Plant of the Week: Wild Geranium

The High Line's planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees – each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line's rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today.

This week we share one of our gardeners' current favorites with you.

Wild geranium is a hardy perennial, native to the woodlands and meadows of eastern North America, with a range extending from southern Manitoba down to Alabama and Georgia. It's known colloquially as cranesbill, due to the beak-like column in the center of each flower. Although many plants in the genus Pelargonium are also referred to as geraniums, they can be distinguished from true geraniums by their native range (southern Africa) and their hardiness (semi-hardy, but generally sold as an annuals in the northeast).

Wild geranium makes an excellent ground cover in sunny or partially shaded areas. Those looking to attract pollinators will find that they are a favorite of butterflies. They are at their best towards spring's end, when their pale pink blossoms bring a splash of color to the forest floor or garden.

Historically, wild geranium's astringent roots have been used to treat a variety of ailments, such as mouth sores, wounds, and digestive complaints. It's still in use today by practitioners of herbal medicine.


On the High Line in the Northern Spur Preserve, between 16th and 17th Streets.

Download our May bloom list.

Our horticultural team counts on members and friends like you to help keep the High Line beautiful and thriving. Join our community of supporters who play an essential role in the High Line's most important gardening projects – become a member of the High Line today!

Recent Posts
Plant of the Week: Sweetclover
view post
Plant of the Week: Northern maidenhair fern
view post