When Do Wild Geraniums Bloom

A perennial herbaceous plant, Geranium maculatum is native to deciduous woodlands in eastern North America’s zones 3 to 8, including southern Ontario, Georgia, western Oklahoma, and the eastern part of the Dakotas. Except for a few northern counties, it can be found throughout much of Wisconsin. With its larger blossoms than the other species, the wild geranium is the most showy of the native geraniums. This clump-forming plant in the geranium family (Geraniaceae), also known as alum root, alum bloom, cranesbill, spotted cranesbill, wild cranesbill, spotted geranium, wood geranium, and other local colloquial names, is typically fairly prevalent in dense clusters in natural woodland openings.

These colonies are made up of collections of durable clones that originated from distinct plants. It rarely appears in disturbed regions and is a weak coloniser. Native Americans utilised G. maculatum as a medicine to cure open wounds and sores as well as diarrhoea.

The flowering stems of plants emerge from dense, horizontal rhizomes with a loose cluster of basal leaves. They grow into a mound of 12-28-inch-tall and 12- to 18-inch-wide dark green foliage.

The long, white-haired petioles bearing the palmately lobed basal leaves emerge in the spring. Although occasionally two of the lobes are severely cleft enough to appear as seven lobes, each broad leaf up to 6 inches across typically contains five deep lobes. The entire leaf margin is unevenly and coarsely serrated or cleft. While the top leaf surface is coated in fine white hairs, the lower leaf surface contains coarse white hairs similar to those on the petiole.

In late spring to early summer, wild geranium blooms for about a month (occasionally longer in milder conditions). The winter bud at the terminals of the rhizomes contains flower buds that were established the previous year. The opposing, short-stalked stem leaves on each erect, mainly unbranched flower stem are identical to, but smaller than, the basal leaves, typically with just three lobes. The upright blooms are produced in loose clusters of two to five at the apex of hairy stems (a corymb or floppy umbel). A single pistil with five carpels is surrounded by a single flower that is 1-11/2 inches diameter, five rounded petals, five green sepals, and ten yellow stamens. The petals’ fine, somewhat darker-colored lines that run along their length serve as nectar guides, and they are often rose-pink to lavender in colour, however they can occasionally be darker purple or even white. The most frequent pollinators are honeybees, bumblebees, numerous varieties of local solitary bees, and syrphid flies, however ants and beetles frequently visit the flowers.

Three to five weeks after blossoming, unique fruit capsules appear. Each is made up of five basal cells, each bearing one seed with a reticulated surface, and a tall, central column that resembles the beak of a crane.

When this dehiscent fruit is ready, the carpels twist upward and backwards and spring open, ejecting the seeds 10–30 feet from the mother plant. After the seeds have ripened in the summer, the plants may begin to become dormant. In ideal circumstances, leaves will stay green all season long, but if the soil dries up, they may turn yellow or lay dormant for the summer.

Wild geranium can be grown as an ornamental plant in gardens even though it is a native to our region. For the optimum growth, plant it in rich soil with lots of organic matter, in full sun or moderate shade, and with lots of moisture. The more sun a plant gets, the more flowers it produces. Under ideal growing conditions, this plant will naturalise, although it is never invasive. It doesn’t need a lot of maintenance. Since plants typically do not repeat bloom, deadheading is not advised.

After flowering, the foliage can be softly shaped and shorn back. There aren’t many pests that affect this plant, however rust, leaf spot, and aphid infestations are all possible. Flowers will be eaten by deer (and occasionally the foliage).

Use G. maculatum in open woodland gardens, native plant gardens, and shady border areas. It can be gathered in a bulk to cover the ground. It frequently grows alongside bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), false Solomon’s seal (Smilacina racemosa), Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum spp. ), ferns, Trillium grandiflorum, common mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum), and forest phlox in its natural habitat (Phlox divaricata). It pairs nicely in gardens with these and other native plants found in open woods as well as with exotic ornamentals like violets, goat’s beard, columbine, foam flowers, and various species of aquilegia and tiarella.

