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Geranium Himalayense

All You Ever Wanted to Know About the Geranium Himalayense

Geranium Himalayense refers to the floral species which is from the Himalayan region, as the name indicates. This Geranium is also sold in nurseries sometimes as Geranium grandiflorum.

Typically, the genus Geranium refers to plants that have many long-blooming, bright and colorful flowers and also a dense foliage of lobed leaves which are naturally mound-shaped. They are often used in colorful borders, rock gardens or as plants to enhance a woodland setting. They go by the common name Cranesbill which actually refers to the beaklike fruit. These plants do well in full or partial sun, and they generally stay evergreen. It is, however, necessary to protect these plants from hot afternoon sun in warmer climates. 

A confusing detail for many novice gardeners is that the plant popularly called geranium in stores actually refers to the genus Pelargonium and is actually a different set of indoor and outdoor plants.

The Geranium Himalayense is known to have the largest flowers in the genus as the flowers can be up to 2 inches across and they have the distinctive deeply lobed leaves also. The contrast of the flowers to the leaves is part of the drama of this plant. The plant does particularly well in settings where the summers are not unduly hot and while it handles drought and shade it really buckles under heat and humidity. This plant is variously referred to as Lilac Cranesbill or Himalayan Cranebill in nurseries and at plant retailers. The flower can be seen in its natural habitat in India, Russia and western China, and as a cultivated plant across the globe.

This perennial which grows up to 6-12 inches in height should ideally be planted 18 to 24 inches apart as it does have a tendency to sprawl. Gardeners with experience recommend that the plant be placed in a location where it can get sun and shade. The bloom of the Geranium Himalayense is described as being violet-blue, blue, purple and even pinkish lavender depending on the time of day and the angle in which one catches the flower. While there may be some disagreement in terms of the exact color description, all those who see the flower are likely to agree that it is a pretty and noticeable addition to any garden color scheme. It is vibrant in providing contrast to a multi-colored garden and simultaneously it can be mellow in adding tone to a predominantly blue and purple landscape. The flowers tend to bloom anytime between early spring and late fall.

The plant does well in a range of soil types and according to specific horticultural tips the recommended soil types are 5.6 to 6.0 (acidic), 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic), 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral), 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline) and 7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline). The Geranium Himalayense has average water needs and while regular watering is suggested, those tending the plant should definitely look out for over-watering.

This plant is usually propagated by dividing the root ball; dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs; from herbaceous stem cuttings; from seed which may be sown directly outdoors in fall or sown in vented containers, cold frame or unheated greenhouse in winter. The sowing has to be stratified if it is going to be indoors.

Gardeners planning to collect their own seeds will find the following suggestions helpful.
You should bag the seed heads to make sure that you capture all ripening seeds. It is a good idea to allow pods to dry on the plant and then break it open to collect seeds.

The Geranium Himalayense makes for elegant borders and since it thrives even under shrubs it is easy to use it in various sections of a landscape design.



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