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Connecticut Garden Journal
Connecticut Garden Journal is a weekly program hosted by horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi. Each week, Charlie focuses on a topic relevant to both new and experienced gardeners, including pruning lilac bushes, growing blight-free tomatoes, groundcovers, sunflowers, bulbs, pests, and more.

Connecticut Garden Journal: Perennial Geraniums

There are geraniums and then there are geraniums. The classic geraniums everyone knows are the annual flowers my mom used to love. She'd pot up some red geraniums every year at her house. While I still grow annual geraniums in honor of my mom, I also like perennial geraniums.

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Perennial geraniums are work horses in our gardens. They are also called cranesbill for the interesting shaped seed pods that form after flowering. These geraniums have beautiful pink, purple or blue flowers that bloom on and off all summer.

Probably the most famous of the perennial geraniums is 'Rozanne'. It has stunning violet-blue flowers that bloom consistently all summer. The Geranium macrorrhizum species has pink flowers and a more sprawling shape. 'Ann Folkard' has an early blooming magenta colored flower and 'Johnson's Blue' has clear, sky blue blossoms on 18 inch tall plants.

Geraniums plants do spread over time but never really stand more than 18 to 24 inches tall. We love how they form a dense mat on the soil, blocking out weeds with their attractive foliage, yet letting strong growing daffodils and alliums poke through in spring. These low maintenance plants thrive in part to full sun on a variety of soils. Divide them in spring and early summer every few years if they get too big for the space or you just want to make more plants.

After flowering, geraniums can look ratty with the seedpods and messy foliage. Deadheading helps, but you can also simply shear back the seed pods and top of the foliage. Keep watered and the plant will regrow, fill in and flower again.

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