Gardening Magazine

Geranium Himalayense ‘Gravetye’

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Geranium himalayense 'Gravetye' (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Geranium himalayense ‘Gravetye’ (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Moist, well drained

Flowering period: Summer

Eventual Height: 45cm

Eventual Spread:  75cm

Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a

Family: Geraniaceae

Geranium himalayense ‘Gravetye’ is a semi evergreen perennial with a spreading, clump forming habit. Its dark green leaves are lobate having five lobes with dentate margins, up to 15cm across and 12cm long. Its violet/ purple flowers flowers are saucer shaped with red/ black tinges at their centres and are borne in loose cymes. Its roots contain rhizomes which aids its spread.

Geranium himalayense 'Gravetye' Flower (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Geranium himalayense ‘Gravetye’ Flower (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Geranium himalayense ‘Gravetye’ is synonymous with Geranium grandiflorum var. alpinum and Geranium himalayense alpinum,  It was selected  from the gardens of Gravetye Manor in Sussex, the home of William Robinson (1838-1935) who was one of the most influential plants men of the 19th century; having founded the periodical The Garden and publishing many books on the subject.

The etymological root of the binomial name Geranium is derived from the Greek geranos, meaning ‘crane’; referring to the beak-like fruit. Himalayense is derived from the Latin meaning ‘from Himalayas’.

The landscape architect may find Geranium himalayense ‘Gravetye’ useful as a free flowering semi deciduous ground cover plant. It is appropriate species for prairie type, or woodland under story style planting schemes. It will also tolerate dry shade and short periods of drought.

Geranium himalayense 'Gravetye' Leaf (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Geranium himalayense ‘Gravetye’ Leaf (15/08/15, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically, Geranium himalayense ‘Gravetye’ flowers are attractive to pollinating insects, including butterflies and honey bees. Its leaves are attractive to the larvae of some species of Lepidoptera.

Geranium himalayense ‘Gravetye’ prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Geranium himalayense ‘Gravetye’ requires little to no maintenance, Flowered stems and old leaves may be removed to encourage new growth. This plant may be divided in spring or autumn to increase numbers.

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