Each year the Perennial Plant Association (PPA), a trade group that works to educate gardeners on great performing perennial plants, selects their Perennial Plant of the Year© . In 2008 the honor goes to a Geranium 'Rozanne'.
The PPA has a standard set of judging criteria for choosing their Plant of the Year:
- Suitable for a wide range of climatic conditions
- Low maintenance
- Pest and disease resistant
- Readily available in the year of release
- Multiple season of ornamental interest
- Easily propagated by asexual or seed propagation
As fond as I am of perennial geraniums, not all of them are winners in the flower border. Some spread so quickly they are better used as groundcovers and others, like “Johnson’s Blue” put on a brief show and then turn ugly unless cut back and cared for. In the interest of full disclosure, I tried Geranium 'Rozanne' a couple of years ago. She is a beauty, staying compact and producing flushes of vivid violet-blue flowers. But I did manage to kill her without much effort. I had to move my plant in August and then completely forgot to water her. I can’t really blame the plant for not making it, so I will I’ve her another try.
The features that made Geranium ‘Rozanne’ get noticed were her brilliant violet-blue blossoms and the fact that she repeat blooms throughout the summer, with minimal care. Unlike Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’, which gives a great initial show and then falls over itself unless you trim it back for a sparse second show, ‘Rozanne’ is a true repeat bloomer. You won’t have a full flush of flowers all summer, but she’ll keep plodding along until fall. A shearing in mid-summer will help freshen up the spent foliage and encourage more blooms.
The blossoms are larger than ‘Johnson’s Blue’ too. Averaging about 2 - 2 ½” across, they have violet veining and small white centers, which set off the blue even more. Even the finely cut foliage is attractive and it turns wonderful shades of bronze-red in the fall.
‘Rozanne’ is a clump former, but she will start to spread. In especially rich soil, ‘Rozanne’ can take off running. You can keep her in check by removing side-shoots as they develop or with periodic division. Geranium ‘Rozanne’ is a patented plant, which means that the gardener can't propagate and sell this plant without paying a royalty to the breeder. (U. S. Plant Patent PP12,175 issued October 30, 2001) Geranium ‘Rozanne’ rarely sets seed and being a hybrid, won’t grow true to seed anyway.
As with other perennial geraniums, ‘Rozanne’ is virtually pest free.
- USDA Zones 5 - 8
- Size: 18 - 24" H, 20 - 24" W
- Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade. Good heat tolerance.
- Prefers a well-drained organic soil, but does not like to remain dry.