Virtues: Each year the Perennial Plant Association names just one garden perennial as its Perennial Plant of the Year. Past winners include superstars like ‘David’ phlox, ‘Becky Shasta daisy, ‘Moonbeam’ coreopsis, ‘Rozanne’ geranium and ‘Jack Frost’ Siberian bugloss. 2015’s honoree, ‘Biokovo’ cranesbill boasts all the criteria for the Perennial Plant of the Year award: multiple seasons of interest, widespread growing range and availability, low needs and freedom from pest or disease problems.
Common name: ‘Biokovo’ cranesbill, ‘Biokovo hardy geranium
Botanical name: Geranium xcantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’
Flowers: Five very light pink to white petals surround darker pink stamens. Flowers appear in late spring, with a heavy bloom that covers the plant. ‘Biokovo’ cranesbill flowers open up from darker pink or reddish buds, giving the perennial an overall two-tone appearance as it comes into bloom.
Foliage: Deep green lobed leaves are held thickly enough to make ‘Biokovo’ cranesbill an effective groundcover. The leaves take on a red-orange color in fall.
Habit: Herbaceous, perennial groundcover growing six to ten inches tall and spreading outward by underground stems (rhizomes). The shallow rhizomes are easy to pull out if ‘Biokovo’ strays into garden areas where it is not wanted.
Season: Spring for flowers, summer for neutral green groundcover, fall for bright foliage color.
Origin: ‘Biokovo’ cranesbill is a hybrid between two Geranium species native to eastern Europe. This hybrid cross occurred in nature; the plant was found, named and propagated by Dr. Hans Simon.
How to grow ‘Biokovo’ cranesbill: Plant this hardy geranium in full sun or part shade, with average soil that has good drainage. ‘Biokovo’ cranesbill has moderate water needs and can tolerate some dry periods once it is established. Hardy geraniums typically do not reuire fertilizing. ‘Biokovo’ is hardy in USDA Zones 4 through 8.
Image courtesy of PerennialResource.com.
Once you read nurseryman Roy Diblik’s method of tending a perennial garden, you’ll want to try it. The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden also includes 62 plans for sun and shade gardens.
Find more perennials that gently spread to fill your garden areas with the book Plantiful by Kristin Green.
Find ornamental grasses to combine beautiful with ‘Biokovo’ cranesbill and other perennials in Bloom’s Best Perennials and Grasses.