Virtues: ‘Dark Reiter’ is a variety that offers all we’ve come to enjoy about hardy geraniums: vibrant summer flowers, ease of care and ground-covering ability. However ‘Dark Reiter’ goes a step further with its dusky-colored foliage, which makes a beautiful contrast to its bright flowers and to green-leaved neighbors.
Common name: ‘Dark Reiter’ hardy geranium, ‘Dark Reiter’ cranesbill
Botanical name:Geranium pratense ‘Dark Reiter’
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Season: Spring through fall for foliage, summer for flowers
Flowers: Five-petaled flowers appear from early through late summer. They are an electric purple that’s enhanced by the dark leaves.
Foliage: The lacy leaves of Geranium Dark Reiter are deep purple in color, making it as much a foliage plant as it is cherished for its lengthy summer bloom.
Habit: This hardy geranium grows about 10 inches tall with a 12 inch spread. It is an herbaceous perennial that dies back in the fall and grows anew in the spring.
How to grow Geranium Dark Reiter: Site in full sun to part shade, in any type of soil with decent drainage. Hardy geranium is fairly drought tolerant once it is established. Provide water during dry spells in its first growing season, but thereafter it should be able to withstand relatively short periods of no rain. Dark Reiter can be sheared during the summer to promote fresh growth and flowering and to remove any seed heads. USDA Zones 4–8.
Image courtesy of Walters Gardens.