• Geranium maculatum - Wild Geranium


    "Wild geranium is a woodland perennial flower in the Geraniaceae family that will naturalize in optimum growing conditions. This plant is found naturally in base-rich, mesic forests. The preference is for light shade to partial sunlight, moist to slightly dry conditions, and rich loamy soil with abundant organic matter. This plant also tolerates full sunlight if given sufficient moisture. It is easy to grow in cultivation and is one of the showiest of the native Cranesbills. During the hottest part of summer the foliage may decline and yellow. Shear back to reshape.

    "Spotted Geranium is a herbaceous perennial that may grow 1 to 2 feet tall. The leaves are opposite and lobed with a toothed margin. Pink or light purple flowers first mature in mid-spring and continue into late spring.

    "The attractive deeply lobed leaves are topped by saucer-shaped flowers that are pink to lilac in spring. Use in mass as a ground cover, in woodland settings or native and pollinator gardens. This plant is clump-forming. There are cultivars of this plant with white flowers and dark leaves.

    "Spotted Geranium has fibrous roots and a shallow taproot." (North Carolina Extension) 

    Geranium Maculatum Botany  by Dr. John Hilty

    Geranium family (Geraniaceae)


    "The preference is light shade to partial sunlight, moist to slightly dry conditions, and rich loamy soil with abundant organic matter. This plant also tolerates full sunlight if there is sufficient moisture in the soil. It is one of the easier woodland species to cultivate." (Hilty)

    Wild Geranium in landscape on the New York High Line. (K M)

    Faunal Associations:

     "The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract bumblebees, mason bees (Osmia spp.), cuckoo bees (Nomada spp.), long-horned bees (Synhalonia spp.), Halictid bees (Lasioglossum spp., etc.), Andrenid bees (Andrena spp.), and other bees. An Andrenid bee, Andrena distans, is a specialist pollinator (oligolege) of Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum). The flowers also attract Syrphid flies, dance flies (Empis spp.), butterflies, and skippers. Other insects feed on the leaves and other parts of Wild Geranium. This includes leaf-mining larvae of the beetle Pachyschelus purpureus, Acyrthosiphon malvae (Geranium Aphid) and Macrosiphum geranii (Wild Geranium Aphid), Metriorrhynchomiris dislocatus (Yellow Plant Bug), burrowing bugs (Sehirus spp.), stink bugs (Euschistus spp.), and ebony bugs (Corimelaena spp.). The caterpillars of some moths species also feed on Wild Geranium and other Geranium spp., including Lacinipolia lorea (Bridled Arches), Heliothis virescens (Geranium Budworm Moth, Tobacco Budworm Moth), and Archips purpurana (Omnivorous Leafroller Moth). Among vertebrate animals, the Eastern Chipmunk sometimes eats the seeds, while the White-tailed Deer occasionally browses on the foliage." (Hilty)


    1. Copyright 2021, Country Gardens Nursery
    2. Copyright 2021, Country Gardens Nursery
    3. "Geranium maculatum Leatherwood Lake" By Eric in SF - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11251267
    4. "Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)" by wackybadger is licensed under CC BY 2.0
    5. "Geranium maculatum, Geraniaceae, Spotted Geranium..." By H. Zell - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0  https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10241148
    6. "Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)" by wackybadger is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    North Carolina Extension plant description: Geranium Maculatum (Cranesbill, Crane’s Bill Geranium, Spotted Geranium, Wild Geranium) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/geranium-maculatum/. Accessed 3 Feb. 2022.

    John Hilty botany, cultivation, and faunal associations: John Hilty, "Wild Geranium, Illinois Wildflowers, the publisher, Copyright 2004-2019. Accessed 29 January 2022

    "Wild Geranium in landscape on the New York High Line.": "160430 044 The High Line - Geranium maculatum, Dodecatheon media, Tiarella cordifolia, Oxalis violacea, Heuchera villosa 'Autumn Bride'" by cultivar413 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    Faunal associations image: "Insect on Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)" by wackybadger is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    Type: Herbaceous perennial
    Family: Geraniaceae
    Native Range: Eastern North America
    Zone: 3 to 8
    Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
    Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
    Bloom Time: April to May
    Bloom Description: Pale pink, deep pink, lilac
    Sun: Full sun to part shade
    Water: Medium
    Maintenance: Medium
    Flower: Showy
    Attracts: Butterflies
    Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Dry Soil

    Information and images compiled by Erik N.Vegeto

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