Geranium Rozanne: The Cranesbill Geranium
Give your garden a dose of steady, season-long color with Rozanne, a perennial geranium with staying power.
Get in on the geranium of the millennium, as marketers have called Geranium Rozanne. This perennial bloomer is a type of cranesbill geranium. The moniker hails from the Greek, where geranium means crane. The cranesbill reference is to the geranium seed capsule, which has a long beak-like column. Rozanne geranium is a sterile hybrid and doesn’t produce seeds, but its heritage includes other cranesbill geraniums.
Rozanne geranium was discovered in a home garden in Somerset, England. It’s the result of a natural cross between two blue-flowered cranesbill geraniums: Geranium himalayense and Geranium wallichianum ‘Buxton’s Variety.’ The resulting geranium boasts larger blooms, greater heat tolerance and a longer flowering window than its parents or other cranesbill geraniums.
Flowers on Rozanne geranium almost glow in the garden, opening in a vibrant violet-blue shade. The center of each blossom has a white eye. Darker violet-blue lines run along petals, serving as nectar guides for pollinating insects. Rozanne geranium opens its 2.5-inch-wide flowers non-stop from late spring to early fall. In regions with mild winters, gardeners report smatterings of blooms as late as December.
Leaves also offer some sparkle on this geranium. They have a traditional cranesbill geranium appearance with deep lobes, but these leaves boast marbling in shades of chartreuse. In fall, foliage shifts to red and bronze hues, adding more color to the garden.
Rozanne geranium grows roughly 20 inches tall and spreads 24 to 28 inches wide. Unlike other cranesbill geraniums, Rozanne doesn’t necessarily form a neat mound. Instead, it rambles through the garden, clambering up and over other plants. If rambling stems feel overbearing, simply cut them back at any time during the growing season to as short as you like. The plant will respond by branching and possibly blooming.
This cranesbill geranium is hardy in Zones 5 to 8, although gardeners in Zone 4 report successful overwintering for many years. Add a winter mulch if your Zone 4 garden lacks snow cover. Plant this geranium in a spot with soil enriched with organic matter. Soil should be moist but well-drained. Rozanne geranium takes full sun or partial shade, but you’ll see best flowering on plants in full sun. Definitely provide afternoon shade in warmer regions. Gardeners report that deer and rabbits tend to leave this bloomer alone.
There’s no need to deadhead Rozanne geranium, because plants are sterile. You can control plant size somewhat by shearing plants back after the first flush of flowers. Cut stems to as short as three inches to encourage branched growth and subsequent shorter stems. For garden clean-up, cut stems in late fall after frost or in early spring before new growth begins.
Rozanne geranium pairs well with roses, where its wandering ways can hide knobby-kneed canes. It’s a natural in a rock garden and also partners nicely with daffodils. Count on Rozanne geranium’s leaves to disguise fading daffodil stems. In a border, try using Rozanne geranium at the front to ignite a blaze of color.