No need to be sad for this plant. The geranium phaeum (jur-AY-nee-um FEE-um) may have a somber name, but it doesn’t need any condolences. The name, Mourning Widow refers to the deep purple-black flowers it is known for, but colours can range from pure white to lilac to pink to purple. This clump-forming perennial is also characterized by its lobbed leaves with brownish spots.
This delicate, yet hardy plant looks best planted in groups. It blooms small, flat, downward-facing flowers from May to July. Gardeners can plant them in cottage gardens, flower beds and courtyards. They even thrive in shady conditions. Feel free to plant them under trees and other shrubs.
And because these plants can grow quickly to form mounds, they can be used to suppress weeds in the garden. In the mid-summer, be sure to remove old stems and leaves to encourage new growth.
So don’t be sad for the mourning widow. It’s a hardy plant that will survive in the shadiest conditions and will add some colour and life to your garden.