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Geranium 'Rozanne' has been named 2008 Perennial Plant of the Year©

A Hardy, Repeat Blooming Blue Geranium

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The violet-blue blossoms can go spring to frost.

The violet-blue blossoms can go spring to frost.

Photo: © Blooms of Bressingham. Used with Permission. Geraniums make great container plants.

Geraniums make great container plants.

Photo: © Blooms of Bressingham. Used with Permission. In good conditions, 'Rozanne' can spread freely.

In good conditions, 'Rozanne' can spread freely.

Photo: © Blooms of Bressingham. Used with Permission.

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. I somehow managed to kill my first plant, but I have since planted several more and they are growing well beyond expectations.


Description

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.

Growing Requirements

  • 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.


Design Suggestions

Geraniums make great edgers and are wonderful for use under leggy plants, like roses. A free-flowering clump former, like ‘Rozanne’ is especially nice at the base of an entry gate or on the corner of a garden border. ‘Rozanne’s’ heat tolerance also makes her a good choice for rock gardens and containers or window boxes. The brilliant blue is all the more electric when paired with yellow flowers like coreopsis, black-eyed Susan and goldenrod.
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