Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

Hardy Plants for Waterwise Landscapes

Geranium spp. 
Hardy geranium

Geranium spp. (V.I. Lohr)
Geranium sanguineum with Peony (C.H. Pearson-Mims)

Plant form

Clumping, sprawling, or moderately spreading, depending on the species. Herbaceous perennial; semi-evergreen or deciduous, depending on species and severity of winter. 


6 inches to 3 feet tall, depending on species; spread can equal height.


Blooms late spring through summer. 

Water use

Low to moderate.  Certain species are quite drought-tolerant once established.

Culture and maintenance

Grows best in rich, well-drained soils; doesn't require much fertilization. Plants will usually repeat bloom if pruned back after flowering.  G. sanguineum var. striatum tends to bloom all season without pruning.  Insect- and disease-free. 


Full sun to shade.  


USDA Zone 3.


We have had success with many species, including:

  • Geranium macrorrhizum:  This species spreads readily from seeds and is a good groundcovering plant.  Its leaves also are quite aromatic. Very drought-tolerant.  Flower color ranges from white to deep magenta, depending on the cultivar. Light to full shade.  
  • Geranium psilostemon:  Not for the timid.  Plants are tall (up to 3 feet) and have vivid magenta flowers with black centers.  Full sun to light shade.
  • Geranium renardii:  Very drought-tolerant.  White flowers with purple veins. Full sun to light shade.  
  • Geranium sanguineum var. striatum (also sold as G. sanguineum 'Lancastriense'):  Very drought-tolerant.  Light pink flowers.  Foliage often will become red/burgundy in the fall.  Full sun to light shade. 
  • Geranium viscosissimum: native plant with pale pink flowers.  Full sun.  Very drought-tolerant.
  • Geranium x 'Johnson's Blue':  Flowers are a clear blue.  Pruning after blooming helps maintain a compact habit and promotes reblooming. Full sun to light shade.


Many self-seed.
Geranium sanguineum flowers (V.I. Lohr)
Geranium x 'Johnson's Blue' in a garden (V.I. Lohr)


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