Out with old, in with new: Geranium ‘Biokovo’

As someone who has grown bigroot geranium (Geranium macrorhizzum) for many years, I’ve long admired one of its daintier hybrid offspring. While similar in frilled leaf form, Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’ makes tidier mats of foliage, and its flowers poke up their heads without the long, scrawny necks of my bigrooted friend.
Then yesterday as I escaped outdoors for a brief, rainy camera safari, I was arrested by the scene above and below. Wow. That leaf colour sure puts my bigroots to shame.

Coincidentally, I came across an almost identical shot and excellent article at the blog of The Casual Gardener. Scoot over there and have a read. This leads me to think that the colour I spotted is not an isolated incident, and that ‘Karmina’ — as the carminey name suggests — might be a colourful variety to hunt for.
Much as I hate to rip out a plant that is performing reasonably well, it makes total sense to ensure that each square foot of ground is working its darnedest for effect. In fact, in my shady, dry, sandy garden, G. macrorhizzum reliably makes tons of leaves, but flowers only sparingly. Perhaps G. ‘Biokovo’ would do (or not do) the same. Yet who would care, with this paintbox of foliage to wrap up the season!
Anyone need some hardworking bigroots as ground cover for an impossible spot? Come knocking.


  1. Helen, G. 'Biokovo is a hybrid of G. macrorrhizum and G. dalmaticum. All great plants in the right spot. I will be dividing my dalmaticum this Spring if you'd like some.

  2. It's a beautiful geranium~~Helen, I have trouble ripping plants out. I need someone walking next to me in the garden and gently prodding me to edit! I know the garden could look and perform so much better. gail

  3. Barry, you are generous to a fault. I'd love some, if you're in dividing mode. Thank you.

    VW, These mat-forming geraniums are great to tuck somewhere near the front of a border. I'm sure you can squeeze one in somehow.

    Gail, Would that I were within prodding distance… you could prod back. Sarah and I are both softies when it comes to transplant leniency. But I am resolving to be more resolved in 2010!

  4. That is a beautiful geranium. I have some of the macrorrhizums, they are great for keeping weeds down while my shrubs are establishing themselves. But, not great fall colour, although I do get more flowers than you. I might be knocking!

  5. I would love to have some geraniums actually do somehting. I keep getting sucked in by claims of being able to grow anywhere, long bloom time, shade, etc. but all I can do is basically keep them alive. Not thriving, but alive. 🙁 I'd love to have that great foliage – even with no flowers! My geraniums are a little disappointing.

  6. I've grown 'Biokovo' in my sandy Maine garden in both part shade and full sun and in my Gettysburg PA garden in clay soil and full sun. In all of these conditions, it has thrived and bloomed profusely. -Jean

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