Coming from Europe, the bloody cranesbill flower has been a favorite among American gardeners for many years. It has won the GreatPlants award, being proposed b the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum.
Bloody Cranesbill Characteristics
Scientifically known as Geranium sanguineum, the lower is a rhizomatous perennial plant. It is a bush like flower that reaches a height of 15 or 16 inches and it spreads no more than 20 inches.
It blooms multiple times during late spring to early autumn. If the autumn is mild and hot it will continue to produce flowers until the weather turns.
It has elegant purple flowers which embellish the lobate leaves. These will turn blood red in autumn adding a strong drop of color to any garden. There are multiple hybrids like “Album” which produces rich white flowers and dark green leaves or Geranium “Elke” with delicate pink flowers, with white edges on each petal.
How to Care and Maintain Bloody Cranesbill
Being part of the Geranium genus makes this plant very easy to tend to. It grows easily and if you will respect a few easy rules, it will provide long lasting flowers.
The first and most important step before planting any cranesbill flower is too choose the right position. It loves the sun so plant it in full sun in well-drained soil. It tolerates drought and clay soils. So it feels like home even in arid climates found in California for example.
The plant is a perfect border plant. You can mass plant it in order to obtain a nice visual effect in any cottage garden, rock garden or flower bed. It is recommended to remove dead flowers and dry leaves as it will encourage the plant to produce new blooms.
In order to multiply the plant, you can use seeds or basal cuttings. You can use cuttings even in spring or fall to multiply cranesbill.
Dealing with Pests and Diseases
Like all Geraniums, the bloody cranesbill is not affected by serious pest problems. Occasionally it can suffer from vine weevil, sawflies or capsid bugs.
Vine weevils are insects that are very destructive as they feed on the leaves and roots of plants. They are kind of hard to spot during the day as they are active only at night. If you notice that the leaves are eaten away and you cannot spot any little critter, then most probably your flower if infested with these bugs.
Sawfly larvae feed on the leaves of plants and they are very common in the USA. They are slug-like little creatures, greenish black and elongated.
Capsid bugs are a nuisance because they damage the looks of flower gardens. They do not do deadly damage, but they drill holes in leaves and flowers. Their peak feeding period is in May, when the bloody cranesbill begins to bloom.
For all three types of insects there are a number of insecticides widely available on the market. Consult with your gardener or with the client service agents at your local gardening store for more information. Depending of the level of infestation one or more insecticides can be used.