There are a few G. maculatum cultivars available:

  • White blooms are found on “Album.”
  • ‘Elizabeth Ann’ features blue-lavender blooms and dark brown leaves.
  • A variety called “Espresso” has reddish-brown foliage and pale pink blooms.

Wild geranium can be propagated from seed or by dividing the rhizomes. Early spring or late fall are good times to divide roots by cutting them at right angles. You can buy seed or gather it naturally. The dehiscent fruits should be harvested before splitting open (about a month after flowering, as they start to darken), and they should be placed in a paper bag to retain the seeds until the fruits rupture open. To germinate, seed must be stratified; the longer the cold time, the higher the germination rate. Fall is the best time to sow outdoors because there is no need for artificial stratification. Young plants often bloom in their second or third year in the wild, but when planted in a garden, they frequently do so in the first year. University of Wisconsin-Madison student Susan Mahr


Depending on the type, they range from 5 to 8 inches in height for dwarf cultivars to 2 to 4 feet tall and wide for ivy varieties.


Most plants thrive in full sun. While zonals can handle moderate shade, regal types do prefer some partial shade. Some afternoon protection should be offered in excessively hot areas.

Bloom time:

Geraniums are prized for having a lengthy blooming period that can extend into the fall and begins in the spring. Plants may also bloom in the winter or the early spring if temperatures are kept above 45 to 50 degrees.


Flowers appear in a variety of colours, including reddish-black, mauve, orange, pink, purple, and white. The leaves of geraniums can be any colour, including green, gold, chartreuse, bronze, red, and many other hues.

Are geraniums toxic?

The ASPCA claims that geraniums are poisonous to both dogs and cats. Vomiting, anorexia, sadness, and dermatitis are clinical indicators of intake or exposure. Plants should be kept out of reach of your pet at all times. view more common plants that are poisonous to dogs and cats.

How are wild geraniums maintained in bloom?

For shady to full sun colour, the wild spotted geranium is hard to match. In medium, well-drained soil, this perennial expands contentedly but not forcefully. Fall brings beautiful crimson and orange hues to the leaves. Zones 5 to 9 are suitable for planting. For planting in gardens next to trees, wild geranium is a fantastic option.

Wild geranium will allow you to explore your wild side. This perennial bloomer’s botanical name is Geranium maculatum. Numerous other names, such as alum root, wild cranesbill, spotted geranium, and wood geranium, are also commonly used to refer to it. Whatever name you give it, this natural wildflower enhances the beauty of any setting.

Eastern North America is home to the wild geranium, which can be found growing from Southern Ontario to Georgia and farther west to eastern Oklahoma and the Dakotas. Geranium maculatum is a resilient plant that adapts to a variety of growth environments and is hardy in Zones 3 to 8. Wild geranium can be found in woodlands and in shaded roadside areas in its natural habitat. It grows well in full sun to partial shade in the backyard garden.

Give wild geraniums rich, humusy soil that is full of fallen, decaying leaves, similar to the kind you’d find in a woodland. When there is adequate moisture, plants grow the fastest. Give wild geranium a location with more sun and lots of water for the finest blooms. Lack of water and too much sun cause yellow leaves to drop early. Plants will retain their leaves throughout the season if they receive enough moisture. If not, plants have a tendency to hibernate.

Late spring to early summer, for a duration of six to seven weeks, sees the appearance of flowers on wild geranium plants. When temperatures remain on the chilly side, the blossoming window expands. Flowers open facing upward and appear in loose clusters above the dark green, lobed leaves.

The majority of the time, blooms are lilac or pink in colour, but rarely you’ll come across a plant with dark purple or even white blossoms. Darker coloured lines on the petals serve as nectar markers for pollination insects. A great plant for luring pollinators, such as native bees, syrphid flies, bumblebees, and honeybees, is the wild geranium.

The wild geranium doesn’t require deadheading because it only blooms once every growing season. Seed capsules start to form around a month after the plant blooms, giving it the common name cranesbill geranium. The seed capsule features a base and a lengthy centre portion. With its large beak, the entire thing resembles a crane head. The word “geranium” literally means “crane” in Greek. The capsules explode when the seeds are ripe, launching the seeds 10 to 30 feet.

