Alpenglow geraniums are a variety of blood red geranium, also known as bloody cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum). This variety is known for the deep, luminous rose hue of its blossoms. The color is reminiscent of alpenglow, a reddish glow illuminating mountains at sunrise or sunset.
The Alpenglow geranium is a bushy, low growing plant with an average height of 6 inches and an average width of 24 inches. Like all Geranium sanguineum varieties, this plant bears roundish, thick, velvety, deeply lobed leaves. These leaves are dark green in the warmer months, adopting a striking crimson shade in the autumn. Deep magenta, five-petaled flowers emerge from May to August.
The Geranium sanguineum species is native to Portugal, Turkey and the Caucasus Mountains of Eurasia. These plants flourish naturally in dry woodlands, open rocky slopes and scrubby areas. They are tough and drought-resistant. Alpenglow geraniums are hardy in growing zones 3 to 9. They thrive in either full sun or partial shade.
It is best to plant Alpenglow geraniums from seedlings in the spring after the year’s last frost has passed. Late May is a perfect time for planting. A well aerated, porous soil such as one containing some sand is ideal. For clay-heavy soils, some organic matter such as peat moss or manure should be added yearly.