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Non-native perennial forms a fragrant groundcover that will choke out most weeds.

Non-native perennial forms a fragrant groundcover that will choke out most weeds.

Geranium macrorrhizum 'Bevan's Variety'

Big root geranium

Native to SE Alps and the Balkans (selection)


FIRST IMPRESSIONS:  Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’ is a lovely spring blooming perennial that forms 1’ tall mounds.  Plants have semi-evergreen deeply lobed aromatic leaves.  In spring, foliage is crowned by loose clusters of saucer shaped 5 petaled magenta colored flowers.  This is a fine groundcover for sunny or shaded gardens with moist well drained soil or average garden soil.

HABITAT & HARDINESS:  Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’ occurs in southern Europe in the Balkans and the southeastern Alps.

This species is indigenous to limestone screes, woods, scrub and shaded alpine habitats.

Dr. Roger Bevan collected this plant in the former Yugoslavia.  Bevan named the variety and it was distributed through Washfield Nurseries in England.  The cultivar has flower color that is darker than the norm.

Plants are hardy from USDA Zones 3-8.

PLANT DESCRIPTION:  Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’ is a mounding rhizomatous perennial groundcover. 

Flowering stems and basal leaves emerge directly from the rhizomes.  The leaves are semi-evergreen, opposite and from 4-8” wide.  They are palmately cleft with 3-5 deep toothed lobes. 

The leaf surface is medium green, pubescent and often apple scented.  The petioles are long and pubescent.  Foliage can assume red, orange or yellow tints in the fall.

From late spring to early summer, the flowering stems are topped by loose rounded cymes containing 2-5 florets.  Each floret is 1” across with 5-7 rounded petals that are marked with darker veins.  The petals are deep magenta and the sepals are deep red.

After flowering, distinctive capsule fruits form.  The fruit is beak-like and about 1” long.  As it matures, the carpels retract and the tiny seed are expelled away from the mother plant. 

Plants grow 1’ tall with a 2’ spread.  They often form colonies from thick fleshy rhizomes.

CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDSGeranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’ flourishes in sunny, shaded or partly shaded sites with moist well drained soil. 

Plants tolerate loamy, sandy, chalky or poor infertile soils, acidic or alkaline pH, drought, heat and humidity. 

Plants are fairly pest resistant and are not palatable to deer and other herbivores.

This cultivar will self-seed.  If this is an issue, shear plants to 3” after blooming to remove developing seed capsules and stimulate new growth.

Mature plants form dense clumps that are very competitive with weeds.

LANDSCAPE USES:  This is a good Groundcover, Grouping or Mass Planting for a Shade Garden.  Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’ has Showy Blooms, Attractive Foliage and is appropriate for Cottage Gardens, Low Maintenance Plantings and Perennial Borders.

COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS:  Try pairing Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’ with Achillea millifolium, Aquilegia Canadensis ‘Corbett’, Carex albicans, Carex plantaginea, Echinacea purpurea or Panicum virgatum.

Geranium maculatum has similar appearance and culture and could be substituted in native gardens. 

TRIVIA:  The generic name is from the Greek word geranos which means “crane” and refers to the bill-like fruit capsule.  The common name “cranesbill” also refers to the similarity between the fruit and a crane’s beak.

The common name Big Root Geranium refers to the large vigorous rope-like rhizomes.


Height:

1-2 ft

Spread:

1-2 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone:

3-8

Bloom Color:

Magenta

Geranium macrorrhizum 'Bevan's Variety' Characteristics

Attracts Wildlife

  • Pollinators
  • Butterflies

Exposure

  • Full Sun to Partial Shade

Attributes

  • Ground Cover
  • Fragrant
  • Drought Tolerant

Deer Resistant

  • Deer Resistant

Flowering Months

  • April
  • June
  • May

Foliage Color

  • Green

Soil Moisture Preference

  • Moist/Well-Drained

Plants that work well with Geranium macrorrhizum 'Bevan's Variety'

Switch grass Switch grass (Panicum virgatum)
Hummello betony Hummello betony (Stachys officinalis 'Hummello')