How to Grow Geum

Geum chiloense
Geum chiloense

Geum is a perennial grown for its brightly colored globular or cup-shaped flowers in shades of white, yellow, red, and orange. They are a vibrant addition to the front of an herbaceous border or large rock garden.

Geum blooms throughout the summer. Flowers can be single, semi-double, or double. Blooms appear above handsome foliage, leaves divided into many leaflets.

Geum is evergreen except in the coldest winters. Geums are sometimes called avens. Geum is a member of the rose family.

Water avens, Geum rivale
Water avens, Geum rivale

Get to Know Geum

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 4 to 8
  • Hardiness: Hardy except in the coldest winters
  • Height and width: 6 to 24 inches (15-61cm) tall and wide depending on the variety
  • Foliage: Informal rosettes of softly hairy, strap-shaped leaves that are divided to their midribs
  • Flowers: Small saucer- to bowl-shaped flowers commonly with five petals; flowers are carried singly or in small clusters.
  • Flower colors: Shades of orange, red, yellow, cream, and pink
  • Bloom time: Late spring to early summer
  • Uses: Borders, cut flowers
  • Common name: Geum, avens
  • Botanical name: Geum
  • Family name: Rosaceae
  • Origin: Temperare regions of Europe, Asia, New Zealand, North and South America

Where to Plant Geum

  • Plant Geum in full sun or part shade; afternoon shade is best where summers are hot.
  • Grow Geum in average to rich, evenly moist, well-drained soil.
  • Geum rivale prefers moist or even boggy soil.
  • Geum prefers a soil pH of 5.5 to 7.0.

When to Plant Geum

  • Sow seed indoors or in a cold frame in late winter or early spring for transplanting into the garden in mid to late spring.
  • Sow seed outdoors in evenly prepared soil after the last frost in spring.
  • Set container-grown plants in the garden after the last frost in spring.

Geum Uses and Companions

  • Grow smaller Geums in a rock garden; grow larger varieties at the front of borders.
  • Geum has an airy, see-through nature; they can be planted at the front of borders.
  • Geum combines well with blue and purple flowers.
  • Good garden companions for Geum include Alchemilla, Campanula, Hemerocallis, Hosta, Iris.
Orange avens flower, Geum coccineum
Orange avens flower, Geum coccineum

Planting and Spacing Geum

  • Sow seed 1/8 to ¼ inch deep. Indoors sow seeds in six-pack or flats filled with sterile seed-starting mix or potting soil.
  • Space plants in the garden 6 to 24 inches (15-61cm) tall and wide depending on the variety.

How to Water and Feed Geum

  • Keep the soil evenly moist; water Geum in dry weather.
  • Lightly fertilize Geum in spring with an all-purpose fertilizer.

Geum Care

  • Deadhead spent blossoms to extend the bloom season.

Geum Pests and Diseases

  • Geum is usually trouble free.

Geum Propagation

  • Propagate by division in spring or fall. Divide plants every 2 to 3 years to keep them vigorous.
  • Sow seed in a cold frame in winter; transplant out in mid to late spring.
  • Geum seeds will germinate in 21 to 30 days at 68°F (20°C).
  • Seed-grown plants are not identical to asexually propagated ones.
Geum triflorum
Geum triflorum

Geum Varieties to Grow

  • Geum chiloense, geum, avens: Bright, single scarlet flowers up to 2 inches (5cm) across; clump-forming plant to 24 to 30 inches tall. There are several cultivars with yellow or orange flowers.
  • G. coccineum, geum, avens: Bright red, saucer-shaped, single flowers; the clump-forming plant grows to 24 inches (61cm) tall.
  • G. montanum: Grows 4 to 8 inches (10-20cm) tall with one to three bright yellow flowers.
  • G. rivale: water avens, Indian chocolate: Bears pendent, bell-shaped purple-pink and red-brown flowers; the plant grows 12 to 24 inches (30-61cm) tall.
  • G. triflorum: prairie smoke, purple avens: Creeping plant grows to 18 inches (45cm) tall with ferny gray-green leaves; bears flowers with creamy petals and long purple bracts followed by plumy silver seedpods.


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