Geranium phaeum Samobor


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About this cultivar:

Geranium phaeum var. phaeum ‘Samobor’ is a useful geranium that will thrive even in damp or dry shade. Has two outstanding features. First is the leaves, each having a cherry-black dot when the leaves emerge, aging into a large purple marking. Second is the deep colour of the plentiful flowers. It will quickly spread to form a hummock of foliage that is excellent for suppressing weeds, it is quite a large Geranium. ‘Samobor’ was discovered in 1990 by Elizabeth Strangman in Kent, England. It is a natural variant of Geranium phaeum  found growing in damp woods in Croatia. It is named for the Croatian town of Samobor. One of the Geranium phaeum common names is ‘mourning widow’, but this plant has nothing to be sad about!

  • Position: Full sun, partial shade

  • Soil: Almost any soil

  • Flowers: June, July, August

  • Hardiness: Fully hardy

  • Habit: Clump forming, bushy, trailing

  • Foliage: Deciduous

  • Height: 60 – 90 cm (1 – 2 ft)

  • Spread: 45 – 60 cm (1.5 – 2 ft)

  • Time to full growth: 2 to 5 years

  • Plant type: Herbaceous Perennial

  • Colour: Green, purple, black

About this genus:

Geranium is a genus of 422 species of flowering plants found throughout the temperate regions of the world and the mountains of the tropics, They come in  a variety of shapes and sizes and the five-petaled-flowers can be white, pink, purple or blue, often with distinctive veining. The genus name is derived from the Greek géranos meaning ‘crane’. The common name is‘cranesbill’. Why the crane reference? Well, some species in the Geranium genus have a distinctive mechanism for seed dispersal. This consists of a column which springs open when ripe and casts the seeds some distance.  The shape of the unsprung column looks like the bill of a crane- therefore cranesbill!

Geranium is often confused with its close cousin Pelargonium (florist geranium). The two plants were originally lumped into the one genus (genus Geranium), but in the 1780s, the genus Pelargonium was split from Geranium. However, by that time the common name “geranium” for the florists plants was part of the public vernacular and it stuck.

Geraniums are not as flashy as many perennials, but are getting more and more popular again as newer cultivars become more floriferous and for longer. The attractive foliage of Geraniums, combined with their  blendable, butterfly-attracting, spring and summer flowers, make geraniums staples in the perennial garden. 

The genus geranium has long been recognized as one of the most durable and easy to grow perennials for the garden. They love sun or part shade and will grow in any soil that isn’t waterlogged. 

How to use them? Oh, the list is endless and often depends on the specific geranium, its height, habit and colour – they are not just “ground cover” plants!