Guide to Growing Geums (Avens)

Updated/Fact-Chacked on October 11, 2021 by John

Geums are a garden essential – they live long and cope well with weather conditions that would kill most flowers. The flowering of geums begins as early as April and they can continue to blossom until late October.

Here you can find out how to grow, propagate and maintain your geums – and discover the flowers you can pair them with.

How to Grow Geums (Avens)

The best time to plant geums is between September and April. While it is better to plant during the rainy seasons, the ground needs good drainage as planting in mud may cause mold to develop on the seeds.

Avoid planting your geums outside, or any plant, if there is frost on the way as the seeds will not germinate. You can begin planting in pots in your home if you live in regions with harsh winters.

Germination in the home will take up to a month. After three months in a pot, the plant should be visible on the surface, and you can try replanting it in your garden.

Soil with grit and gravel is ideal as it allows the roots to dry out fast after rainfall. Geums grow best in nutrient-rich acidic or alkali soils, so it is advisable to prepare the ground with fertilizers.

These plants also develop better in direct or partial sunlight rather than complete shade. The sunny borders that run the front of your garden are ideal spots for planting and can enhance the look of your home.

This is a perennial flower, but a lifespan of three years is about the limit you can hope for. If your geums live longer than this, you are doing well.

growing geums

Propagating Geums

If the position of the plant turns out to be too much in the shade, it is possible to replant without damaging the roots. Once the geums establish themselves in your garden, it is also possible to split the roots and spread the plant around to other plots.

Geums like space to grow and expand – they compete for light, and their roots can intertwine. If your geums are still alive after two to three years, you will need to separate and re-fertilize the roots.

>> Find more autumn flowering plants 

Maintaining Geums

Although the roots like to breathe, it is better not to let them dry out too much. Adding mulch to the soil around the roots is an effective way of keeping the roots moist without drowning them. This species of flower is low on maintenance and, for the most part, disease-free.

Geums appreciate regular deadheading and, in doing this, will give you a great long flowering blooms. Though the chances of you enjoying another round of flowering will depend on your summer.

As with all plants, geums are prone to attack from insects. Vine weevils love to dine on geum roots, and these pests will spread around to your other plants at high speed. Spraying for aphids, sawflies, and the red spider mite will help to protect your plant.

Geum Varieties

The geum is a diverse flower with over 50 species. Some geums have more vibrant colors, and others grow as tall single stems. There is also a range of hybrid flowers that offer even brighter colors and larger petals.

• G. chiloense (Chile): – Grows to a height of over 2-feet with a spread of 1.5-feet.
Varieties include Mrs. Bradshaw – double red flowers and Lady Strathden – double yellow flowers.

• G. rivale: – Grows to a height of ten inches with arched stems and bell-shaped flowers.
Varieties include Borisii – single bright orange flower, Coppertone – single copper-pink flowers, Leonard’s Variety -orange and pink flowers, Lumel Cox – apricot flower, and Album – white flowers.

• G. reptans: – Grows up to 1-foot-tall with small flowers and produces red stolons that creep across the soil.
No known Varieties.

• G. ‘Herterton Primrose’: – Grows up to 18 inches tall with red stems and nodding yellow flowers.
No known Varieties.

• G. ‘Totally Tangerine’: – Grows up to 3-feet-tall with single flowers of rich orange.
No known Varieties.

• G. ‘Bell Bank’: – The stems will grow to 1.5-feet with large pink drooping flowers.
No known varieties.

• G. triflorum: – The stems grow to between 6 and 16 inches tall. Its red flowers form small umbels of 3 to 5 flowers.
No known varieties.

• G. ‘Cosmopolitan’: – Growing up to 1-foot-tall with small pink and white flowers.
No known varieties.

• G. ‘Marmalade’: – Flowers tend to be orange to yellow with purple stems 12 inches tall.
No known varieties.

• G. ‘Fire Opal’: – The name comes from its dominant vibrant red petals smudged with oranges and yellows. These are large geums that can reach 30 inches tall.
No known varieties.

• G. ‘Rubin’: – Large pink to deep red flowers that open upwards from April to November. A wide-spreading geum of up to 36 inches and growing up to 18 inches tall.
No known varieties.

• G. ‘Georgenberg’: – Small but bright yellow flowers, with 12-inch stems and spread.
No known varieties.

• G. ‘Flames of Passion’: – Grows up to 18 inches tall with pink to flame-red petals and yellow stamens.
No known varieties.

• G. ‘Mai Tai’: – Can grow to a spread and height of 24 inches, with ruffled pink and apricot flowers.
No known varieties.

• G. ‘Dolly North’: – A widespread of 3-feet and height of 1.5 feet, with wiry green stalks and red-yellow-orange flowers.
No known varieties.

• G. montanum (S. Europe): – Well-suited to rocky outcrops with high exposure to the elements. Short stems of 9 inches and spreads of 12 inches.
No known varieties.

Best places to buy Geums in UK

Crocus UK have a good range of geum available, we bought the ‘totally tangerine’ variety as it looks lush. Jacksons nurseries UK also have a good selection.

'Totally tangerine' geum bought from
Geum totally tangerine

If you are one of our many USA readers, we have you covered – Nature Hills has a few nice ones, check you the Pretticoats peach geum.

Plants That Work Well with Geums: Geum Companions

The species of Potentilla and Fragaria grow well alongside geums and can even complement their flowers. Fragaria vesca ‘Wild Strawberry’ has small white petals that bunch around a yellow center.

Potentillas tend to have both yellow flowers and yellow centers growing off shrub-like stems. Leaves are light to glossy dark green with small teeth dividing them up along their lengths to the stem.

Wood ferns or Dryopteris grow well with geums and enjoy similar soil conditions, though they prefer to grow in the shade. Primulas (primroses), Trollius, and Euphorbia will compliment your geums and can fill in some of the gaps in the soil around them.

Polygonatums are also an excellent choice. Certain species of Polygonatum are edible and can help fight hyperglycemia. Some Polygonatum species are still in use as herbal remedies in Asia for treating stress and exhaustion.