Geranium in the wild grows in groups. When it’s content, it easily naturalises but it’s not obtrusive. Typically, plants reach heights of 18 to 24 inches and widths of 12 to 18 inches. Pick more wildflowers to thrive besides wild geranium. The variegated solomon’s seal, ferns, celandine poppies, shooting stars, trilliums, columbines, and woodland phlox make for good companions.

Why isn’t the wild geranium in bloom?

With the majority of their species being native to South Africa, geraniums (also known as pelargoniums or storksbills) are drought and heat tolerant plants that, under the appropriate circumstances, may bloom all year round in warm regions.

Geraniums don’t bloom because of wet soil, excessive shade, chilly temperatures, and high nitrogen fertiliser. To blossom in the summer, geraniums need well-draining soil, potassium fertiliser, full light, and nights that are regularly warmer than 55F (12C).

To find out why your geraniums aren’t flowering and how to put the best practises into practise so that they bloom to their full potential, keep reading.

Are geraniums in bloom all year long?

  • Wet shoes are not good for geraniums. Do not place them in excessively wet soils or environments. The best benefits come from letting the soil get completely dry in between waterings.
  • Avoid watering from above. Fungal illnesses will become less likely as a result.
  • They may tolerate slight frosts in cool temperate regions. After each flowering cycle, lightly trim the plant to promote further blooms.
  • When flowering is finished in the fall, harder pruning (one to two thirds of the plant) can be done.
  • Cuttings from geraniums can be easily multiplied.
  • Due to the intense oil content in the leaves, Ivy Leaf Pelargoniums are well recognised for deterring cats from gardens.
  • There are numerous varieties of geraniums and pelargoniums. A few of these are: Common Geranium the market’s most popular variant. Large, green, hairy leaves with gorgeous flower flushes appear from spring to late summer, however they may bloom all year in some regions.

Pelargonium with Ivy Leaf Pelargonium with trailing growth, fragrant, ivy-shaped leaves, and tiny blooms. Excellent for use as a ground cover in hot, dry locations and in containers.

Aromatic Geraniums More so than their blooms, scented geraniums are grown for their leaves. Their leaves have a tiny furrow at the edge, which sets them apart from regular Geranium varieties and gives them a ruffled appearance. To release the oils and make a pleasant perfumed area in the garden, crush the leaves. Rose (P. graveolens), Apple (P. ordoratissimum), Peppermint (P. tomentosum), and even Lemon are among the many diverse smells and variations that can be found (P. citronellum). Some of them are even edible, so read the labels carefully before eating.

Pelargonium Zonal (P. hororum) This cultivar not only features attractive blooms, but also unusually shaped leaves. These set themselves apart from the other kinds by having zones or leaf outlines. These zones produce a distinctive feature plant for the garden or pots and can be simple (just two colour forms) or complicated (three or more colour forms).

Do geraniums flower throughout the winter?

I DON’T WANT TO BE BURDENED WITH TIRED, OLD, MONSTER-SIZE PLANTS WHEN IT COMES TO OVERWINTERING GERANIUMS. Fresh, young, eager-to-grow geraniums that are manageable in size for the window garden’s ornamental purposes are what I’m after. Do you share my desire? Then allow me to precisely demonstrate how to prepare these common summer plants for interior winter splendour.

A suitable time to restore and propagate zonal and scented-leaved geraniums is in the middle of August or at least six weeks before the first anticipated frost. This provides the plants plenty of time to heal from root stress and for cut stems to develop roots before the major shift from the outside to the inside.

I’ve never had a problem with the restoration and propagation techniques listed below:

Cut the plant back to within an inch of its life, or to the point where the lowest leaves may be discovered, when working with a zonal geranium that has grown all summer (like “Puritan White” above). Be harsh here.

Your plant should resemble this once virtually all of the top growth has been removed.

