One of the most brilliant things about geraniums is how they will generally grow anywhere. There are of course always a few exceptions and some will have more particular requirements.
In this blog we’re going to look at geraniums suitable for areas of dry shade. Firstly we need to understand what is meant by the term dry shade. These sorts of areas are similar to that of a woodland floor where established trees are the strongest competitors for water, nutrients and light, casting shade down over the plants growing below them. These can be difficult situations for plants to grow in but some will and do quite successfully.
Next is to consider how deep the shade being cast is. If you are considering planting underneath evergreen trees where the canopy is dense and in full leaf all year long then I would not advise it. While your plants may grow, they will not thrive and it is unlikely they will give you the floral display you desire.
If the shade is cast from deciduous trees it is more likely to be a lighter, dappled shade that many geraniums thrive in and benefit from. So, providing the soil where you wish to plant is not parched then you have quite the selection of geraniums to choose from.
The first group of species I would recommend would be the species that have actually come from woodland areas such as sylvaticum, maculatum and nodosum. They are largely spring flowering though with a little extra care, such as dead heading, watering and feeding they could continue to flower on and off throughout the growing season.
You can also consider something low growing that will create excellent ground cover such as the macrorrhizum or x cantabrigiense species. These species are also spring flowering but the foliage is attractive in the autumn and when brushed is quite fragrant by hardy geranium standards.
If you’re looking for something with a longer flowering season then you should definitely consider either the x oxonianum or sanguineum species and for something to give you colour until the first frosts you could do worse than a wlassovianum or wlassovianum hybrid.