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Bloodred Geranium

Cultivar 'Max Frei' in flower.

Bloodred geranium is a wide-spreading ground cover with magenta flowers.  It can be used in part shade as well as full sun.  

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name:

Geranium sanguineum

All Common Names:

Bloodred geranium, bloody cranesbill

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Ground cover,
  • Perennial

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border

Size Range:

  • Small plant (6-12 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Season of Interest:

  • Late spring,
  • Early summer

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Purple,
  • Red

Shape or Form:

  • Creeping,
  • Mounded

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

More Information:


Size and Method of spreading

Bloodred geranium is a low-growing ground cover that grows 6 to 12 inches tall and up to 24 inches wide.  It is a trailing ground cover.  Trailing ground covers have trailing stems that spread out from central root system.  These stems spread out horizontally over the ground, but do not root to the ground.

Plant Care

Bloodred geranium refers partial shade, but it tolerates full sun better than many species of geranium.  Moist, well-drained soils are best for this plant.

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious pest or disease problems.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Resistant to deer.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Europe and Asia.

Leaf description

The leaves are 5- to 7-lobed, with each lobe often subdivided into large, rounded teeth.  The leaves are pubescent.  In fall, the foliage turns red.

Flower description

The five-petaled flowers are magenta or purple-red. The flowers are solitary on stems arising from the axils.   Flowers from late spring into mid-summer.

Fruit description

Fruits are beaked capsules said to resemble a cranes bill.  Not ornamentally important.


Cultivars and their differences 

Elke bloodred geranium  (Geranium sanguineum 'Elke'):  Pink flowers with white edging, magenta veins and a white center

Max Frei bloodred geranium  (Geranium sanguineum 'Max Frei'):  Compact habit (under 9 inches) and bright purple-red flowers.

New Hampshire Purple bloodred geranium  (Geranium sanguineum 'New Hampshire Purple'): Vivid magenta flowers.

Striatum bloodred geranium (Geranium sanguineum 'Striatum'):  Compact habit under 8 inches; pink flowers with dark red veins.

Location of Geranium sanguineum (Bloodred Geranium) at the Arboretum