Perennial Plant of the Year 2015

Geranium × cantabrigiense 'Biokovo' - Biokovo Cranesbill Geranium


Biokovo Cranesbill GeraniumEvery year the Perennial Plant Association sends each member a ballot to select a Perennial Plant of The Year. These plants tend not to be new introductions to the garden world, but plants that have been tested and thus proven worthy for nomination. They need to be suitable for a wide range of climatic zones. The plant chosen must be low maintenance, relatively pest free, and disease resistant. It must have multiple seasons of ornamental interest and be readily available for the year of promotion. After the selection the plant is promoted all across Canada and continental U.S.A.

“And who is the Perennial Plant Association,” you might ask? Mostly, it is a large group of greenhouse growers, retailers, landscapers, horticultural teachers, and “plant geeks” that work in our huge industry. The membership is large, and people join from all around the world and meet once a year at an annual convention. Here, we listen to speakers, tour greenhouses and nurseries, have a trade show, and in general find out what the others in the industry are up to.

Biokovo Cranesbill GeraniumIt began in 1990, when the first Plant of the Year was Phlox stolonifera. Next was Heuchera micrantha “Palace Purple” and from that time on each year another perennial was picked and promoted. Northwind Switch Grass was chosen for the 2014 season.

Biokovo Geranium gets its unusual name from the mountains in Biokovo Croatia, where it was originally found. It forms mats of glossy, evergreen foliage which turns brilliant red in autumn. During early and mid-summer it produces masses of 5-petaled white flowers which are tinged with pink at the base of each petal, making the overall effect of a very pale pink geranium. Its low height makes it perfect for the front of the border or rock garden

Biokovo Cranesbill GeraniumA few things set this Cranesbill Geranium apart from all the others that are now available to gardeners. The most outstanding quality is the durability of this mounding plant; rain, wind, snow, hail anything Alberta weather can offer and it bounces right back. The highly aromatic lobed leaves make this geranium a Vale's Greenhouse favourite. Drought tolerant, and great in the xeriscaped garden, or planted in the shady corner, this plant is especially useful in any garden setting. The longer than average bloom time also makes Biokovo stand out in the garden Flowers first appear in Mid June and continue on well past the first frost when everything else is finished. The Perennial Plant Association have really picked a good choice for 2015!

The Genus name Geranium and the family name Geraniaceae is derived from the Greek word "Geranos" which mean "Crane" from the seed capsule's resemblance to a beak of the bird. Division and propagation of this plant should happen in the spring, only once the plant is established in the garden. Using a sharp shovel and a quick cut the plant can easily be broken up for transplanting. Ideally this plant is planted in the front of the border as a low groundcover or edging plant. Also worth considering planting it as a summer annual in containers and window boxes.