Perennial geraniums (Geranium spp.) also are called cranesbill geraniums. This hardy flower produces blooms for several weeks from early June through July. The flowers grow up to a quarter-size across in rose, pink, magenta, white or blue colors. The seedpods resemble a crane’s beak with a pointed tip. Perennial geraniums produce mounds of small leaves 6 to 30 inches tall. They grow outside in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 3 to 8. Use perennial geraniums as ground covers, borders and rock gardens.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Remove weeds, grass and other debris from the planting site in an area of full to partial sun. When planting in hot climates, place the perennial geraniums in an area with afternoon shade.
Loosen the soil with a shovel to the depth of 12 inches. Turn the soil over and break apart the large clumps. Work the soil over with the edge of a garden hoe.
Spread a 1-inch layer of peat moss, compost or well-rotted manure over the top of the soil. Mix the organic material into the top 6 inches of soil. Rake the soil smooth and level.
Dig a hole with a hand trowel only as deep as the root ball of the perennial geranium bedding plant. Place the plant in the hole so it is as deep as it was in the container. Fill the hole with soil and gently firm it around the plant to hold it in place.
Plant the rest of the perennial geraniums so they are 12 inches apart. Pour water on the soil around the base of the perennial geranium plants until the soil settles. Water the plants whenever the soil turns dry to the depth of 1 inch.
Perennial geraniums are different from zonal geraniums (Pelargonium spp.). Zonal geraniums are tender annuals and do not grow back after dying back in the fall.
Do not plant perennial geraniums too early. If the weather turns cold, the geraniums will stop growing and develop red leaves. Wait until the night time temperatures stay above 50 degrees Fahrenheit before planting outside.