Bigroot Geranium Geranium macrorrhizum 'Spessart'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
big-root cranesbill 'Spessart'


The Geranium macrorrhizum 'Spessart', commonly known as the bigroot geranium or cranesbill, is a perennial plant that is widely appreciated for its ornamental qualities and ground-covering abilities. This variety, distinguished by the name 'Spessart', has an attractive foliage that changes with the seasons. The leaves are deeply lobed, often palmately shaped, and display a soft green hue. As the weather turns cooler, the foliage takes on shades of reddish-bronze, adding warm autumnal tones to the landscape. Flowering in late spring to early summer, 'Spessart' boasts delicate blooms with a particular charm. The flowers are typically pale pink to near-white, with fine, darker pink veining creating a subtle contrast upon the petals. These blooms are noted for their rounded shape and slightly cupped appearance, forming loose clusters above the foliage which enhance the plant's decorative effect. The bigroot geranium 'Spessart' also features a distinctive fragrance, both in its leaves and flowers, which is fresh and aromatic, contributing an additional sensory dimension to gardens and landscapes where it is planted. Its overall appearance is lush and mat-forming, creating a visually cohesive ground cover that can be used to suppress weeds and provide a continuous swath of color and texture.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Bigroot Geranium, Rock Crane's-bill, Balkan Cranesbill, Spessart Cranesbill.

    • Common names

      Geranium macrorrhizum 'Spessart'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Cranesbill, also known by its botanical name Geranium macrorrhizum 'Spessart', is not commonly known to be toxic to humans. In general, members of the Geranium genus are considered non-toxic, and there are no significant reports of poisoning after ingesting parts of this plant. However, as with any non-food plant, it is advisable to avoid ingestion as it may cause mild gastrointestinal discomfort or an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals.

    • To pets

      Cranesbill, the common name for Geranium macrorrhizum 'Spessart', is not considered toxic to pets either. It is often deemed safe when pets come into contact with it, and there are no widespread reports of adverse reactions in animals consuming this plant. Nevertheless, it's always wise to monitor pets and prevent them from eating large amounts of any non-food plants, as they can potentially cause stomach upset or other digestive issues.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Southeast Europe


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Easy to grow: Geranium macrorrhizum 'Spessart', commonly known as Cranesbill, is low maintenance and can thrive in a variety of conditions, making it suitable for many gardeners.
    • Drought tolerant: Once established, it has good drought resistance, reducing the need for frequent watering.
    • Erosion control: Cranesbill has a spreading habit and its roots help stabilize soil, making it useful for controlling erosion on slopes.
    • Attracts pollinators: The flowers attract bees and other beneficial insects, which are vital for pollinating gardens.
    • Ground cover: Its dense growth habit suppresses weeds, minimizing the need for weeding and making it an excellent ground cover choice.
    • Long blooming season: Cranesbill produces flowers for an extended period, often from late spring to early autumn, providing lasting color in the garden.
    • Fragrant foliage: The leaves emit a pleasant scent which can help deter some pests and add a fragrant aroma to the garden.
    • Winter interest: With semi-evergreen foliage, it provides visual interest in the garden even in winter months where other plants may die back.
    • Deer and rabbit resistant: Generally resistant to grazing by deer and rabbits, which helps prevent damage to the plant and the need for protective measures.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Antibacterial: Geranium macrorrhizum has been noted for its antibacterial properties, effective against certain strains of bacteria.
    • Antifungal: The plant possesses antifungal properties, potentially helpful in inhibiting the growth of certain fungi.
    • Astringent: Traditionally, it has been used for its astringent effects which can help to tighten and tone the skin.
    • Anti-inflammatory: Constituents within the plant may offer anti-inflammatory benefits, which can alleviate irritation and inflammation.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Groundcover: Geranium macrorrhizum 'Spessart' is commonly used as an effective groundcover in gardens due to its dense growth habit, which suppresses weeds and covers bare spots.
    • Erosion control: Its robust root system makes it suitable for stabilizing soil and preventing erosion on slopes or in areas prone to soil loss.
    • Companion planting: This plant can be used in companion planting to benefit other plants by repelling certain insect pests through its aromatic foliage.
    • Scented gardens: The leaves of Geranium macrorrhizum 'Spessart' have a strong scent, making them a good choice for sensory gardens or creating a fragrant environment.
    • Bee and butterfly attraction: The flowers provide nectar and pollen for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, enhancing biodiversity in the garden.
    • Dried flower arrangements: With their delicate appearance, the flowers can be dried and used in potpourri or as part of dried flower arrangements.
    • Landscape borders: The plant can be used to create defined borders around garden beds, walkways, or property lines.
    • Culinary garnish: While not a common use, the flowers are edible and can be used as a decorative garnish on desserts and salads.
    • Aromatherapy: The aromatic properties of the leaves can be utilized in homemade aromatherapy products, such as sachets or infused oils.
    • Foliage contrast: Its unique foliage color and texture provide excellent contrast when planted among other perennials, enhancing the visual appeal of garden arrangements.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant Geranium is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant Geranium is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Healing: Geraniums are often associated with healing due to their medicinal properties. Geranium macrorrhizum, in particular, has been used in traditional remedies.
    • Friendship: Giving a geranium as a gift can symbolize a wish for deeper friendship or positive emotions towards someone.
    • Health and Longevity: The robust nature of the Geranium macrorrhizum 'Spessart' can symbolize wishes for good health and long life.
    • Protection: Some cultures believe that geraniums have the power to protect against negative energies, and planting them around homes is said to ward off evil spirits.
    • Peace: The soothing scent and appearance of the Geranium macrorrhizum 'Spessart' can embody tranquility and peace, making it a symbol for calmness in one's life.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Bigroot Geranium should be watered deeply once a week, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. During hot, dry periods increase to twice per week with approximately 1-1.5 gallons of water per plant. Less frequent watering encourages the plant to develop deeper roots, enhancing its drought tolerance. Avoid overhead watering to minimize the risk of leaf diseases. Always check the top inch of soil for moisture before watering to avoid overwatering.

