Geum coccineum



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Geum coccineum ‘Borisii’

I have to confess orange is not one of my favourite garden colours. But somehow I cannot resist the deep, velvety, luscious orangeness of Geum coccineum ‘Borisii’.
Perhaps it is because it is such a velvet glow, rather than brash orange. 
The flowers are star like singles, and look up at you boldly, from atop 15cm stems. So there is no “shrinking violet” about ‘Borisii’.
It also has an interesting tale about it’s history – but go to the bottom for that.

Decorative foliage

Perhaps it is the beauty of the foliage clump that persuades me that I actually love this little dwarf Geum.
The leaves are also velvety, deep glowing green, lush and ruffled around the edges.
So they make the perfect foil for the flowers, as well as a perfect edge or underplanting.
Or perhaps I cannot resist it’s generous and long blooming, with flowers still appearing on my clumps in mid winter, after they have started in mid-spring and gone all the way through.
Finally the long season ends with attractive fluffy seed heads, which our native seed eating small birds like (and means you don’t even have to tidy them off).
So for all of these reasons, I am always finding more spots for Geum coccineum ‘Borisii’ to glow in.

Perfect edge or groundcover

Geum coccineum ‘Borisii’ is an evergreen perennial clump, very pretty as a solo plant.
Then with multiple plants it makes a wonderful ground-cover, edge or feature pot; because the foliage is so good, dense and attractive.
But it becomes sensational when planted under apricot roses because of the colour of those glowing little stars. 
Wherever planted, it is neat, attractive and vigorous all year round. Each plant will cover about 30cm. diameter.
I am afraid the vase has to be very small if you are going to use it for cut flower because the 15cm. flower stems are so short, but given a petite vase, it is an excellent cut flower.

Easy-going & undemanding

A position in Part Shade; Dappled Sun and Shade; or Morning Sun is perfect in hotter or humid districts; whereas In cooler districts they also enjoy Full Sun.
They can tolerate humidity well because of their original native habitat (see below).
But they are vigorous, persistent little growers who will give it their best in a variety of conditions.
‘Borisii’ is hardy, trouble free and undemanding. Other than shearing off spent flower stems if you wish to tidy up, there is little to no maintenance work.
They are not prone to any particular pests or diseases.

Very frost hardy

Geum coccineum ‘Borisii’ does not need a lot of water, asking for only average, normal garden watering; but they do not enjoy to dry out for long periods, so they appreciate their water ration regularly.
Soil pH from acid to alkaline lime is acceptable to these easy going little stunners.
They are frost hardy to at least -10C. 


Height with flowers: 15cm. flower stems approx. above the flat rosette of foliage.
Width: 30cm. approx.
Position:  Part Shade; Dappled Sun and Shade; or Morning Sun in hot or humid districts. Also Full Sun in cooler districts.
Soil: Average garden soil is fine. Acid or alkaline is acceptable. They are very easy-going.

Fragrance: Sadly none, but other charms make up for it.
Frost: Very frost hardy in even severe frost areas.
Growth: Evergreen perennial rosette.

Beneficial for wildlife: Bees and butterflies regard them as well stocked larders of pollen and nectar. Long and repeat blooming is a big help to our pollinator friends. Small seed eating birds like Finches love the fuzzy seed heads.
Care: Very easy low maintenance.
Deer & Rabbit resistant: Downy, hairy foliage seems to keep ‘Borisii’ near the bottom the menu selection for rabbits and deer.

An interesting history

Origin: A native of the Rila Mountain Range in Bulgaria, which accounts for it’s hardiness and tolerance of humidity.
The word Geum comes from ancient Greek “geuo”, which means” relish or flavour”.
We certainly know the ancient Romans used this plant as a flavouring for both food and drink, but then they also ate Door Mice.

History: Wilhelm Schacht was a gardener who knew how to pay a well placed compliment. He was director of the Royal Botanic gardens in Bulgaria before World War II, and was walking one day with his monarch, King Boris III of Bulgaria, in the spectacular Rila Mountains, when he spotted this  vivid little Geum. On the spot he named it borisii, to the obvious pleasure of the King, and the health of the Botanic Garden budget.


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