Joli Whited

Written by Joli Whited

Modified & Updated: 11 Oct 2023

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Geranium phaeum, commonly known as Dusky Cranesbill, is a fascinating and versatile plant that deserves a closer look. This hardy perennial belongs to the Geraniaceae family and is native to the woodlands of Europe. With its deep, velvety purple flowers and uniquely shaped leaves, Geranium phaeum adds a touch of elegance to any garden or landscape.

But there’s more to Geranium phaeum than meets the eye. In this article, we will explore eight intriguing facts about this captivating plant. From its medicinal uses to its ability to attract beneficial pollinators, Geranium phaeum proves to be a true gem in the plant kingdom. So, let’s dive in and uncover why this plant is worth adding to your garden.

Key Takeaways:

  • Geranium phaeum, or the Mourning Widow, is a beautiful and low-maintenance plant that attracts pollinators and is resistant to deer. It’s perfect for shady gardens and has medicinal properties.
  • With its color-changing flowers and long lifespan, Geranium phaeum is a versatile and elegant addition to any garden or landscape. It’s easy to care for and brings beauty year after year.
Table of Contents

Geranium phaeum, commonly known as the Mourning Widow, is a flowering perennial plant native to Europe.

With its dark purple flowers and unique foliage, Geranium phaeum adds a touch of elegance to any garden or landscape. This hardy plant is known for its ability to thrive in shady areas, making it a popular choice for gardeners seeking to fill those difficult spots.

The flowers of Geranium phaeum have an interesting color-changing ability.

When the flowers first bloom, they typically appear dark purple or maroon. However, as they age, the petals gradually fade to a lighter shade, sometimes even turning almost white. This color-changing characteristic adds intrigue and diversity to the plant’s appearance.

Geranium phaeum attracts pollinators to the garden.

The flowers of Geranium phaeum produce nectar and attract various pollinators such as bees and butterflies. By planting this species in your garden, you can contribute to supporting the local pollinator population and enjoy the lively presence they bring.

Geranium phaeum is known for its medicinal properties.

In traditional herbal medicine, Geranium phaeum has been used for its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. It is believed to help alleviate symptoms of diarrhea and digestive disorders. However, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional before using it for medicinal purposes.

Geranium phaeum is a low-maintenance plant.

Once established, Geranium phaeum requires minimal care. It can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions and is relatively drought-tolerant. This makes it an ideal choice for gardeners looking for a fuss-free and resilient plant.

Geranium phaeum is deer-resistant.

One significant advantage of Geranium phaeum is that it is not a preferred food source for deer. If you live in an area with deer population, planting Geranium phaeum can help protect your garden from being grazed upon by these animals.

Geranium phaeum is a long-lived plant.

When properly cared for, Geranium phaeum can live for many years, bringing its beauty to your garden season after season. Regular pruning and removal of dead foliage can help promote healthier growth and prolong its lifespan.

Geranium phaeum is a versatile plant for landscaping.

Whether used as a ground cover, accent plant, or border plant, Geranium phaeum adds texture, color, and visual interest to any landscape design. Its ability to thrive in shade makes it an excellent choice for underplanting trees or filling in garden beds with less sunlight.


Geranium phaeum, also known as Dusky Cranesbill, is a fascinating plant that offers more than just its aesthetic appeal. From its unique flower coloration to its medicinal properties, this plant is definitely worth exploring. Whether you are a gardening enthusiast or simply interested in expanding your knowledge about plants, Geranium phaeum is a captivating subject.

By incorporating this plant into your garden or learning more about its characteristics, you can enhance your outdoor space and contribute to the preservation of nature. So, don’t hesitate to delve deeper into the world of Geranium phaeum and discover the wonders it has to offer.


Q: How tall does Geranium phaeum grow?

A: Geranium phaeum typically grows up to 24 inches (60 cm) in height.

Q: What is the flower color of Geranium phaeum?

A: Geranium phaeum flowers vary in color, ranging from deep purple and maroon to blackish-purple shades.

Q: Does Geranium phaeum require full sunlight?

A: Geranium phaeum prefers partial shade to full shade, making it an ideal choice for gardens with limited sunlight exposure.

Q: Can Geranium phaeum be grown in containers?

A: Yes, Geranium phaeum can be grown in containers, making it a versatile plant for patios, balconies, and small spaces.

Q: Is Geranium phaeum a perennial plant?

A: Yes, Geranium phaeum is a perennial plant, meaning it will come back year after year with the proper care and maintenance.

Q: Are there any medicinal uses for Geranium phaeum?

A: Yes, Geranium phaeum has medicinal properties and has been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments such as gastrointestinal issues and inflammation.

Q: How do I propagate Geranium phaeum?

A: Geranium phaeum can be easily propagated through division. In early spring or fall, divide the plant at the root level and replant the sections in desired areas.

Q: Is Geranium phaeum attractive to wildlife?

A: Yes, Geranium phaeum flowers attract pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, making it a beneficial plant for wildlife and biodiversity.

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