Mourning Widow Geranium phaeum 'Springtime' (PBR)

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
dusky cranesbill 'Springtime'


The Geranium phaeum 'Springtime' is known by the common name dusky cranesbill. It showcases a distinctive aesthetic with its lush foliage and striking flowers. The leaves are deeply lobed and often have a rich, dark green color that can sometimes appear to be almost chocolate or maroon-tinted. During the blooming season, dusky cranesbill produces abundant charming flowers. These blossoms are typically off-white to light pink in hue, distinguished by their contrasting purple or dark maroon markings on the petals that resemble small, stenciled designs. The petals are rounded with a slight notch at the outer edge, which gives them a somewhat ruffled appearance. The flowers cluster in loose umbels, which hover and nod above the foliage on slender stems, creating a delicate and romantic display. Additionally, the plant may have a spreading habit, with the foliage forming a dense mound that can serve as an attractive ground cover when not in bloom. Its overall appearance carries an air of old-fashioned elegance that can add depth and character to garden settings.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Dusky Cranesbill, Mourning Widow

    • Common names

      Geranium phaeum 'Springtime' (PBR).

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Dusky cranesbill, the common name for Geranium phaeum 'Springtime' (PBR), is generally considered non-toxic to humans. There are no well-documented cases of poisoning from ingesting any part of this plant. However, it is always a good practice to avoid eating ornamental plants as a precaution.

    • To pets

      Dusky cranesbill, which is the common name for Geranium phaeum 'Springtime' (PBR), is not known to be toxic to pets. Ingesting the plant should not cause poisoning or adverse health effects in pets such as dogs and cats. However, it's still advisable to prevent pets from consuming plants that are not intended for their consumption.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2 feet [60 cm]

    • Spread

      2 feet [60 cm]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attractive Foliage: Geranium phaeum 'Springtime' has foliage that offers aesthetic appeal throughout the growing season.
    • Spring Blooms: It produces attractive blooms in the spring, adding color and beauty to garden spaces.
    • Easy Care: This variety is known for being low maintenance, requiring minimal care once established.
    • Shade Tolerance: It can thrive in shaded areas where many other colorful plants may struggle, making it ideal for woodland gardens or shady borders.
    • Drought Resistance: Once established, it has good drought resistance, making it suitable for gardens with less frequent watering.
    • Wildlife Attraction: The flowers can attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, enhancing the biodiversity of the garden space.
    • Long Blooming Period: It has a long flowering period which ensures that the garden remains vibrant for a substantial part of the growing season.
    • Deer Resistance: This plant is known to be resistant to deer, which is especially beneficial in rural gardens where deer browsing can be a problem.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Geranium phaeum 'Springtime' is used as a natural dye for fabrics, providing a range of colors from soft greens to earthy browns depending on the mordant used.
    • In garden design, this plant can serve as an attractive foliage backdrop for spring bulbs, enhancing the visual display as bulbs fade out.
    • The leaves of Geranium phaeum 'Springtime' can be used in potpourri mixes for a mild fragrance and added texture.
    • This geranium variety is ideal for companion planting with roses to help mask the bare soil beneath and contrast with the rose's formality.
    • It can be used in wildlife gardens as it is particularly attractive to bees and other beneficial insects.
    • Some artists use the crushed petals of Geranium phaeum 'Springtime' to create natural inks for drawing and painting.
    • This plant's sturdy stems can be incorporated into homemade wreaths and other decorative floral arrangements.
    • Its unique dark purplish flowers can serve as inspiration for color schemes in interior design or fashion.
    • The dense growth habit of Geranium phaeum 'Springtime' makes it useful for minor erosion control on gentle slopes.
    • As a teaching tool in schools, Geranium phaeum 'Springtime' can be used to demonstrate plant growth and development in biology classes.

