Open the Advanced Search

Bloody Cranesbill

Geranium sanguineum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Geraniaceae (Cranesbill)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
45 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, meadows, rocky places, sand dunes, seaside, woodland.

Purple, 5 petals
Bright red or purple flowers, but occasionally pink or white. The flowers have 5 dark purple-veined petals and are usually overlapping and unnotched, but occasionally they are shallowly notched. Flowers reach a maximum of up to 3cm across. They consist of 5 hairy and sharp-pointed sepals which are much shorter than the petals. Each flower has got 10 mauve-coloured stamens.
The fruit of Bloody Cranesbill is a schizocarp consisting of five individual carpels, each forming a beak-like structure. These fruits are commonly referred to as "seed heads" and are characterized by their slender, elongated shape. As the seed heads mature, they eventually split into five segments, releasing the small, rounded seeds within. The seeds are equipped with a tail-like appendage, aiding in their dispersal by wind or attaching to passing animals. This unique fruiting structure adds an additional layer of interest to the plant's overall lifecycle and contributes to its ecological role in seed dispersal within its native habitats.
Small, deep and narrowly cut leaves consisting of 5 to 7 lobes. The leaves are hairy but not as hairy as those that appear on the flower buds and stems. The leaves often turn red in autumn.
Bloody Cranesbill is not particularly renowned for its aromatic qualities. The plant does not emit a strong or distinctive fragrance, and any scent it may have is often subtle. While some geranium species are cultivated for their fragrant leaves or flowers, Bloody Cranesbill is primarily valued for its vibrant blooms and ornamental appeal rather than any notable aroma. Gardeners and enthusiasts appreciate its visual charm, making it a popular choice in landscaping, but it is not sought after for aromatic experiences in the way some other plants are cultivated for their scent.
Other Names:
Blood-red Cranesbill, Bloody Geranium.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Geranium sanguineum, also known as bloody cranesbill or bloody geranium, is a species of flowering plant in the geranium family (Geraniaceae). It is native to Europe and is found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, meadows, and rocky slopes. The plant is known for its hairy, downy leaves and small, pink or purple flowers that bloom in the spring and summer months. It is a perennial plant, meaning it will come back year after year. It is often grown in gardens for its attractive foliage and flowers. Geranium sanguineum is similar in appearance to other species of Geranium, such as Geranium molle and Geranium sylvaticum, but it has a more compact growth habit and smaller flowers. The specific epithet "sanguineum" refers to the reddish-pink color of the flowers.


Bloody Cranesbill, also known as Geranium sanguineum, is a beautiful and unique plant that has a lot to offer to gardeners and nature enthusiasts alike. This species of geranium, which is native to Europe and western Asia, is well-known for its bright pink flowers that bloom in early summer and attract a wide variety of pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

Bloody Cranesbill is a hardy and versatile plant that can adapt to a range of growing conditions. It is drought-tolerant and can grow in almost any soil type, as long as it is well-drained. This plant can also handle full sun and partial shade, making it a great choice for a variety of garden settings.

One of the key features of Bloody Cranesbill is its attractive foliage. The leaves are deeply lobed and a dark green color, adding interest to the garden even when the plant is not in bloom. The foliage is also fragrant, which makes it a great choice for use in herb gardens or as a companion plant for other fragrant herbs and flowers.

When it comes to planting Bloody Cranesbill, it is best to choose a location that provides good drainage. The plant should be spaced about 18-24 inches apart, and it can be planted in either the spring or fall. Once established, this plant is low maintenance and does not require much care. Simply remove any dead flowers or leaves, and water the plant during dry periods to keep the soil moist but not soggy.

In addition to its ornamental value, Bloody Cranesbill is also used for medicinal purposes. The leaves, stems, and roots of the plant have been used for centuries to treat a range of ailments, including skin irritations, wounds, and digestive issues. However, it is important to note that this plant can be toxic if ingested in large quantities, so it should be used with caution.

Bloody Cranesbill is a beautiful and versatile plant that is well-suited for a wide range of garden settings. With its bright pink flowers, fragrant foliage, and low maintenance requirements, this plant is a great choice for gardeners of all levels of experience. Whether you're looking to attract pollinators to your garden or just want to add some color and interest to your landscape, Bloody Cranesbill is a plant that is definitely worth considering.

Another great feature of Bloody Cranesbill is its ability to spread and form dense ground cover. This plant will spread over time by self-seeding and through underground runners, creating a lush and attractive carpet of green leaves and pink flowers. This makes it an ideal choice for areas that are difficult to mow or for planting on steep slopes or in rock gardens where other plants might struggle to thrive.

In terms of design, Bloody Cranesbill can be used in a variety of ways to enhance the overall look of your garden. Its compact size and long blooming period make it a great choice for borders, rock gardens, and container gardens. It can also be used as a ground cover or to fill in bare spots in your garden. When planting in a border, consider pairing Bloody Cranesbill with other low-growing perennials, such as moss phlox or creeping thyme, to create a lush and colorful display.

It's also worth mentioning that Bloody Cranesbill is relatively deer-resistant, making it a great choice for gardeners who live in areas where deer are a problem. This plant is also not attractive to rabbits, making it a great choice for gardeners who have problems with these pests as well.

Another advantage of Bloody Cranesbill is its long lifespan. This plant can live for several years and is a great investment for gardeners who are looking for perennials that will return year after year. The plant's bright pink flowers, fragrant foliage, and low maintenance requirements make it a great choice for gardeners who are looking for a plant that will bring beauty and interest to their garden for years to come.

