What is a Hardy Geranium?

What separates a hardy geranium, such as Geranium Rozanne, from a half-hardy geranium or pelargonium? You might be surprised to know that there is some confusion out there! People sometimes confuse true hardy geraniums with the other members of the Geraniaceae family.

It all started back in the 18th century. Hardy cranesbill and pelargonium, from the same geranium family, look similar and people would call them by the same name. This was way back before the rise of modern media and the internet! Therefore, gardening and horticultural professionals found it hard to correct the masses. So, the case of mistaken identity persisted. Unfortunately, sometimes confusion still exists today. However, the differences between the two types of geranium are distinct.

hardy geranium PinterestWhile they share the name ‘geranium,’ hardy geraniums and pelargoniums are separated by several key characteristics that make the cranesbill very different from the pelargonium, or ‘annual geranium.”

Hardy Geraniums

Geraniums are Perennial

What are the biggest differences between these two garden beauties? A true geranium is a perennial plant while the pelargonium is an annual. Therefore, hardy geraniums return after a dormant winter without needing to be replanted. Meanwhile, pelargoniums die off after their first blooming season and need to be replanted the following year.

Hardy Geraniums Have Symmetrical Petals

Look at a true geranium and pelargonium side by side. Differences between the two are immediately obvious. They both have five petals per flower, but the three bottom petals of the geranium are symmetrical. The upper petals have different shapes and sizes and they are evenly distributed around the center.

As you can see, the true hardy geranium is in a class all her own. Rozanne will perform well as a beautiful ground cover, border option, or container decoration for years and years.

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