Is this Geranium maculatum or an invasive?

edlincoln(6A)

I was trying to getGeranium maculatum established in dry shade undeneath a limbed u Norway Spruce. Someone saw them and said "Oh, I have hat" and offered me some of hers. I'm not sure how well she knows her bplants. Is thisGeranium maculatum? If not, is it in anyway an invasive species in Massachusetts I should feel guilty about planting? Will it survive in dry shade?





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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

That doesn't look like G. maculatum. The ones in my garden have larger leaves and aren't divided that finely. Compare to this picture, for instance:

https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/udata/r9ndp23q/pd/geranium-maculatum-879.jpg

It could be something like G. carolinanum, which is native to the eastern US. Or possibly the invasive G. columbinum -- I'm not too familiar with either species. There's one with fine leaves like those that pops up here and there in my lawn, but I've never bothered to try and identify it.

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Campanula UK Z8

That is geranium sanguineum, aka bloody cranesbill...and will seed about.

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edlincoln(6A)

Anyone know if it is considered an invasive species in Massachusetts? I don't care if it seeds about the yard...just don't want to plant something Ecologically damaging. Also, will it do well in dry shade that Mayapples tolerate but trillium can't?

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

G. sanguineum is not considered invasive according to any authority I can find, though USDA classifies it as introduced. I've considered planting cultivars (specifically 'Max Frei') of it in my garden.

In my experience G. maculatum isn't at its best in really dry situations. It grows very slowly where I have it and I am always pulling columbine out that's overtaking it. For dry shade I've heard that G. macrorrhizum is especially good, though it's also non-native. I've had it (again, cultivars such as 'Ingwersen's Variety') in online shopping carts several times but for some reason have never pulled the trigger on it.

Here's the MA list of invasive plant species for reference:

https://www.massnrc.org/mipag/invasive.htm

and also the MA prohibited plants list:

http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/agr/farm-products/plants/massachusetts-prohibited-plant-list.html

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

I should add that I'm not saying G. maculatum won't work in dry shade. A couple of mine are doing reasonably well in that situation, just expanding very slowly, meaning that I have more maintenance to do keeping other plants out of that space. I've had similar experience with species like Asarum canadense and Spigelia marilandica that I'm sure would like more moisture than they're getting.

About the only things that have thrived in dry shade for me are Carex pensylvanica and Aquilegia canadensis -- and annual weeds like henbit that take advantage of short-term moisture.

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edlincoln(6A)

Hadn't thought of Columbine. I actually just planted some elsewhere. Does it tolerate shade that well? The spot is beneath a limbed up Norway Spruce with an excessively thick layr of mulch beneath it. I had planned on trying Geranium Maculatum and Mayapple after the trillium and wild ginger failed. (And initial experiments with wild geranium and Mayapple came back this spring)

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

Columbine is very versatile in my experience -- grows well in shade and in partial sun. Mine have trouble with powdery mildew and leaf miners, but it's nothing too serious. I prefer to keep them away from prominent locations near sidewalks, though. More of a background filler plant.

Speaking of wild ginger, I've been trying to get a nice sweep of it going in a very dry shady area around a linden tree for several years now. I have six that I planted as quart-sized nursery seedlings in 2014 that have expanded very slowly and are in good condition. A dozen others were much smaller seedlings or bare-root plants I put in last year and some of them seem to be barely hanging on, but I think the majority, or at least half, will eventually make it. It could be another 3-5 years before they will start to come together as a drift. Conclusion: difficult plant to get going but fairly rugged once established. Deep mulch is probably not ideal.

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edlincoln(6A)

This is actually a fairly prominent spot. There are a pair of limbed up Norway Spruce framing the driveway. I'm trying to do a little woodland/native/pollinator garden underneath them. Since Norway Spruce are evergreen, they don't even get early Spring sun. I've had some luck with one of them. (Which has a hole in it's canopy left by a tree that died) but the other one is tougher. Wild ginger and trillium came back a couple years and petered out. Bearded Iris bulbs produce foliage but not blooms. One Gernanium maculatum and Mayapple came back this year, so I was thinking of trying more of those. More or less anything native with a flower would be welcome. Nice foliage would be a bonus.

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WoodsTea 6a MO(6a)

So, no sun at all, even in the morning or late afternoon? It's a tricky situation, especially with dry soil as well.

You may find that some things that would survive there after establishment are going to need watering for the first couple of years. I'd also be careful about that heavy mulch -- it's usually better to keep it pulled back from plant stems, or they can be more susceptible to rot and insect damage.

There are some wood asters that do well in dry shade, although they pretty much all have a rather floppy form when in flower. I've seen some nice combinations of white wood aster (Eurybia divaricata, sometimes labeled Aster divaricatus) and ferns. The ferns provide structure and the wood aster rambles around in between them. Most ferns like more moisture, though, and are slow to fill in. I'm trying to get Christmas fern going in my dry shade areas, but it's too soon to tell whether it will survive in the long term.

Another suggestion might be Geum fragarioides (used to be Waldsteinia), barren strawberry. It's a groundcover with tiny yellow flowers, looks really nice spread out around taller plants. Mine has been slow to establish, but I have high hopes for it.



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edlincoln(6A)

No direct sunlight. It's never really really deep, but it's never NOT shaded. There is some sunlight from the North and West. Not a super dessert, but there has got to be a lot of water competition with that Spruce. I'm psyched the Mayapplle came back.

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