Thursday, August 8, 2013

My favorite plant this week: Geranium 'Tiny Monster'

I'm joining Loree of danger garden in showing my favorite plant in my garden this week, Geranium 'Tiny Monster'.  Although we've had a stretch of uncommonly cool, comfortable weather, a lot of my plants are nonetheless looking faded at this point in the summer.  Some are downright sad.  And the Agapanthus and Leucanthemum x superbum that dominated several beds in early summer are, for the most part, gone.  However, 'Tiny Monster', which I moved to the new bed created after the removal of the 60 foot Eucalyptus tree in our side yard (previously discussed here) in February has been blooming non-stop since March.

I bought this particular plant at the South Coast Garden Show in 2012.  At the time, the vendor asked me if I was sure I knew what I was doing putting it into my garden, implying that it deserved its name.  It's said to have a mounding habit, growing 6-12 inches tall with a spread up to 2 feet, which doesn't seem too monster-ish to me.  In fact, I could use a few more monsters of this type - feel free to offer suggestions.

The flowers, described as pink on some growers' sites, read as mauve/violet to me.  However you describe it, the color echoes that of the flower spike on the nearby Acanthus.  The latter plant was  sold to me as Acanthus mollis but I think it's probably Acanthus spinosus or possibly Acanthus mollis 'Summer Beauty', said to be a hybrid of A. mollis and A. spinosus.

G. 'Tiny Monster' is itself a hybrid of Geranium sanguineum and Geranium psilostemon.  It flourishes in sun to part sun.  Although most sites say it's suited to zones 4-8, the Proven Winners webpage says it will grow in zones 6a-10b.  I'm in zone 10b and it's doing fine here.  It's also considered to be attractive to butterflies and unattractive to deer and rabbits, although I can't personally attest to the veracity of either claim.  The raccoons have ignored it, which is a blessing.

Please go to the danger garden webpage to see other gardeners' favorite plant selections for this week in August.


  1. I gotta be honest and say geraniums have never been a plant I'm drawn to, I do however love the name and it certainly seems to be doing what you ask of it in your garden, in August no less! Nice fav!

    I have to ask about the big green leaves to the right of the acanthus in the last photo, what are they?

    1. That's Arthropodium cirratum (aka Renga Lily). I have several (actually 10 by my current count!) in different locations - they seem to handle whatever conditions I throw at them. They're a little sun-bleached at the moment but should green up when the weather cools and the sun is less intense. They produce an interesting spray of flowers in the spring. I got mine from Annie's via mail order.

  2. I am, as you know, a big fan of hardy geraniums; and this one looks like a winner. I have a couple of varieties of G. sanguineum in my garden, but they have grown sparsely rather than forming big mounds. Last year I added my first G. psilostemon hybrid, 'Patricia,' and I have been thrilled with its performance. Although it is just in its first summer in the garden and doesn't have much foliage yet, it has been blooming non-stop since early June. Thanks, by the way, for the link to the fabulous Geranium nursery. -Jean