How to Grow Geranium Orion Flowers in Your Garden

The beautiful Geranium Orion offers a blooming season several months long and abundant, stellar purple flowers. Easy to care for and conducive to a wide range of growing zones, the Geranium Orion is a simple yet stunning choice for any garden or container. Here, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about growing and caring for Geranium Orion at home. 

How to Grow Geranium Orion (Essential Tips)

How to Grow Geranium Orion – The Essentials:

Botanical Name:Geranium ‘Orion’
Also Known As:Cranesbill, Hardy Geranium Orion, Crane’s Bill Orion
Hardiness Zones:USDA Hardiness Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Flowering Months:Late June through September
Growing Difficulty:Easy, low-maintenance, suitable for beginners
Type of Plant:Semi-evergreen, spreading perennial
Light Requirements:Full sun to partial sun (Needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight)
Temp & Humidity:It thrives in temperatures from 65°F to 95°F and can tolerate winter temperatures down to -30°F. It also prefers moderate humidity.
Watering Needs:Moderate water needs. Water when the top inch of soil is dry. Daily or every other day in the summer and less frequently in the winter. The hotter and drier the weather, the more frequent watering is needed.
Soil Preferences:Rich, evenly moist, well-draining soil that’s never waterlogged. Thrives in acid, alkaline, or neutral soil composed of clay, sand, loam, and chalk.
Feeding:Mix in a balanced, granular, slow-release fertilizer upon planting. Reapply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer to the soil’s surface every spring.
Growth Expectations:18 to 24 inches tall with a spread of 20 to 30 inches across
Toxicity:Non-toxic to humans and pets

How to Grow Geranium Orion

Purple Geranium Orion flowers in bloom

Is Geranium Orion Easy to Grow at Home?

Geranium Orion thrives in various growing conditions, making it hardy, low maintenance, and easy for beginners.

Best Locations for Planting

Geranium Orion does well in containers, beds, borders, and as ground cover in cottage and informal gardens.

The best locations for growing Geranium Orion receive at least 6 hours of direct sun daily. If you live in a warmer climate, where summer afternoons and evenings grow quite hot, look for a spot with partial shade. If you’re in a cooler climate, full sun is best.

Additionally, Geranium Orion prefers to have well-draining soil that will never be waterlogged.

Best Time of Year to Plant

A cluster of flowering Geranium Orion

Geranium Orion plants can be planted at any time of the year, but they are best placed in early fall or after the final frost of spring.

Sew Geranium Orion seeds in spring or summer to enjoy blossoms the following year.

Growing From Seed vs. Planting Nursery Plants

You can either start Geranium Orion plants from seeds or purchase young nursery plants for your garden.

Either method works well. However, you should consider the time investment necessary. While purchasing nursery plants will ensure a blooming garden the same season, growing Geranium Orion from seed means waiting at least one year for flowers.

Cost-wise, purchasing seeds is typically less expensive than buying young plants from a nursery.

What to Do Before Planting

Before planting Geranium Orion, you’ll want to identify an ideal location with well-draining, moderately moist soil and enough sunlight. Then, gather supplies like a shovel or trowel and compost or balanced, slow-release fertilizer pellets.

The Best Soil

Regardless of pH and composition, Geranium Orion thrives in just about any soil as long as it is rich, moderately moist, and well-draining.

How to Plant

First, dig a hole slightly larger than your Geranium Orion’s root ball. Add a layer of compost and sprinkle some fertilizer pellets into the bottom of the hole. Place the Geranium Orion in the hole so that the base of its stem is level with the ground or the top of your potting mix in a container.

If your soil does not drain well or becomes waterlogged, mix perlite or sand into your potting mix to improve aeration and drainage before filling in around the plant’s roots.

If planting more than one Geranium Orion, leave enough space between the plants for ample growth, about 3 feet.

Light Preferences

To encourage abundant blossoms and discourage legginess, Geranium Orion needs at least 4 to 6 hours of full, direct sunlight each day.

In climates with hotter summers, aim for a location that offers some shade in the afternoon and evening. In cooler temperatures, look for the sunniest location possible.

Temperature and Humidity

Geranium Orion is winter hardy down to -30°F and thrives in ambient temperatures ranging from 65°F to 95°F. These plants prefer low to moderate humidity but can tolerate high humidity and more moist conditions as long as their soil drains well.


How to Care for Geranium Orion

A close shot of blooming Geranium Orion flowers in a garden

Watering

Most problems with Geranium Orion occur due to watering too much or too little. They need about 1 inch of water each week, and even moisture is essential for young plants that are not yet well established.

