Geranium x magnificum, the Purple Cranesbill, is a member of the Geraniaceae family that’s looking great at the moment in the borders along the West Walk in the Parks. A clump-forming perennial which can grow to 70cm tall and about the same wide, it has interesting hairy leaves and flowers prolifically in early summer with deeply-veined rich violet flowers up to 5cm across. Although it produces lots of blooms, the flowering season is quite short.
The Purple Cranesbill likes a moderately fertile, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. It’s an ideal plant for under-planting or for creating a drift of colour in the border. It doesn’t need much maintenance, but it’s a good idea to cut the foliage out as it dies back after flowering. It can be affected by vine weevil and slugs and snails. Occasionally it can have lax growth, with a tendency to grow sideways rather than up, and in this situation it needs staking. The plant is easy to propagate by division in autumn or spring. For more information see the RHS website.