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Arboretum Spotlight: Garnet geranium

Arboretum Spotlight: Garnet geranium (Pelargonium sidoides) is a gem in the water-wise garden.
Arboretum Spotlight: Garnet geranium (Pelargonium sidoides) is a gem in the water-wise garden.

This is one part in a new weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum’s “40 Plants You (Probably) Have Never Heard of – But Will Love,” 40 can’t-fail, easy-care, low-water plants well-adapted to our region but hard to find.

Garnet geranium

Pelargonium sidoides

Size: Rounded clumps to 1 foot high and wide.

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Bloom season: Dark burgundy flowers mostly in spring and summer.

Pruning needs: Little or none; shape as desired especially when young to encourage branching.

Water needs: Medium-low; once established, water every other week.

Snapshot: This pretty little evergreen perennial is a garden gem with garnet-hued flowers hummingbirds can’t resist. The velvety gray-green rounded leaves have softly scalloped edges. Despite their delicate shape, the small clusters of dark burgundy flowers look dramatic above the furry foliage. This geranium can be featured in the front of a flower border or it makes an excellent potted plant, too. Like most geraniums, this perennial needs some protection from any extremely cold weather; it will die back in heavy frost. See this plant in the arboretum’s Ruth Risdon Storer Valley-Wise Garden on the UC Davis campus.

▪ For more on 40 Plants, click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

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