Geranium sanguineum 'Spinners'



Common name/s ?

Cranesbill 'Spinners'

Skill rating



Asia and Southern Europe.

Type of plant ?

Deciduous, herbaceous perennial.

Hardiness zone ?

RHS zone


EGF zone


USDA zone


Eventual size

To 90cm height by 60cm spread.

Growth rate ?

Moderate, will reach full size in 2 to 5 years.

Shape it grows into

Forms clumps of foliage from which flowers grow on short stems.

Season/s of interest

Flowers from late spring until the end of summer.

Where to grow it

Happy in full sun or part shade.
Prefers well drained to moist soil.

Happy in all soil types and any pH soil. Will tolerate most conditions so long as the soil isn’t waterlogged. Can be used for exposed and coastal sites.

Geranium 'Spinners'


Clumps of attractively divided, dark green leaves appear from spring. These are followed by bowl-shaped, pretty, purple-blue flowers which last from late spring well into the summer.

What to use it for

A typical cottage garden plant, geraniums make excellent ground cover or underplanting, and are attractive at the front of beds and borders. Their southern origins make them a fine choice for Mediterranean style gardens. The flowers would provide a good source of nectar for bees and butterflies in a wildlife garden. This plant would also be an appropriate choice for larger rock/alpine gardens or containers.

How to look after it

Divide every 3 to 4 years to maintain the plant’s vigour.

How to prune it

Regularly prune out spent flower stems and tatty, old leaves. This will encourage the plant to grow fresh foliage and flowers.

How to propagate it

Division is the simplest way to propagate this plant and it may be carried out in late summer, autumn or early spring. Single bud divisions are possible. Resulting plants should flower the same year.

Seeds can be sown at 15°C when ripe or in early spring. They should germinate within 14 days and flower the following year. Seeds should be collected when the seedhead is brown (which indicates the seeds are ripe) but before it ‘bursts’ open. Cultivars may not grow from seed and, if they do, they are unlikely to be true to type.

Basal stem cuttings can be taken in spring or late summer (when growth has ceased). Root the cuttings at 15°C, they should flower the following year.

Root cuttings may be taken in autumn. Each section of root should be 2.5cm long and laid on top of a tray of compost then covered with a very fine layer of sieved compost. Place the root cuttings in a cold frame and transplant them into the garden in the spring.

Geraniums also hybridise easily.

Common problems

Susceptibe to downy mildews and geranium rust. Vine weevils, capsid bugs and sawflies may be a problem.

Other useful information

The name ‘geranium’ is often, incorrectly, used to refer to pelargonium plants. The name originates from the Latin for ‘little crane’, similar to the common name ‘Cranesbill’. The seed pod of the plant is said to resemble the bill of a crane.