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Plantgasm - I love plants too much. By Derek Powazek.

A Plant I Love: Gigantic Geranium maderense

Since my last post showed my back yard in the beginning of a project, I thought it would be nice to show off a greener spot this time.


That big, round bush is Geranium maderense. (Yes, really, it’s a Geranium, though it looks nothing like the usual suspects.) I snapped the inset photo back in November 2010 after I purchased it from a SF Botanical Garden sale. Today, it’s almost as tall as the Norfolk Island Pine beside it.

Geranium maderense is a biannual, which means it takes two years to complete its growth cycle, which means it should explode into tons of pink blooms in a few months. It’s also monocarpic, which means that when it does, that will signal the end of its life. Hopefully I’ll get to collect seeds and start the process over. For now, I’m loving its spiky leaves, red stems, and perfect half-circle shape.

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4 Responses

I love how it lays its leaves on the ground to buttress itself up! The inflorescence is gonna be spectacular! Please get pix of the flowers under full moonlight! Sparkly hairs on the stems make it light up like a glitter ball…

Posted by boZannical Zann on 15 February 2012 @ 9am

We have the white form in our garden – looks a bit sad at the moment (too cold I think) but hanging on. I assume it will flower this spring (seems to be putting on lots of axillary buds).

The interesting thing about this group of Geranium species is that the old leaves wither but the leaf stems recurve and become props for the enlarging plant! Had a friend who routinely cut off each leaf at the base, resulting is a completely floppy specimen that finally detached itself from its root. Not, whenever i grow these, I make sure the old leaf stems are finding their way towards their secondary supporting role.

Posted by hortulus on 15 February 2012 @ 11am

Sean: Thanks for the tip! I’ve left the old leaves in place mostly out of laziness. Now I can say I did it on purpose!

Posted by Derek on 15 February 2012 @ 12pm

Zann: Woo! I didn’t know that. I’ll be sure to take lots of photos. Thanks!

Posted by Derek on 15 February 2012 @ 12pm


Plantgasm is where Derek Powazek chronicles his botanical antics and misadventures. More.