In addition, Bloody Cranesbill is also a great choice for cut flower arrangements. The plant's long stems and brightly colored flowers make it an ideal choice for cutting and bringing inside to brighten up a room. The flowers are also long-lasting, so you can enjoy their beauty for several days after cutting.

One thing to keep in mind when growing Bloody Cranesbill is that it can become invasive in some areas. This is because the plant is able to spread quickly through self-seeding and underground runners. To avoid this, simply remove any unwanted seedlings as they appear and keep the plant in check by dividing it every few years.

Finally, Bloody Cranesbill is a great choice for gardeners who are looking for a low-maintenance plant. This plant requires minimal care and is relatively pest and disease-resistant, making it a great choice for gardeners who are looking for a plant that is easy to care for. Simply plant it in well-drained soil, water it during dry periods, and remove any dead foliage or flowers to keep it looking its best.

Bloody Cranesbill is a beautiful, versatile, and low-maintenance plant that is well-suited for a wide range of garden settings.

It's also important to note that Bloody Cranesbill is a great choice for attracting pollinators to your garden. The bright pink flowers are a popular source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. By planting Bloody Cranesbill in your garden, you can help support local pollinator populations and improve the overall health of your garden ecosystem.

In terms of planting and care, Bloody Cranesbill is relatively easy to grow and care for. It prefers well-drained soil and can tolerate a wide range of soil types, from sand to clay. It also grows well in full sun to partial shade, making it a great choice for gardens with a variety of light conditions. When planting, be sure to space your plants about 12-18 inches apart to allow for proper growth and spread.

One thing to keep in mind when growing Bloody Cranesbill is that it may become leggy and floppy if not given proper support. To prevent this, consider planting it in a location with some support or staking the taller stems. You can also pinch back the tips of the plant in early summer to promote bushier growth and prevent floppiness.

In terms of maintenance, Bloody Cranesbill is a low-maintenance plant that requires minimal care. Simply water it regularly during dry periods, remove any dead foliage or flowers, and divide the plant every few years to keep it looking its best. It's also a good idea to mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

In conclusion, Bloody Cranesbill is a beautiful and low-maintenance plant that is well-suited for a wide range of garden settings. Its bright pink flowers, fragrant foliage, and ability to attract pollinators make it a great choice for gardeners who are looking for a plant that will bring beauty and interest to their garden for years to come. So why not add a few Bloody Cranesbill plants to your garden today and enjoy their beauty and versatility for years to come!

30 Bloody Cranesbill Facts

  1. Scientific Name: Geranium sanguineum is commonly known as Bloody Cranesbill.
  2. Family: It belongs to the Geraniaceae family.
  3. Native Range: Bloody Cranesbill is native to Europe and Asia.
  4. Habitat: It thrives in a variety of habitats, including meadows, woodlands, and rocky slopes.
  5. Blooming Period: The plant typically blooms from late spring to early summer.
  6. Flower Color: The flowers range in color from pink to deep magenta, adding vibrant hues to landscapes.
  7. Blooms' Shape: The blooms have five petals and a distinctive, crane-like beak, which gives the plant its name.
  8. Foliage: The deeply lobed leaves of Bloody Cranesbill are often palmate in shape.
  9. Height: It usually grows to a height of about 1 to 1.5 feet (30 to 45 cm).
  10. Sunlight Requirements: Bloody Cranesbill prefers partial to full sunlight for optimal growth.
  11. Soil Preferences: Well-draining soil is ideal, and it can tolerate a range of soil types.
  12. Drought Tolerance: Once established, Bloody Cranesbill exhibits good drought tolerance.
  13. Propagation: It can be propagated through seeds or division of established clumps.
  14. Attracts Pollinators: The flowers attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
  15. Low Maintenance: Bloody Cranesbill is generally low-maintenance and easy to grow.
  16. Hardiness Zones: It is suitable for hardiness zones 4 to 8.
  17. Ground Cover: Due to its spreading habit, Bloody Cranesbill is often used as a ground cover.
  18. Longevity: The plant has a long lifespan and can persist for many years.
  19. Medicinal Uses: Some traditional herbal remedies use Bloody Cranesbill for various ailments.
  20. Wildlife Friendly: It provides shelter for small animals and insects in its foliage.
  21. Garden Borders: Commonly used in garden borders and rock gardens for its aesthetic appeal.
  22. Companion Plants: It pairs well with other perennials and flowering plants.
  23. Winter Interest: The plant may retain some visual interest during the winter months.
  24. Fragrance: While not strongly scented, some varieties may emit a mild fragrance.
  25. Disease Resistance: Bloody Cranesbill is relatively resistant to pests and diseases.
  26. Adaptability: It adapts well to various soil conditions and environmental changes.
  27. Symbolic Meaning: In the language of flowers, Bloody Cranesbill symbolizes fertility and new beginnings.
  28. Landscape Uses: Apart from gardens, it's suitable for naturalizing in wilder areas.
  29. Herbaceous Perennial: As a herbaceous perennial, it dies back in winter and regrows in spring.
  30. Culinary Uses: While not commonly consumed, there are historical mentions of culinary uses for Bloody Cranesbill in certain cultures.


Bloody Cranesbill filmed on Hutton Roof in Cumbria on the 28th May 2023.


Please remember to Like and Subscribe to the WildFlowerWeb YouTube channel at

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map