Commonly known as Avens, Geum is a great ground cover perennial with a huge variety of species to choose from. Closely related to the strawberry plant, from a rosette of dark-mid green, slightly hairy leaves, they produce numerous flowers on wiry stalks in shades of red, yellow, orange and white from late Spring through to Autumn. Low maintenance, Geums will complement most gardens from a cottage style informal layout to more architectural planting schemes, ideal for the front or middle of a border partnered with Hellebores, blue Geraniums or shorter Crocosmia for a ‘hot’ bed effect. They are also very effective planted in pots on the terrace or balcony – just remember to keep them well watered.
Wonderful for brightening the garden on any grey day, these versatile ground cover plants will provide a long season of flowering interest – simply deadhead spent flowers to encourage a second, or even third flowering! Bees love Geums as every long wiry stem produces multiple flowers for them to feast on. Enjoy the vibrant oranges, reds and yellows ranging in height from 30cm to 80cm depending on the variety you choose.
Types of Geum Ground Cover
Geum ground cover are evergreen except in very harsh winters when their leaves and foliage die back to ground level. Most prefer dappled or semi-shaded locations, but all require moist but well-drained soil. They will not thrive in soil that becomes waterlogged. To maintain them simply cut back any tatty or brown foliage from the previous year in early Spring and divide any clumps that become congested in early Spring or late Autumn.
As a rough guide when planting Geums as ground cover – 4 plants per square metre is adequate with a little patience, 6 will give better coverage, and 9-12 will make a weed supressing carpet very quickly.
How to grow Geums
Position: Full Sun/partial shade
Foliage: Perennial, leaves appear from Spring with flowers following in early Summer through to mid-late Autumn
Soil and site: Fertile, moisture retaining & well drained
Flowering time: Early Spring to Autumn
Growth rate: Fast
Ultimate height and spread: 30cm and 50cm depending on variety, with an average spread up to 60cm