Geranium maculatum 'Espresso'
Common Name: spotted geranium 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Geraniaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Lavender
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, humusy soils, but tolerates poor soils. Will naturalize in optimum growing conditions. Deadheading is tedious and probably unnecessary since plants usually do not repeat bloom. Foliage may yellow in hot summers if soil is allowed to dry out. Foliage may decline after flowering in hot summer climates, at which point it may be lightly sheared back and shaped to revitalize.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Geranium maculatum is a clump-forming, Missouri native, woodland perennial which typically occurs in woods, thickets and shaded roadside areas throughout the State. Forms a mound of foliage that grows to 24" tall and 18" wide. Features 1 1/4" diameter, pink to lilac, saucer-shaped, upward facing, 5-petaled flowers in spring for a period of 6-7 weeks. Deeply cut, palmately 5-lobed, dark green leaves (to 6" across). Flowers give way to distinctive, beaked seed capsules which give rise to the common name of crane's bill.

Genus name comes from the Greek word geranos meaning crane in reference to the fruit which purportedly resembles the head and beak of a crane.

Specific epithet means spotted.

‘Espresso’ is a chocolate-leaved variety. It typically forms a loose mound of foliage to 24” tall and 18” wide. Lavendar, saucer-shaped, upward-facing, 5-petaled flowers (1.5” diameter) appear in spring to early summer for 6-7 weeks. But it is the chocolate leaves that are the distinctive feature of this cultivar. Leaves (to 6”) are deeply cut and palmately 5-lobed and remain attractive in the garden after plants bloom as long as soil is kept moist.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Rust and leaf spot may occur. Watch for snails and slugs.

Uses

Best in part shade areas of borders and woodland gardens. Mass for ground cover.