Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Plant profile: Geranium maderense

With an Echium behind
it, appropriately
Latin name: Geranium maderense ("jer-AY-nee-um mad-er-EN-see")
Common name: Madeira cranesbill
Originally from: the island of Madeira, where it is uncommon.
Blooms: Early spring is the time to see this plant go berserk, covered in pink flowers.
Light: Full sun to light shade
Water: Rain is plenty. No summer water needed.
Drainage: Excellent
Height x width: 3'-4' tall and wide
USDA Zones: 9-11
Where to find in P. Garden: One in the dog area - soon to be more I am sure as they self seed freely.

Pink! Pink! Pink!
This is not your grandma's geranium. In fact your grandma might find this one a little shocking due to its size and unseemly display of flowers! This plant hails from the island of Madeira which is located off the coast between Portugal and northern Africa - it's a remote and autonomous region of Portugal that's got quite a few interesting native plants - lots of Echiums, Dracaena draco and so on.

Technically a biennial, you can treat it as a perennial by cutting the plant back after it declines in late summer. And technically an understory plant, it might prefer light shade and less windy conditions than the spot it's living in at PG. We shall see!

With lovely fern-like foliage even when not in flower, and deep red stalks, this plant is nice looking even when not in bloom. The lower leaves on each stem gradually turn downwards and help to prop up the plant to protect it in high winds. And since it seeds freely you should be able to share it with friends.

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