Geranium pratense (Victor Reiter Junior strain)

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 1 Professionals
Common Name: meadow cranesbill
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Geraniaceae
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: Blue-purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best performance generally occurs in moist, organically rich soils in full sun. Plants may appreciate some part afternoon shade in hot summer climates such as the St. Louis area. Tall stems may need staking or other support. Plants generally dislike hot and humid summers and are not recommended for growing south of USDA Zone 7.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Geranium pratense, commonly called meadow cranesbill, is native to northern Europe, central Asia and China. It is a clump-forming perennial that typically grows to 24-36” tall. Blue-purple flowers (each to 1 1/2” diameter) bloom in clusters (dense cymes) above the foliage from late spring to mid-summer. A sparse late summer or fall rebloom may occur in some areas if plants are cut back after the primary bloom period. Green basal leaves (3-6” wide) are deeply cut into 7-9 toothed lobes. Flowers give way to dehiscent fruits (capsules composed of several one-seeded carpels which shatter somewhat explosively at maturity expelling seed often significant distances). This species was introduced into North America with subsequent naturalization occurring over time in Canada from Newfoundland to Alberta and in the U.S. from Minnesota to New England south to Pennsylvania.

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 growing in meadows.

Common name of cranesbill is also in reference to the bird-like beak on the carpels.

Victor Reiter Junior strain is noted for its saucer-shaped violet flowers and bronze purple foliage. It has a more compact form than the straight species, typically growing in a mound to 15-24” tall and as wide. Flowers usually bloom from late spring to late summer, but sometimes bloom time will be shorter (ending in mid-summer) in hot summer climates. Sparse late summer to fall rebloom may occur. Leaves emerge purple in spring, gradually changing to dark green with purple-hued edges by summer. This strain of geranium is named after Victor Reiter, Jr., prominent San Francisco gardener and cofounder of the California Horticultural Society.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Group or mass in borders, rock gardens or cottage gardens.