade-tolerant geraniums, look for forms of native Geranium maculatum. They are all exquisite. I particularly like 'Elizabeth Anne' with its irridescent bronze foliage and light lavender flowers. But even the wild, unselected species is gorgeous and highly adaptable.

Also good in shade are cultivars of Geranium sylvaticum and Geranium phaeum. When growing G. phaeum in shadier areas, try to find forms with pale colored flowers since the typical wild dark purple-maroon colored flowers just tend to disappear in the shade.

Also check out Geranium macrorrhizum (I like 'Bevan's Variety' for its dark magenta blooms) and its hybrids like 'Biokovo' and 'Karmina'. All are easy-peasy and will do just fine in shade.

All of these plants will survive and bloom in full shade but will be much happier in partial or dappled shade.

That said, I have several plants of 'Rozanne' in almost full--maybe somewhat dappled--shade. While they never attain the size, robustness and floriferousness of those growing in more more sun, they do survive and put on a nice display of flowers throughout the season. Their growth habit is much lankier in shade but weaves unobtrusively among my fall anemones and feather reed grass. As a bonus, the shady conditions seem to accentuate the irridescent blue tones of the flowers, and they sparkle in shade much more than in the sunnier areas of my garden.

I am discovering that all hardy geraniums need a good 2-3 years to settle in and start showing what they are capable of. After that, they are quite reliable.

Provided below is a link to the UPDATED (2012) results from the Chicago Botanic Garden geranium trials that were published in the June 2012 issue of Fine Gardening magazine. While I am lucky to live in the same area, I believe many of the recommended plants would do well in most zone 5-6 areas of North America.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fine Gardening article--Hardy Geraniums

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 9:56AM
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Thank you for your great detailed response. I feel motivated to seek out more geraniums that will actually work in my garden. Thank you for all your suggestions and for the link to the article.

I have a bad habit of falling for plants in the garden centre and then trying to make them work - rather than buying plants that will fit the conditions of my garden.

Maybe I'll try Elizabeth Anne first as that is also my daughter's name. Sadly, I guess I'll have to leave Patricia behind.

Thank you again.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2013 at 12:12AM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

I have grown several plants of Patricia in southern Ontario USDA z. 4 for over 5 years. They are probably in too much shade to flower really well, but I have never had issues with them not overwintering. I find that this cultivar needs somewhat more than average moisture or its leaves turn brownish around the edges. That is my only criticism of it.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 9:15PM
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I grew Patricia in Denmark zone 7 for several years and it is not completely hardy here. After 5 or 6 years all clumps disappeared after snowless winter 2 years ago. Now I'm trying it again, this time I will use something to cover it with. It is worth it, as it is the most spectacular of all geraniums. It needs full sun. It will flop in shade.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 5:30PM
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