Content Detail

Wild geranium is a native woodland wildflower that can be used as a ground cover in partially shaded sites. It produces pink flowers in spring.

  • Family (English) Geranium
  • Family (botanic) Geraniaceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial, Ground cover
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Medium plant (12-24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil
  • Season of interest late spring, early summer
  • Flower color and fragrance Pink
  • Shape or form Creeping, Irregular, Upright
  • Growth rate Fast, Moderate

Size and Method of spreading: 

Wild geranium grows 1 1/2 to 2 feet high with lower leaves and flowering stems growing directly from creeping rhizomes. Wild geranium is a colonizing ground cover. Colonizing ground covers produce underground stems that spread out horizontally and shallowly, produce roots and then send up new shoots. These plants are strong growers and may have the potential to grow aggressively.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Native to Illinois and the Chicago region, it is common in open woodlands. C-Value: 4.

Leaf description:

Leaves are either basal or opposite, deeply lobed into five lobes with coarse teeth. Leaves are medium green and about 5 inches long.

Flower description: 

Pink to lavender flowers with five petals are produced late spring into early summer. They may be solitary or held in loose clusters.

Fruit description: 

Fruits are beaked capsules said to resemble a crane’s bill. They are not ornamentally important.

Plant care:

Best grown in a moist, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. In hot, dry weather foliage may decline if supplemental water is not supplied.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

No serious problems, although slugs can be an occasional pest. Resistant to deer and tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Espresso wild geranium (Geranium maculatum ‘Espresso’): 

Purplish-brown leaves and longer flowering time.


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