Geranium cinereum 'Purple Pillow'

Common Name: cranesbill 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Geraniaceae
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: Reddish-purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Grow in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates some drought, but prefers regular and even moisture (particularly in hot summer climates) in organically rich, humusy soils with good drainage. Best grown in full sun in northern parts of its growing range, but with some afternoon part shade protection in the St. Louis area. If flowering stops and/or plant foliage depreciates in the heat of the summer, plants may be cut back to rejuvenate, shape and/or encourage additional bloom. Side stems may be removed or trimmed at any time to control spread. Cultivars do not reliably come true from seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Geranium cinereum is a low-mounded, hardy geranium that is native to the Pyrenees Mountains. It typically grows to 6” tall and features cup-shaped white to pink flowers with dark petal veins and deeply-lobed gray-green basal leaves. It is often commonly called gray leaf geranium because of the silver-gray hues of its attractive foliage.

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 ash-colored.

‘Purple Pillow’ is features unique reddish-purple flowers with dark veins from spring into summer. In cool summer climates, flowering may continue, sometimes sporadically, throughout summer into early fall. Flowers cover a spreading mound of gray-green leaves to 6” tall. Some nurseries currently sell G. cinereum ‘Ravpil’ (U.S. Plant Patent PP12,829) under the trade name of ‘Purple Pillow’, however The Royal Horticultural Society currently lists ‘Ravpil’ and ‘Purple Pillow’ as separate cultivars.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Ground cover or edger. Beds, border fronts, rock gardens or cottage gardens.