Of all the plants that grow in our garden, it is the humble and unpretentious Bigroot Geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum) that is the most appreciated. Working quietly in the background, it serves as our most dependable and adaptable groundcover. From full sun to full shade, in soil dry to moist, this plant thrives and slowly spreads in all zones from 2 to 9. It begins blooming in the beginning of June and it will continue through to mid-July. The leaves are attractive and fragrant when touched, and as a buggy bonus, the flowers appeal to bumblebees. There are a few varieties available, from the showy magenta pink, ’Bevan’s Variety’; through pale pink ‘Ingwersen’s Variety’ to the blushing white ‘Alba’. The bigroot geranium can find a place in most gardens as a groundcover around the base of shrubs and larger perennials. They are particularly good around roses and other leggy shrubs. There is even a variety with variegated leaves, Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Variegatum’, that tends to be a bit more fussy in its requirements (it does best in richer soil and keep it out of full sun), but it can begin to revert, so attention must be paid to pinch-out new all-green growth†.
Geranium macrorrhizum, the Bigroot or Cranesbill geranium–a garden stalwart that is an essential perennial in our landscape.
† not a quality desirable in the low-maintenance garden.