Geranium sanguineum 'Little Bead'
Common Name: bloody cranesbill
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Geraniaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May to August
Bloom Description: Purplish red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Clay Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates some drought, but produces most vigorous growth in moist, humusy soils with good drainage. Deadheading is tedious for larger plantings and probably unnecessary. Side stems may be removed at any time to control spread. If not deadheaded, some self-seeding may occur in ideal growing conditions. Foliage may be lightly sheared back and shaped to revitalize after flowering. This is a variable plant that is noted for having better tolerance for heat in hot summers and for cold in cold winters than most other species of geranium. Propagate by division, tip cuttings or seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Geranium sanguineum, commonly called bloody cranesbill or bloodred geranium, is an herbaceous, clump-forming perennial that typically grows in a mound to 9-12” tall with white-hairy trailing stems spreading over time to as much as 24” wide. It is native to Europe and Asia. It is perhaps the most common species of geranium grown in the U.S. today. Foliage consists of small, shallowly cut, dark green basal leaves and thinner, more deeply cut stem leaves. Solitary flowers (to 1 1/2” diameter) feature five unnotched magenta to purple crimson petals with darker veins. Flowers primarily bloom in May and June with a sparse but variable rebloom occurring throughout summer. After first fall frost, foliage usually turns attractive shades of red.

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 comes from the Latin word sanguineus meaning blood red in reference to the flower color and red autumn leaves of the straight species.

‘Little Bead’ is a prostrate cultivar that typically grows to only 4-6” tall but spreads to 12” wide. It is noted for its 5-petaled, purplish-red flowers and small, deeply lobed, dark green leaves. It primarily blooms in late spring to early summer, but usually with more sporadic continued bloom occurring throughout the remaining summer. It is noted for its deep magenta flowers (3/4”diameter) and deeply lobed, dark green leaves. Foliage often turns attractive shades of red in autumn.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to leaf spots and rusts.

Garden Uses

Rock gardens or border fronts. Mass for small area ground cover.