Growing Guide
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Geranium, Bigroot

Herbaceous Perennial Flower, Ground Cover

Also known as Bigroot Cranesbill, Scented Cranesbill
Geranium macrorrhizum
Geraniaceae Family

An old-fashioned favorite, Scented Cranesbill lives up to its name with strongly fragrant, toothed and 7-lobed gray-green leaves. The blooms can be shades of pink, purple, or white, and are arranged in loose clusters atop erect stems.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun
  • part shade
Prefers part shade where summers are hot, full sun where summers are cooler.

Soil conditions:

  • tolerates droughty soil
  • requires well-drained soil

Hardiness zones:

  • 3 to 8

Special locations:

  • rock gardens
  • xeriscapes
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 1 to 1.5 feet

Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Bloom time:

  • late spring
  • early summer

Flower color:

  • violet
  • white
  • pink

Foliage color:

  • light green
  • gray-green

Leaves flush with red in the fall.

Foliage texture: medium


  • cushion, mound or clump
  • spreading mass

Shape in flower: flower stalks with upright spikes

The blooms are borne in loose clusters atop erect stems.

Special Considerations
  • heat
Special characteristics:
  • aggressive - Self-seeds freely if not deadheaded. This is useful if used for groundcover use.
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Native to Southern Europe
  • evergreen
  • fragrant - Foliage has a pleasant aroma when crushed.
Special uses:
  • naturalistic garden - Very useful as an informal groundcover in shady sites
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed, cuttings, division or separation - Self-seeds if seedheads are allowed to develop. Divide in the spring, or take cuttings of the rhizomatous roots.

Maintenance and care:
Remove faded flowerheads. Allow foliage to remain on the plant for the winter, as it is evergreen and attractively tinted with red, then clean up plant in the spring.

More growing information: How to Grow Perennials

Leaf miners
Slugs and snails
Bacterial blight
Downy mildew
Powdery mildew
Cercospora leaf spot
Ramularia leaf spot
'Album': 1' tall plants with white blooms with showy pink stamens.

'Bevan's Variety': 1' tall plants with reddish purple blooms.

'Czakor': 1' tall plants with magenta blooms. Purple autumn leaves.

'Ingwerson's Variety': 1 1/2' tall plants with pale pink blooms.

'Spessart': deep pink blooms that produce showy seedheads.

'Variegatum': 1' tall plants with cream and gray-green variegated leaves and violet pink blooms. Requires more fertile soil and more sun than other varieties.