Water ground plants daily during spring and summer, providing more or less water depending on how hot and dry the weather is and how well your garden soil drains.

Water container plants when the top 1 or 2 inches of potting soil feels dry. Make sure all excess water drains from the containers.

Fertilizing

Fertilizer replenishes the nutrients in the soil around your Geranium Orion’s roots, helping it grow and blossom.

Add a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to your garden soil or potting mix when planning a Geranium Orion. Fertilize every year after the last frost of spring has passed by applying balanced fertilizer pellets or liquid fertilizer to the top of the soil below the plant’s foliage.

Pruning and Cutting Back

Geranium Orion flowers at the end of the season

Geranium Orion does not require much pruning. However, they can be cut back to help shape and control their growth. Additionally, removing spent blooms and cutting the plant back at the end of the summer season can help encourage another round of blossoms in the fall.

Propagating

There are several effective methods for propagating Geranium Orion:

  • Root bulbs can be split and repotted in the autumn, winter, or early spring.
  • Seeds can be collected from the plant throughout summer.
  • During the summer, you can collect semi-rep woody cuttings from the plant to root in water.
  • Roots can be propagated in water any time of the year.

When propagating by cutting or root, use a growth hormone to encourage new sprouts.

Overwintering

Geranium Orion can be overwintered outdoors in most climates in the United States – as winter temperatures do not drop below -30°F.

Potted plants should be overwintered in a slightly warmer, sheltered location such as a greenhouse.

Repotting

A cluster of blooming Geranium Orion with green trees in the background

Geranium Orion rarely requires transplanting. However, if your plant becomes too big for its container, it can be removed, split into two or three smaller plants, and transplanted into new containers.

Transplanting is best performed in the fall or early winter when the plant is dormant. Transplanting, however, can also be done in early spring before your plant has entered the growing season.

If you plan to split your plant into more than one, be sure you have enough well-draining containers and potting mix available for all of your plants transplanting.

To transplant a Geranium Orion, grasp the plant by the base of its stem and gently tease it out of its pot. Then, loosen the potting mix from the plant’s root ball.

Add a layer of potting mix to the bottom of your container and place your plant inside, gently filling in around its roots with the fresh potting mix so the start of its stem is aligned with the soil line.

Gently pat down the soil and water thoroughly, ensuring all excess moisture drains.


Common Problems & How to Treat Them

Bright purple flowering Geranium Orion

Geranium Orion is hardy and highly resistant to pests and diseases. However, overwatering, underwatering, and too much sun can harm the plant.

Look for the following signs and adjust plant care accordingly:

  • Underwatered – Stunted growth, shriveled leaves, crispy leaves, and losing leaves.
  • Overwatered – Overwatering can cause fungal diseases in Geranium Orion. Signs of overwatering include yellow leaves on the bottom portion of the plant and light-colored spots on the leaves. Overwatered plants can also become spindly or stunted.
  • Too Much Sun – Stunted, wilted, or scorched.
  • Too Little Sun – Spindly, leggy, and stunted plants with few or no flowers.

Essential Tools for Growing Geranium Orion

A selection of gardening tools

Although Geranium Orion doesn’t require much fuss, having the following supplies will prove helpful in the cultivation of this charming plant:

  • Balanced, slow-release fertilizer or compost
  • Sand or perlite
  • Moisture meter
  • Trowel
  • Gardening shears

Growing Geranium Orion FAQs

What type of geranium is an Orion?

Geranium Orion is a cranesbill geranium. It’s a hybrid cultivar of the Geranium ‘Brookside’ and Geranium himalayense ‘Gravetye.’

What Colors are Geranium Orion?

Geranium Orion flowers have a purplish-blue hue with white central eyes.

How quickly does Geranium Orion grow?

Geranium Orion has a moderate growth rate, reaching maturity after three growing seasons.

Is Geranium Orion considered invasive?

Although a spreading plant, Geranium Orion is not considered invasive because its growth is easily controlled.

Should I cut back Geranium Orion?

You can cut back Geranium Orion in late summer to control growth and shape and encourage fall bloom. Spent blooms and dead or unhealthy foliage should also be removed.

Add a Twinkle to Your Garden With Geranium Orion

Named for one of the most recognizable constellations in the night sky, Geranium Orion will add spectacular sparkle to your garden with truly minimal effort!

More Geranium Flower Growing Guides:

For more essential step-by-step guides to growing and caring for Geranium plants at home, please see our in-depth features Geranium Rozanne and Geranium maderense (Madeira cranesbill).

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