Purple cranesbill – info, planting, care and tips

Purple cranesbill (Geranium x magnificum)
Purple cranesbill (Geranium x magnificum)

The purple cranesbill really lives up to its name. It even blooms twice a year with these tips for planting and care.

Profile of purple cranesbill:

Scientific name: Geranium x magnificum

Plant family: cranesbill family (Geraniaceae)

Other names: –

Planting time: spring or autumn

Flowering period: June to July

Location: sunny to partially shady

Soil quality: gravelly to loamy, lime-tolerant, nutrient rich, humus rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: flower beds, bouquets, single position, group planting, rose companion, underplanting, borders, flower garden, natural garden, park, rose garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 4 (-32 °C / -25 °F)

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of purple cranesbill

Plant order, origin and occurrence of purple cranesbill

As purple cranesbill (Geranium x magnificum), one calls different hybrids, that originated mainly from cultivations of the Caucasian crane’s-bill (Geranium ibericum) and the glandular crane’s-bill (Geranium platypetalum). Botanically, they belong – like the parent species and all other species of the cranesbill – to the family of the cranesbill family (Geraniaceae). The plant is characterized by its particularly good health, vigor and extremely attractive leaf and flower decorations.

Characteristics of purple cranesbill


The hemispherically appearing magnificent shrub grows 50 to 60 centimeters (20 to 24 in) high and between 30 and 50 centimeters (12 to 20 in) wide. The leaf clusters of the purple cranesbill are basal and stand close together.


The roundish, lobed leaves of the purple cranesbill feel rough to the touch and are finely hairy. Like the entire perennial, they exude an idiosyncratically spicy fragrance. In autumn the leaves take on an appealing yellow-orange to bright red color before they fall off.


The bowl-shaped flowers are the trademark of the purple cranesbill: they show a unique blue-violet color and are interspersed with dark veins of leaves. The main flower of Geranium x magnificum falls on June and July. Depending on the weather, however, the flowers can open as early as May. With proper care there will be a second flowering in late summer/early autumn.


The hybrids are sterile and usually do not produce germinable seeds.

Purple cranesbill – cultivation and care


The purple cranesbill thrives in sunny and partially shady places. With the exception of some varieties, the stems of Geranium x magnificum are not very stable, so it is best to choose a place in the bed that is sheltered from the wind.


The ideal location has nutrient- and humus rich soil with permeable and fresh to moderately moist garden soil. Lime does not cause any problems for the plant.

Planting purple cranesbill

Sufficient planting distance promotes the development and health of the purple cranesbill. Therefore, do not place more than eight plants per square meter and keep a distance of at least 35 centimeters (14 in) from other planting partners.


Geranium x magnificum is wonderfully easy to care for and absolutely frost hardy. The purple cranesbill only needs to be watered in the beginning and during longer dry periods. However, it pays off if you cut the perennial back after it has flowered – this will encourage it to flower a second time between August and October.


In spring, the clumps of the purple cranesbill can be easily divided and used again elsewhere.


For propagation, the magnificent stork bill is simply divided.

Diseases and pests

The plant is so healthy and robust that it has already received many awards. Even snails do not usually pose a threat to the plant.


Purple cranesbill is hardy down to -32 °C / -25 °F.

Use in the garden

The purple cranesbill is very popular among professional and amateur gardeners. The robust perennial can be found in public green areas and parks as well as in private home gardens. Its intensely colored flowers are not only beautiful up close, they also have a good long-distance effect. In perennial beds and borders, Geranium x magnificum is often combined with lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis), peonies (Paeonia), lamb’s-ear (Stachys byzantina) or cushion spurge (Euphorbia polychroma). An almost classical companion is the plant for roses or delphinium. In nature gardens it is appreciated for its natural appearance and as a valuable nectar and pollen supplier for bumblebees and bees. The flowers also last very long in the vase as cut flowers.


The award-winning variety Geranium x magnificum ‘Rosemoor’ has almost achieved fame among gardeners. It grows just as high, but is much more stable than the species. Its main flowering falls in June and July. If it is cut back, ‘Rosemoor’ will reliably flower again in October. The variety ‘Anemoniflorum’ remains somewhat smaller. It has larger flowers than the species and forms compact, dense cushions.

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