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

    • Unexpected Meeting: Geranium phaeum, commonly known as dusky cranesbill or mourning widow, often symbolizes an unexpected encounter or surprise. 'Springtime' evokes the sense of newness and the anticipation of what's yet to come.
    • True Friendship: Geraniums in general are associated with true friendship, reflecting stability, strong bonds, and deep emotional connections.
    • Stalwartness: The sturdy nature of Geranium phaeum 'Springtime' is indicative of stalwartness, suggesting a reliable, tough and resilient character.
    • Peacefulness: The soft, subdued shades of the flowers convey a sense of calm and peace, often used to represent harmonious relationships and tranquility.
    • Consolation or Comfort: The common name "mourning widow" implies a link to solace in times of sorrow, offering consolation in periods of grief or loss.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Early spring
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Dusky Cranesbill should be watered regularly, ensuring that the soil remains moist but not waterlogged. During active growth in the spring and summer, watering might be necessary once or twice a week, depending on climate conditions. Each watering session should provide enough water to soak the soil thoroughly. As a general rule, aim for about one gallon of water per square foot every week during peak growth periods. It's essential to reduce watering frequency during the dormant winter months, supplying just enough water to prevent the soil from completely drying out.

  • sunLight

    Dusky Cranesbill thrives in partial shade to full sun. The ideal location would provide morning sunlight with protection from intense afternoon rays or dappled shade throughout the day. Avoid deep shade, as this can result in leggy growth and fewer blooms.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Dusky Cranesbill is tolerant of a wide range of temperatures but grows best when daytime temperatures are between 65°F and 75°F. It can survive minimum temperatures down to 30°F, however, it is crucial to protect it from frost. Ideal growth conditions are achieved within the aforementioned temperature range without significant fluctuations.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Dusky Cranesbill to remove any dead or damaged foliage and to encourage bushier growth. Deadheading spent flowers regularly can promote further blooming. The best time to carry out substantial pruning is in early spring or after the plant has finished flowering, usually around late summer to early fall. Annual or biennial pruning is typically sufficient.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Dusky Cranesbill, commonly known as Geranium phaeum 'Springtime', thrives best in well-draining, fertile soil with a pH range of 5.8 to 6.5. The ideal soil mix should consist of garden soil, compost, and peat or leaf mold to retain moisture while providing good aeration. Incorporating perlite or vermiculite can further enhance drainage, key for this plant's health.

  • plantRepotting

    Dusky Cranesbill should be repotted every 2-3 years to prevent it from becoming root-bound and to replenish its nutrients. When repotting, choose a container that is slightly larger than the previous one to allow for growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Dusky Cranesbill prefers an environment with moderate humidity levels. While it adapts to the average household humidity, it flourishes when there's a bit more moisture in the air, avoiding extremes of too dry or too damp conditions.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Dusky Cranesbill in bright, indirect light and ensure good air circulation.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Dusky Cranesbill in partial shade and moist, well-drained soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Geranium phaeum 'Springtime', commonly known as dusky cranesbill, begins its life cycle when seeds germinate in spring, given moist soil conditions and a suitable temperature range. The seedlings emerge and develop into rosettes of lobed, dark green leaves, with the young plants focusing on establishing a strong root system. As they mature, the plants form bushy clumps and in late spring to early summer, they produce distinctive dusky purple flowers with prominent, dark veins and a white center, attracting pollinators to assist in reproduction. After flowering, seeds develop and are dispersed by wind or wildlife, allowing for colonization of new areas. Perennial in nature, the dusky cranesbill dies back to the ground in autumn after the foliage turns reddish brown, to overwinter as a dormant rootstock. Each spring, the cycle begins anew as the plant regrows from the rootstock, continuing this cycle for many years.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Early spring

    • The Geranium phaeum 'Springtime', commonly known as Dusky Cranesbill, can be propagated through division, which is the most popular method for this perennial plant. The best time to propagate through division is either in the spring or the fall. During this process, the gardener should carefully lift the plant out of the ground using a garden fork, ensuring as little damage as possible to the root system. Once lifted, the plant's root ball should be divided into sections, each with several shoots and a healthy portion of roots. These sections can then be replanted at the same depth they were growing at originally, and spaced approximately 12 inches (about 30 centimeters) apart to allow sufficient room for growth. After replanting, the divisions should be watered thoroughly to help establish them in their new locations.