  • sunLight

    Bigroot Geranium thrives in partial shade to full sun. The ideal spot is one that receives morning sunlight and afternoon shade, or dappled sunlight throughout the day. Avoid deep shade as this can lead to leggy growth and fewer flowers.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Bigroot Geranium prefers temperatures ranging from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit but can survive in temperatures as low as 20 degrees and as high as 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They are fairly cold-hardy and can be grown in areas with cooler temperatures without significant damage.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Bigroot Geraniums to remove spent flower heads and encourage a second flush of blooms. Pruning can be done in early spring to shape the plant and remove any dead or damaged foliage. It’s typically recommended to prune lightly after flowering to maintain plant health and appearance.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Bigroot Geranium prefers fertile, well-drained soil enriched with compost or other organic matter. The best soil mix for Geranium macrorrhizum 'Spessart' would be one part garden soil, one part peat or compost, and one part perlite or coarse sand for drainage. Maintain soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0 for optimal growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Bigroot Geraniums typically don't require frequent repotting. Repot the Geranium macrorrhizum 'Spessart' every 3 to 4 years, or if the plant outgrows its current container.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Bigroot Geranium thrives in average humidity conditions and does not require any special humidity adjustments. It's tolerant of the varying humidity levels typically found in outdoor environments.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright light, water when topsoil is dry.

    • Outdoor

      Full sun to part shade, well-drained soil, water moderately.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Geranium macrorrhizum 'Spessart', commonly known as Bigroot Geranium or 'Spessart', begins its life cycle as a seed, typically sown in early spring or propagated through division. The seeds germinate, and seedlings emerge with their first true leaves, establishing a root system and forming a small rosette of foliage. As it enters the vegetative stage, 'Spessart' develops its characteristic lobed, aromatic leaves and becomes a dense, mat-forming perennial. Flowering occurs in late spring to early summer, with the plant producing light pink to almost white blooms that attract pollinators. After pollination, the flowers develop into beaked seed capsules, which, when ripe, can propel seeds away from the parent plant, encouraging dispersal. In fall, foliage often turns to shades of red and brown, and the plant enters dormancy during winter, to resume growth with the return of warmer weather in spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to early summer

    • The most popular method of propagation for the Geranium macrorrhizum 'Spessart', commonly known as the bigroot geranium, is division. This is best done in the spring or autumn when the plant is not in full bloom. To propagate by division, carefully dig up the plant and gently separate the root clumps into smaller pieces, each with a portion of the root system and several shoots. Plant these divisions immediately at the same depth they were growing at before, and water them well to help establish the roots. The divisions should be spaced about 12 to 18 inches (approximately 30 to 46 centimeters) apart to give them room to grow. This straightforward technique is highly effective for expanding your collection of bigroot geraniums or sharing them with fellow gardeners.