Dainty border plants, grown for their profusion of late spring flowers and decorative seed heads. A good choice for naturalistic style plantings.
Slow growing and reliable. Although short lived, they can be divided and replanted every three years or so to keep them going.
Family: Rosaceae (Rose)
Botanical Name: Geum
Common Names: Avens
Foliage: Deciduous. Hairy, dark green, pinnate leaves that form a dense basal clump.
Flowers: Loose clusters of saucer-shaped flowers in a wide range of shades from yellow to pink, red and orange. Single, double or semi-double flowers (depending on variety).
Flowering Period: Late spring to early autumn.
Soil: Moist but well-drained soil. Chalk, sand or loam. Acid, alkaline or neutral pH. Avoid waterlogged conditions.
Conditions: Best in full sun. South, east or west facing aspect, in an exposed or sheltered position.
Type: Rhizomatous herbaceous perennial.
Hardiness: H7. Fully hardy throughout the UK.
Most varieties prefer moist conditions and a little shade. Valuable in mixed borders, tolerating a variety of aspects from full to partial shade. Aa suitable plant for the front of herbaceous borders.
Will succeed in most ordinary garden soil. Flowers over a long period. The foliage remains semi evergreen in mild winters
Plant from autumn to spring in any good garden soil. Arrange in groups of three or more in an open, sunny site, such as the front of a sunny border, where they will eventually form dense, ground covering clumps.
Ideal for the rock garden or front of the border. Suitable for town, city, cottage or informal gardens.
Divide mature clumps every three or four years to maintain vigour. The plants spread via underground rhizomes, but are not invasive. Mulch with compost or organic humus in spring to help keep soil moist. Use twigs to provide some support for the stems of taller forms.
Regular deadheading of spent flower stems will encourage most varieties to produce a second flush. Cut back old and damaged leaves in the autumn.
Generally disease free. Susceptible to attack by red spider mite, aphids and sawflies.
Divide mature clumps in spring or autumn or sow seed in pots and place in a cold frame over winter. Geums will also self seed easily.
There are around 50 species of Geums. You will mainly find hybrids rather than the true species plants for sale in garden centres, which are based on the native G. rivale, Chilean G. chiloense and European G. coccineum.
Traditional old varieties such as the scarlet 'Mrs Bradshaw' and the yellow 'Lady Stratheden' have been available for many years and are good reliable, free flowering, plants. However, a plethora of new colourful hybrids have been developed over recent years in a range of flower forms and bright colours.
G. chiloense (Chile). Perennial.
Height 1-2 ft (300-600mm), spread 1.5 ft (450mm). May-September.
'Mrs. Bradshaw' red double flowers.
'Lady Stratheden' yellow double flowers.
G. rivale dense spreading
form with a dome of hairy foliage. The flowering
stems arch over with drooping bell shaped flowers.
G. rivale borisii (Height 10in), bright orange single flowers in May-June.
G. rivale 'Coppertone', with single, coppery pink, flowers.
G. rivale 'Leonard's Variety' with orange-pink nodding flowers. Height and spread 18in (45cm).
G. rivale 'Lumel Cox' has flowers in a light shade of apricot.
G. rivale 'Album' an attractive white form.
G. reptans has long red stolons that spread out from the plant, producing off shoots .
G. 'Herterton Primrose' has nodding primrose flowers (April to July). Height 18in (45cm).
G. 'Totally Tangerine' single-flowers. Height 90cm (36in). Flowers April to September.
G. 'Bell Bank' has large frilled flowers. Height 18in (45cm). Produces attractive fluffy seed heads.
G. triflorum has red flowers followed by attractive smoke like seed heads.
G. 'Cosmopolitan' has ruffled, semi double flowers from early May to July. Height 12in (30cm).
G. 'Marmalade' has distinctive, soft orange flowers. Height 10in (24cm).
G. 'Fire Opal' has orange-red flowers from April to June.
G. 'Rubin' has deep red flowers from April to June.
G. 'Georgenberg' has yellow flowers from April to June.
G. 'Flames of Passion' flame red flowers, reliably all summer long.
G. 'Mai Tai' hardy perennial with frilly double apricot/orange flowers. Height and spread 18in (45cm),
G. 'Dolly North' semi-double orange
flowers on arching stems. Height 24in (60cm), spread
12in (30cm). May-July
G. montanum (S. Europe), alpine ideal for the rock garden. Bowl-shaped golden-yellow blooms in May-July. Height 9in (23cm), spread 12in (30cm).