Rachel is a passionate plantsperson, YouTuber and author living in Ireland. She grows a wide range of hardy subtropical and tropical plants.
The Hidden "Geum" of Any Garden
Geums are one of my favorite garden flowers. I love them because of their glorious colors, because they're such easy plants and because they can flower for such a very, very long time (with the right technique!).
Geums, also known as avens, come in shades of white, rich scarlet, yellow and soft orange, and their flowers can be single, semi-double or double. Plants make compact clumps and have semi-evergreen, slug-resistant and weed-suppressing foliage. They also tolerate temperatures as low as -4˚F (-20˚C). What's not to love?
Tips for Growing Gorgeous Geums
- Prune in spring. Evergreen foliage always sounds like such a good idea, but usually by spring it's looking pretty tatty. So the best thing to do is to cut it to the ground. The plant will quickly produce new, fresh-looking foliage.
- Provide appropriate soil. Grow geums in moist but well-drained soil. They do best if you incorporate lots of compost or organic matter with them to trap moisture in.
- Choose the right location. The most popular cultivars, like 'Mrs. J. Bradshaw', 'Lady Stratheden', 'Totally Tangerine' and 'Blazing Sunset' prefer full sun. Woodland geums, the ones with the nodding heads, prefer part shade. (For regions with hot and humid climates, it would be best to provide afternoon shade.)
- Divide geums every three years. Divide geums every three years in spring or early autumn for best results.
How to Deadhead Geums to Extend Flowering
Geums tend to peak in late spring and early summer, and then their flowering declines. However, I want to share with you a little deadheading tip to help you get the most flowers out of your plants.
Some varieties like 'Totally Tangerine' are sterile, so they'll keep producing flowers regardless of deadheading. But for the others, they just want to set seed, and deadheading will stop the plant producing seed. Here's what to do.
Look Closely for New Buds
Once a geum flower fades, look closely at the flower spike it's on. The temptation is to cut that spike to the base. But if you look closely, you'll probably find other tiny flower buds swelling in the stem axils. These will produce more flowers. So you certainly don't want to cut them off.
Cut Stem Above Highest New Bud
Follow the spent flower stem down to the highest new bud and nip it out just above the bud. You can use your nail or scissors (the thin stems are often too flimsy for secateurs).
Repeat Throughout the Flowering Season
Repeat this task regularly, removing spent flowers and allowing new buds to flourish. When a flower stem is completely finished producing blooms, it'll often yellow, and then you can cut it to the base.
So if you follow these few simple steps, you can enjoy geum flowers in your garden for months instead of weeks. And I'm sure you'll love them just as much as I do. Happy growing.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Rachel Darlington