Geum National Collection holder, Sue Martin gives her tips on what to consider when growing geums.

Geranium ‘Lilac Ice’
© Jason Ingram

Top tips for growing geums

  • The key to growing geums is moisture retentive soil but the pH of soil is not an issue. Sue Martin’s heavy clay soil has been enriched by years of manuring by the previous owner. Sue adds both grit and compost to the soil when planting a new area of geum and continues to mulch annually with garden compost.
  • The other thing to consider is the amount of sunlight/shade. Geum rivale cultivars thrive in shady spots where they combine well with for example Pulmonaria and Helleborus. Geum coccineum cultivars enjoy partial shade but will scorch in direct sun, whereas the larger flowered – and often most popular – Geum chiloense cultivars grow well in sunshine as long as the ground in sufficiently moist.
  • It is well worth dividing the plants every 3 to 4 years. This is an essential regime with the Chiloense cultivars.
  • Otherwise, geums are a low maintenance plant with the advantage of evergreen or semi-evergreen leaves forming attractive groundcover all winter. Seedheads are good-looking too so the only maintenance is to remove the occasional mildewy stem at the end of the summer.
  • Vine weevil need to be controlled if grown in pots.

Sue's garden sometimes open to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

Address Brickwall Nursery, 1 Brickwall Cottages, Frittenden, Kent TN17 2DH.

• Sue offers a wide range of geum by mail order and plants are available at her garden open days.


Other recommended suppliers include:
Hardy’s Cottage Plants in Hampshire
Beeches Nursery near Saffron Walden in Essex
Chipchase Castle Nursery, Northumberland