Pull the geranium out of its pot next. Place one hand over the plant’s top, where it may support the soil and top growth, to do this in a “professional manner”. Invert the pot next, and while keeping the base in place with your other hand, strike the rim of the pot against a hard surface.

It’s likely that you’ll find the plant to be extremely root-bound. We’ll take care of this.

Slice the roots in thirds using a sharp knife. You should cut away roots in direct proportion to the amount of foliage that has vanished.

After that, cut vertically to cut through the dirt and roots as shown above. The objective is to be able to centre the plant in its previous pot with a one-half to one-inch space between the dirt now present and the pot’s walls.

Now carefully examine your geranium. Do you notice any rotten or dead stems? Cut off these. Only three or four stems that exhibit signs of vitality are required.

Then fill the pot with additional potting soil until it reaches about halfway up the edges.

Put the plant in the pot’s centre now. If centring appears to be unattainable, then remove more soil and roots to produce a rounded form.

Afterwards, secure it with a paintbrush, a Popsicle stick, or a plant label (as above).

When planted correctly, there should be a one-inch space for watering between the soil’s surface and the pot’s top.

Thoroughly soak the plant until extra moisture drains out of the drainage hole. Remove any soil that is adhering to the leaves by rinsing them.

That’s all, then! You now possess a freshly restored geranium that will bring you joy during the rest of the winter.

What should we deal with all the stems that we cut now? All right, each of these can develop into a new plant.

The stems should then be left alone for a few hours (or perhaps a few days) to allow the cut end to “callus,” or dry out. It is unlikely that a callused cut will decay.

Stipules, or the little flaps along the stem, should also be removed. These could decay in soggy ground.

There isn’t a picture for the following three steps because I don’t believe you need it: Take a 4-inch clay pot, and cover the drainage hole with a piece of shattered pottery. Then add a new mixture to the saucepan.

To a depth that roughly corresponds to the length of your cutting, press a pencil into the earth in the centre.

And then, use your thumbs to firmly press the earth down. Or “thumb,” if you are working while holding a camera.

Just add a little more mixture and adjust the stem if, after pressing down, the soil level lowers more than an inch below the top of the pot.

Give the plant plenty of water (until excess drips through the drainage hole). Simply spray the leaves once or twice daily until roots grow if wilting symptoms appear. When new growth is visible, your cuttings will have taken root.

Place the plant outside in a well-lit but dim area. After the young plants have developed roots, you can move them to a location that gets half-day sun (or full-day sun in a window garden).

By the way, perfumed leafed geraniums can be propagated and restored using the same techniques. Unfortunately, they are becoming rarer by the day, therefore the only way to ensure that you will have them from year to year is to propagate them. My rose-scented “Lady Plymouth” is shown above. This variety’s leaves can be crushed and added to your bathwater. You can also prepare scented icing for cakes and cupcakes by steeping the leaves in full-fat milk.

You can view images of the scented-leaved and large-flowered geraniums I’ve used in my many winter window gardens throughout the years by visiting the houseplants category on this website. The lavender-pink “Americana” made a lovely sight in my music room window in December 2011.

America appears beautiful in my herb garden as well. It recently drew a hummingbird moth here.

Indoor Culture: Give your geraniums as much direct sunlight as an east or south window will allow for indoor success. While plants grown from cuttings often don’t set buds until the days become longer in February or March, restored plants can bloom as early as December. In February 2008, I grew zonal, scented-leaved, and fancy-leaved geraniums in the window of my library/den.

You don’t have an east or south window? Put the plants in front of some fluorescent lights. I can tell you that zonal geraniums will bloom in January virtually as well as they do in summer if they are illuminated for 16 hours each day.

Once the plants are established, I use a high-phosphorus, low-nitrogen plant food to promote flowering. One and a quarter teaspoons of formula per gallon of water are fed to the window garden test subjects. Due to their prolonged exposure to light, I raise the food for the window garden plants to one and a half teaspoons.

Well. I sincerely hope that this tutorial was at least somewhat helpful to you. Maybe you’ll tell me by posting a remark. Your words are the light of my life as always.