Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo,’ a tough, blushing-pink geranium, native to Croatia and a naturally occurring hybrid of G. dalmaticum and G. macrorrhizum, is the Perennial Plant Association’s top pick for 2015 Perennial of the Year.
Perennial plants chosen for this honor must grow in a large area of the country, have multi-season interest, show good pest and disease resistance and be easy to maintain. ‘Biokovo’ fits all these criteria. It is hardy in Zones 5 to 8, and spreads through shallow, underground runners, which makes plants easy to divide and control. It typically grows anywhere from 6- to 10-inches high, so it is ideal for rock gardens and the front of the border, and it works well as a filler and a groundcover.
Masses of blooms emerge in late spring and continue sporadically throughout the summer. Flowers have an array of five petals, white with a hint of pink at the base, that surround distinct, bright-pink stamens and contrast nicely against reddish sepals. ‘Biokovo’ has nearly evergreen foliage (depending on climate) with three season interest in the landscape that progresses from medium-green foliage in the spring to red-orange in the fall. The foliage’s spicy scent acts as a deterrent to deer.
Other cultivars of Geranium x cantabrigiense include:
‘Cambridge’ – pink-purple to magenta flowers
‘Cambridge Blue’ – purplish-blue flowers
‘Karmina’ – pink flowers
‘St. Ola’ – white flowers
According to the Perennial Plant Association, ‘Biokovo’ teams well with the weeping habit and silver-streaked foliage of Japanese painted ferns (Athyrium niponicum var. Pictum) and penstemons such as ‘Prairie Dusk’ and ‘Pink Rock Candy.’
To learn more about the 2015 Perennial Plant of the Year and past winners, visit the Perennial Plant Association website.