There is a hardy geranium to suit most garden situations. Some do incredibly well in sunny borders while others prefer woodland settings. Some make fabulous weed-choking ground covers while others are well suited to containers or rock gardens. Most bloom profusely over a very long season, extending from early spring to late fall (if cut back hard after the first flush of blooms starts to fade in early summer).
Don't confuse them with the lovely bedding plants called 'geraniums', which belong to the genus Pelargonium and are much more tender (very few are hardy). Hardy geraniums or cranesbills are perennial plants that belong to the genus Geranium and thrive in temperate climates with cool summers and cool summer nights. As would be expected, hardy geraniums are much tougher plants. Most are hardy to USDA zone 5 (-20°F or -29°C) and some are even more cold tolerant, such as Geranium pratense, which can withstand extremely low temperatures (up to -50°F or -45°C).
Northwest Pacific gardens should include a few of these hardy geraniums. Why? Because hardy geraniums give a lot while they require very little. They produce masses of eye-catching flowers, are extremely versatile in the landscape, take shade, inhibit weeds, need little care, are deer-resistant and mostly disease-free.
Most hardy geraniums are ridiculously easy to grow. All they require is well-drained, fertile, and moist soil. A few species are even reliably drought tolerant in normal summer conditions.
There is a broad array of colors and textures to choose from. If you are looking for a beautiful, low-maintenance, border geranium that will sail through the challenges of the seasons in the Pacific Northwest region, you may want to consider these top performing varieties. As you will note, some of them have also received the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society!