About Wild Geranium: This spring blooming wildflower also has the name “cranesbill,” because of the unique beak-like structure of the seed pods; the name “geranium” comes from the Greek word for “crane.” The species name “maculatum” means “spotted,” referring to the mottled appearance of the petals. Native Americans and early settlers extracted abundant natural tannin from of the rhizomes of this plant, using it for tanning hides. The plant also had extensive herbal and medicinal uses.
Wild Geranium Germination: Direct sow in late fall, planting just below the surface. For spring planting, mix the seed with moist sand and store it in the refrigerator for 60 days; sow seeds in a flat or individual peat pots, keeping the soil lightly moist and at a temperature of 70 degrees F until germination. When the weather has warmed and the seedlings are well established, transplant outdoors to 18-24" apart.
Growing Wild Geranium Seeds: Keep the plants moist as they develop and bloom; they will naturally go dormant after blooming, but dry soil may cause premature dormancy. When grown from seed, the plants will bloom in their second or third season. Mature plants can easily be divided for new growth. Though these plants easily self-seed, volunteer plants can easily be removed or transplanted. Wild geraniums attract butterflies and bees.
Harvesting Wild Geranium: These delicate blossoms do not last long as cut flowers, and are best enjoyed in the garden.
Saving Wild Geranium Seeds: After the flowers fade, distinctive beak-like seed pods will form. As they ripen, they will split into five parts and explosively release their seed. In order to gather the seed, the pods must be removed as soon as they begin to turn brown and before they split. Spread the pods out to dry, covering them to contain the seeds as the pods split open. Separate the seed from the pods and store the cleaned seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Wild Geranium Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Spotted Cranesbill, Spotted Geranium, Wood Geranium, Crowfoot, Alum Root, Old Maid's Nightcap Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Spring Height: 12-18 inches Spacing: 12-15 inches Light: Full Sun to Woodland Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 3a-8b Seeds Per Oz: 4,900 Produces a plant with deeply divided, toothed 6" leaves and five-petaled 1-1/2" pale pink or lavender flowers.