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Geranium maculatum (cranesbill)

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Technical sheet - Geranium maculatum
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Geranium maculatum

cranesbill or wild geranium

We are back on track with this great woodland native! Easy to grow in most shady spots, it flowers in spring with pink or lavender blooms. Found in open woods, clearings, woods edges and roadsides throughout the Eastern US. A necessary component for the shade meadow!

Geranium maculatum LP32 - 32 per flat Availability
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8-12 Inches


12-18 Inches


12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 4-8

cranesbill Interesting Notes

A common sight in Eastern moist, deciduous forests, Geranium maculatum is an easy to grow woodland native with bright magenta flowers in spring and early summer. The attractively textured palmate foliage grows in clumps 18”-24” tall and 2’ wide. The leaves are semi-evergreen and emerge from a thick rhizome that forms colonies over time. When happily placed, they will begin to self-sow in your garden and become a lovely groundcover.

Wild geranium grows best in part to full shade and average to moist, well-drained soils. It is found in the Northeast and Midwest in dry or moist woods, woodland edges, and dappled meadows. A word to the wise, as the summer goes on, Geranium maculatum can begin to show heat stress and is best planted with late summer or fall bloomers to complement the wild geranium’s late spring and early summer performance.

When the shade trial gardens were first planted years ago, a few wild geraniums were planted. Now, it is a lovely and serendipitous groundcover, intermingling with woodland phlox, ragwort, and coral bells to form a colorful textured carpet beneath a black cherry tree. Very low-maintenance, we frequently spot pollinators visiting the blooms of this plant as well as chipmunks merrily eating the seeds in the summer.

Geranium maculatum Growing and Maintenance Tips

Best in part to full shade and average to moist, well-drained soils. Will self-sow when happy. 

Good Substitutions

cranesbill Geranium maculatum 'Espresso'

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Shade
Full Shade
Part Sun
Part Sun

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Green Infrastructure
Wetland Indicator Status
Falcutative Upland (FACU)
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Native to North America
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Spring / Early Summer
Propagation Type