Everyone knows geraniums. Hardy and beautiful, they’re very popular plants for both garden beds and containers. The Erodium alpine geranium is a little different from the common geranium, but it’s no less attractive and useful. This low spreading plant enjoys a range of soils and makes an excellent groundcover. Keep reading to learn more about alpine geranium plants and alpine geranium care.
Alpine Geranium Plants
Alpine geraniums (Erodium reichardii) are also known as Erodiums – this name comes from the Ancient Greek word for “heron.” The name is due to the shape of the plant’s immature fruit, which looks something like a water bird’s head and beak. The name has also carried over into the common English names Heron’s Bill and Stork’s Bill. Alpine geranium plants are mostly low growing. Depending on variety, they can range from low groundcover no higher than 6 inches, up to small shrubs at 24 inches. The flowers are small and delicate, usually about half an inch across, with 5 petals in shades of white to pink. The flowers tend to clump together and rarely appear alone.
Growing Alpine Geraniums
Alpine geranium care is very easy and forgiving. The plants prefer well drained soil and full sun, but they will tolerate all but soggy soil and deep shade. Depending upon the variety, they are hardy from zones 6 to 9 or 7 to 9. They require very little maintenance - in the hottest, driest months, they benefit from some extra watering, but for the most part, they need only minimal extra water. Indoors, they may fall prey to aphids, but outdoors they are virtually pest free. They can be propagated in the spring by separating new shoots with a portion of the old crown. Nothing more to it than that, so if you're looking for some easy ground coverage, try adding some alpine geranium plants to the area.
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The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.
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