Saturday, July 16, 2011

A crawling, sprawling, sideways spreading geranium

In my last post - for Garden Blogger's Blooms Day - I included a shot of Geranium 'Salome'.  I thought I'd look at this interesting plant in more detail.

Geranium 'Salome'
'Salome' is hybrid between two species geraniums, Geranium procurrens and G.lambertii.  Although the flowers are attractive, very 'Salome' like in appearance, in my own small plot I certainly wouldn't grow G.procurrens.  It throws long trailing growths, studded with flowers over a long season I'll admit, but capable of rooting at every node.  One small plant becomes a massive patch in short order.  The usual advice is to grow it through a shrub or similar.  Somehow I don't see that working in my rather congested plot.  'Salome' has inherited the trailing growths - but without the ability to root along the length of the stems.  Nirvana.  It means I can grow it through other plants without the risk of it taking over.

G.lambertii seems to have added this non rooting ability to the cross.  It's also added more separated petals.  I'm not sure where the golden tinge to new foliage has come from - but this is certainly an added bonus.

Young foliage of Geranium 'Salome' contrasting with foliage of Viola labradorica
So I have a hardy (Zone 5 in the US) shade tolerant plant that dies to a very compact rootstock over the winter, produces a neat mound of golden foliage in spring, and will quite happily throw 150cm trails through and into its companions and flower at whatever height it reaches for a long season in summer and autumn.  Which is why I don't object to it growing through my plant of Pieris 'Flaming Silver'.

Geranium 'Salome' peeps through its Pieris 'Flaming Silver' support in the front garden

This is a gem of a plant that I'm sorely tempted to add to plantings in the rear garden.  I won't - but for the best of all reasons.  There is a similar - and equally well behaved geranium - 'Ann Folkard' - which can perform exactly the same function but with darker, more tightly compressed flowers.  This is another hybrid of G.procurrens, this time with G.psilostemon.  This is better adapted to the sunnier site I have in mind to repeat the effect.


  1. Very pretty and that second photo is really lovely the way they are combined.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. It never fails to surprise me that plants find far better associations by themselves than we gardeners can contrive. The Viola was a stray seedling that just happened to establish itself next door to the geranium. I just happened to have a camera handy to record the contrast.

  3. Great write-up of Geranium 'Salome', that's the sort of information I find invaluable when choosing plants. Thanks.

  4. Hi Cally

    Thanks for that. As long as it doesn't smother the Pieris - and it's not done that in all the years they've been together - it's a happy marriage.