Geranium maculatum is commonly known as Wild Geranium along with other names including wood geranium and spotted geranium.
This clump-forming perennial is native to North America. And, it grows up to 1 to 2 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide. It has distinct looking leaves that surrounds a bounty of small flowers measuring 1 to 1.5 inches each.
Wild Geranium bloom between March to July with purple, pink and white flowers. This makes them perfect as ornamental plants. You’ll often see growers use them as ground cover or in pollinator gardens.
Wild Geranium Plant Care
Wild Geranium Light Requirements
Wild Geranium does best in full sun or partial sun.
Ideally, the more bright light it receives, the more vibrant and better looking flowers it will produce.
That said, it is important to match proper watering with sun exposure.
In hot, sunny conditions, the plant will do best if it receives sufficient watering. Otherwise, lack of water, despite plenty of sunlight won’t produce your desired results.
Instead, you’ll end up with yellow leaves that are likely going to end up dropping to the ground.
With ample water, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful foliage all season long at their best colors.
Geranium Maculatum Temperature
Wild geranium are hardy to USDA zones 3 to 8. To perform their best, it is best to keep temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The likewise appreciate slightly cooler conditions at night at between 50 and 60 degrees.
As mentioned above, it does enjoy plenty of light. But, you do want to be careful with too much heat, especially in the afternoons and summertime.
In these conditions, keeping the plant under a bit of shade or increasing watering will help it stay healthy.
Geranium Maculatum Humidity
In addition, Geranium maculatum also tolerate a wide range of humidity. But, they prefer moderate humidity.
You want to be careful about high humidity geraniums are not a fan of it. And, it allowing them to stay in this condition will increase their risk of mildew and rust.
This makes it easier to grow the plant indoors without having to accommodate it.
That said, since most houseplants prefer the opposite (they love high to very high humidity), you don’t want to keep your wild geranium alongside these plants or vice versa.
One or the other will have trouble with humidity depending on that area of your home.
How Often to Water Wild Geranium
Wild Geranium have low to medium water requirements. In fact, they are drought tolerant once they are established.
But, they grow best when given ample water. This is especially true if they stay under the hot sun for hours at a time. Providing them with plenty of water will compensate for the heat. In doing so, it will prevent your Geranium maculatum’s leaves from turning yellow.
The one thing you want to watch out with water is overdoing it. Like other plants, overwatering can become very damaging to your plant if not corrected soon enough.
So, while the plant does enjoy plenty of water, it is best to allow the top layer of soil to dry between waterings. This will prevent waterlogging which will result in your Wild Geranium’s roots sitting in water.
The best way to do this is to check the soil and feel the top 2 inches. Only when that depth is dry should you water. Never before that.
Similarly, they are prone to fungal problems. This means it is not a good idea to water from overhead, in the process wetting the entire plant and its leaves. if the leaves don’t dry quickly, it can cause fungal problems like leaf spot, mold and mildew to form.
The same is true for watering late in the afternoons and evenings. Both of which you want to avoid. Instead, watering in the morning is best.
Soil for Wild Geranium
Wild Geranium is not overly picky about soil. In fact, it can tolerate poor soil.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to soil is it must be well-draining. This prevents too much moisture retention which can flood the roots. It also prevents oxygen from reaching the roots by clogging the air gaps.
As a result, it increases the risk of root rot.
in addition to well-draining soil, your Geranium maculatum grows best in moist soil that’s loose and rich in organic matter. It is used to this in the woody areas of the fields and forests where it is often found thanks to lots of composting leaves.
the plant isn’t fussy about soil pH as well, although, it seems to perform the best with mildly acidic to neutral soil.
Geranium Maculatum Fertilizer
Wild Geranium do not need fertilizer unless you have very poor soil. It grows best is humusy soil. As such, amending with compost and adding a layer every season helps improve the quality of your soil.
If you happen to inherit soil that’s low in nutrients, it will be a good idea to apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer early in the spring.
This will be enough to provide the plant with the nutrients it needs for the growing season.
Wild Geranium are fairly low maintenance. And, they don’t need a lot of pruning.
You can expect them to bloom from late spring to early summer. While you can deadhead these after, it is not necessary to do so. That’s because the plant will only bloom once during a season.
Interestingly, a month or so after blooming, you’ll see seed capsules come out. These seed capsule somewhat resemble the head of a crane and its long beak. As such, this is where the plant gets its nickname as cranesbill geranium.
In any case, sometimes after the plant flowers in hotter conditions, you’ll notice its leaves deteriorate. If this happens, cut them back to help them regrow.
You’ll also want to trim back any yellow leaves that are a result of bright, hot sun exposure when the soil is dry.
Wild Geranium Propagation
You can propagate Wild Geranium from cuttings, seed or division.
Of the three methods, the easiest is via softwood cuttings. And, the best time to do so is during early to mid spring.
You can likewise divide the plant if you wish. I go through that process in the Transplanting section below.
Seed is probably the most tedious because it takes the longest. You’ll need to wait for them to germinate and the seedlings to grow.
Similarly, seeds don’t give you the same plant. in contrast, division and cuttings produce clones of your current plant since you’re using parts of the plant.
How to Propagate Geranium Maculatum from Softwood Cuttings
- Start by taking a softwood (not woody) stem from the plant. Choose a healthy stem with at least 2 or 3 leaves. You also want a non-flowering one.
- Use a sterile pair of pruning shear to make the cutting.
- Once you have the cutting, dup the cut end into rooting hormone. This will help speed up rooting.
- Place the cutting into a small container with moist, well-draining soil.
- In about 3 to 4 weeks, it should start to develop roots.
- You’ll be able to tell by lightly tugging the plant. If it resists, it means some roots have set in.
- Wait another few weeks for the roots to grow a bit more.
- After that, you can decide where you want to move it. You can transplant it to a larger container or move it into the ground.
How to Transplant Wild Geranium
Wild Geranium is fairly straightforward to transplant. You can move it from area of your garden to another. Or, take it from a container and move it into the ground.
I’ll cover both processes in step by step detail below.
How to Transplants Geranium Maculatum from One Part of the Yard or Garden to Another
- Start by digging the plant out of the ground. You want to be careful so as not to damage its roots.
- Once the plant is out brush off any excess dirt and soil. Also, check the roots for any potential damage or problems. Don’t remove all the soil because you don’t want the roots to dry out.
- Now, it is time to decide. This will depend on whether you want to keep it as one plant or divide the plant into more. You can divide into 2, 3 or 4 plants depending on what you want.
- If you decide to divide the plant, look for sections where there are stems you can separate. Separate as many as you need or want without allowing the parent plant to get too small.
- Move the plant into their new holes. Plant each divided section into a dug up hole.
- Then cover the space around the plant with soil.
- Water the soil.
How to Transplants Geranium Maculatum from Containers to the Garden
- If you’re starting from a container, prepare a hole. Dig one that’s about twice the size of the plant’s root ball so there’s enough space to put it in and spread the roots.
- Gently remove the plant from the container and position it in the middle of the hole you just dug.
- Cover the surrounding area around the plant with soil.
- Water around the soil.
In general geranium are considered toxic to humans and animals. But, Geranium maculatum has been used in herbal medicine for a while.
Parts of the plant are collected and dries to turn into powder. It has astringent qualities and is said to help with a number of conditions including sore throat, ulcers and dysentery.
However, consuming large amount of this is likewise said to be toxic to the liver.