Geranium wallichianum 'Sylvia's Surprise'
Common Name: cranesbill
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Geraniaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Fuchsia pink with white striping
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Appreciates some afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Tolerant of some drought conditions due to its long taproot. Supplemental watering in summer helps keep soils slightly moist. Plants will easily spread in the garden by running stems. If flowering stops and/or plant foliage depreciates in the heat of the summer, plants may be sheared back to rejuvenate, shape and/or to encourage additional bloom.

‘Sylvia’s Surprise’ is a patented cultivar that will not produce viable seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Geranium wallachianum, commonly called Wallich geranium or Wallich cranesbill, is a prostrate species which typically grows to 6-12” tall but spreads by decumbent trailing stems to 24-36” wide. It is native to highland areas in the Himalayas from northeastern Afghanistan to Kashmir. Stems are clad with kidney-shaped green leaves, each being divided into 3 or 5 deeply lobed segments. Basal leaves are absent. Five-petaled, purplish-pink flowers (to 2” across) have white centers and strong purple veining. Flowers bloom throughout summer (June to August).

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 honors Danish botanist Nathaniel Wallich (1786-1854).

‘Sylvia’s Surprise’ is an upright and outwardly spreading cultivar which grows to 10-16” tall with a spread to 36” wide. Fuchsia-pink flowers (each to 1.75” diameter) have notched petals and white striping. Flowers bloom non-stop throughout summer (June-August) on trailing stems clad with round, somewhat wrinkled, 3 to 5-lobed green leaves (to 3” long) which turn red in fall. Bloom may decrease in mid-summer in climates with hot summer temperatures. This cultivar is a naturally-occurring whole plant mutation of G. wallichianum ‘Buxton’s Variety’ (light blue flowers). It was discovered by Sylvia Morrow in her garden in Wrexham, United Kingdom in August of 1999 and subsequently introduced into commerce by Blooms of Bressingham. U.S. Plant Patent PP21,333 was issued on September 28, 2010.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Four-lined plant bug and aphids may appear. Watch for leaf spot.

Garden Uses

Popular informal ground cover. Sprawl over stone walls. Border fronts. Patio containers. Hanging baskets.