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Wild geranium

Wild geranium has pink flowers in late spring.

Wild geranium is a native woodland wildflower that can be used as a ground cover in partially shaded sites.   It produces pink flowers in spring.

Botanical name:

Geranium maculatum

All common names:

Wild geranium, cranesbill

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Ground cover,
  • Perennial

Native Locale:

  • Chicago area,
  • Illinois,
  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border

Size Range:

  • Medium plant (12-24 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


  • Alkaline soil

Seasons of Interest:

  • late spring,
  • early summer

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Pink

Shape or Form:

  • Creeping,
  • Irregular,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate,
  • Fast

More Information:

Size and Method of spreading

Wild geranium grows 1 1/2 to 2 feet high with lower leaves and flowering stems growing directing from creeping rhizomes.  Wild geranium is a colonizing ground cover.  Colonizing ground covers produce underground stems that spread out horizontally and shallowly, produce roots and then send up new shoots.  These plants are strong growers and may have the potential to grow aggressively.

Plant Care

Best grown in a moist, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade.  In hot, dry weather foliage may decline if supplemental water is not supplied.

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious problems, although slugs can be an occasional pest.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Resistant to deer and tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Illinois and the Chicago region.  Common in open woodlands.

C-Value: 4

Leaf description

Leaves are either basal or opposite, deeply lobed into 5 lobes with coarse teeth.  Leaves are medium green and about 5 inches long.

Flower description

Pink to lavender flowers with five petals are produced late spring into early summer.  They may be solitary or held in loose clusters.

Fruit description

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


Cultivars and their differences

Espresso wild geranium  (Geranium maculatum 'Espresso'):  Purplish-brown leaves and longer flowering time.

Location of Geranium maculatum (Wild geranium) at the Arboretum