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phaeum and relatives

Pretty spring flowering plants for shady places, many with variegated leaves.  Clump forming and semi-evergreen they are useful under deciduous trees and shrubs as well as in more open areas, tolerating sun as long as the soil doesn't dry out.  30cm-90cm in flower, most around about 60cm.

The dusky cranesbill (Geranium phaeum) is a British native, albeit rarely seen so is always a good choice if you need a plant you know will do well.  Many of the cultivars grown have originated in continental Europe though, a lot of them wild collected forms from southern central Europe where it is much more commonly seen than in the UK.  Geranium phaeum, Geranium reflexum and their hybrid Geranium x monacense typically grow in deciduous woodland and hedgerows, often in more open areas and clearings.

While most varieties have been selected and named for the varied flower colours (white, pinks and purples), patterns and heights there are also a large number of cultivars that have been named for their coloured, variegated or patterned leaves.  Some, like 'Samobor' have brown markings reminiscent of Pelargoniums, others have white, cream or yellow on green leaves with some starting the year yellow or cream and turning green as they age.

Many people dislike Geranium phaeum as it does tend to self-seed a bit but if you have a semi wild area of shrubs or trees this habit is actually really useful and from a few well chosen cultivars you can have a superb natural hybrid swarm in a few years time.  In more formal, well-gardened areas, it really isn't much trouble to keep the seedlings weeded out and there certainly won't be carpets of them in most gardens.

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Geranium phaeum 'Advendo'

Geranium phaeum 'Advendo'£3.50

Pretty rich purple flowers with some lighter shading. Rounded and slightly ruffled. Mid green leaves. Average soil in shade. 60cm.


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Geranium phaeum 'Album'

Geranium phaeum 'Album'£3.50

Clean white flowers show up very well in shady areas. 50cm. Ordinary soil in shade, can cope with dry if well established.


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Geranium phaeum 'Alec's Pink'

Geranium phaeum 'Alec's Pink'£3.00

Early flowering, mauve flowers with a white base. 60cm. Prefers shade but will grow in the open if moist enough and respond well if humusy material is incorporated into the soil.


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Geranium phaeum 'Angelina'

Geranium phaeum 'Angelina'£3.50

A recent variety from Sarastro Nursery in Austria, collected in Croatia. Unusual deepest red flowers with swept back petals. 50cm.


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Geranium phaeum 'Blue Shadow'£3.50

Our selection, introduced by us in 1998. Amethyst flowers with a blue appearance, especially in shade. This is the bluest G. phaeum we have seen. The first to flower, starting in mid-March in 2002. 65cm.


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Geranium phaeum 'Enid'£3.50


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Geranium phaeum 'Golden Samobor'

Geranium phaeum 'Golden Samobor'£3.50

A very nice recent variation of Geranium phaeum 'Samobor' with the green sections of the leaves suffused strong gold on new growth which fades to light green later. The same deep reddish flowers to 50cm in spring.


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Geranium phaeum 'Golden Spring'

Geranium phaeum 'Golden Spring'£3.50

Yellow spring leaves turn green later. Deep pink flowers. 50cm. Prefers shade but will grow in the open if moist enough and respond well if humusy material is incorporated into the soil.


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Geranium phaeum 'James Haunch'

Geranium phaeum 'James Haunch'£4.00

A recent form with 'Samobor'-like brown markings with the centre of each leaf strongly flushed with pale yellow in spring. 60cm.


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Geranium phaeum 'Klepper'£4.00

A rarely seen cultivar from Jan Spruyt with rich purple flowers with near-white centres over plain green foliage. Shade or part shade, average soil. Flowers late spring to early summer. 70cm.


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Geranium phaeum 'Lady in Mourning'

Geranium phaeum 'Lady in Mourning'£3.00

An exceptional plant with large, bright purple flowers. The distinctive foliage is glossy and rich green without spots. Later flowering, from mid-May to 90cm. Average soil in the shade.


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Geranium phaeum 'Langthorn's Blue'£3.50

Clumps of plain green leaves and bluish purple flowers with white centres in spring to 60cm. There is also a form with spotted foliage sold by Langthorn's under this name! Average soil in shade.


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Geranium phaeum 'Lily Lovell'

Geranium phaeum 'Lily Lovell'£3.50

An exceptional plant with large, bright purple flowers. The distinctive foliage is glossy and rich green without spots. Later flowering, from mid-May to 90cm. Average soil in the shade.


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Geranium phaeum 'Lisa'

Geranium phaeum 'Lisa'£4.00

A lovely recent form with mid green leaves with a clear, light yellow centre that suffuses outwards. Reflexed maroon flowers to 45cm.


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Geranium phaeum 'Little Boy'£3.50

A short form with small leaves and dark crimson flowers, the petals rather reflexed. 30cm. Ordinary soil in shade or part shade.


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Geranium phaeum 'Mierhausen'

Geranium phaeum 'Mierhausen'£3.50

Most unusual appearance with sparsely leaved angled stems bearing rosy-mauve flowers over many weeks. Attractive and distinctive. 90cm.


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Geranium phaeum 'Night Time'

Geranium phaeum 'Night Time'£3.00

Clear purple flowers with near white centres on this green leafed form. Average soil in shade, drought tolerant. 45cm.


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Geranium phaeum 'Nightshade'£3.50

A recent introduction with mid green, unspotted leaves and good displays of purple flowers to 45cm in spring. Ordinary soil in shade.


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Geranium phaeum 'Phantom of the Opera'

Geranium phaeum 'Phantom of the Opera'£3.50

A new form with occasionally cream splashed green foliage. Purplish pink spring flowers to 50cm. Average soil in shade.


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Geranium phaeum 'Rachel's Rhapsody'

Geranium phaeum 'Rachel's Rhapsody'£3.50

Found by Rachel Etheridge, this exciting cultivar has dark green leaves randomly splashed and spotted with yellow. Red marks in the leaf axils and purple flowers. 60cm.


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Geranium phaeum 'Raven'

Geranium phaeum 'Raven'£3.50

Very deep blackish-red-purple flowers, broad and quite flat. Very showy - if such a dark flower can be! Plain green leaves. 50cm. Shade, average soil.


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Geranium phaeum 'Ray of Light'

Geranium phaeum 'Ray of Light'£5.00

New introduction for 2012 from our own breeding. Compact plants with white flowers, with the slightest pink tinge as they age, from dark calyces. The foliage has ghostly ‘Samobor’ type markings (one of it’s parents). Shade, ordinary to good soil. 45cm.


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Geranium phaeum 'Robin's Angel Eyes'£4.00

New from Robin Moss. Soft green leaves provide a restful foil for the mauve-purple flowers with pale centres. Ordinary soil in shade. 60cm.


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Geranium phaeum 'Rothbury Ruby'

Geranium phaeum 'Rothbury Ruby'£4.00

New from Cyril Foster this reddish purple form has no white zoning in the centre allowing the colour to flood almost all of the petals. Good rich colour for average soil in shade. 50cm?


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Geranium phaeum 'Samobor'

Geranium phaeum 'Samobor'£3.00

Outstandingly brilliant foliage plant, deserving good soil for the best effect. Leaves have broad zonal rings of chocolate brown. Waxy red flowers in spring to 60cm.


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