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Species Name:  Geranium maculatum

Common Name: Wild Geranium

Zone: 3 to 9

Distribution: Maine to northern Georgia.

Seed collection:Geranium seed matures in mid to late June in western New York. Each flower produces 5 seeds arrayed around the flower stem attached by a slender stalk. As the seed matures the stalk begins to dry. As the stalk drys it begins to bow creating a coiled tension. Eventually the tension releases catapulting the seed several feet away from the plant. Monitor the seed closelyat this stage and collect the seed heads as they change from green to brown or as the first seeds are dispersed. Seed ripens over a two to three week period so there is pl;enty of opportunity to collect seed.

Seed handling: Seed can be stored dry for a couple of weeks but should be kept in moist potting soil for long term storage.  Seed requires 2 to 3 months of cold/moist stratification prior to germination.

Germination requirements: Seed will germinate after 2 to 3 months cold/moist stratification. Sow immediately outdoors in natural soils or stratify for spring planting. Most seed will germinate reliably the first spring after cold/moist treatment.  Seedlings will flower the second or third year after sowing.

Ecology: Wild Geranium grows in full sun to moderate woodland shade.  It grows in moist to moderately dry well-drained acidic soils. Geranium readily self sows and can form large patches.  It tends to be more abundant in dryer soils, often in association with oaks and hickories. It is an easy plant to grow and naturalize in most woodlands.  Only the native species should be established in the wild, there are related non-native species used in gardening.  Be sure of the provenance before planting or collecting seed. It has been listed in some sources as a deer resistant plant but it has also been observed to be brosed by deer.

Wild geranium seed ready for collection, note five seeds around flower stem.

Collect seed as the stalks begin to arch but before the seed is ejected.


this page updated March 20, 2010