Boom Chocolatta Hardy GeraniumGeranium hybrid 'Boom Chocolatta' (PP# 32,026)
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Geranium hybrid 'Boom Chocolatta' (PP# 32,026)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
There is no question that hardy geraniums are incredibly valuable plants in any garden – one of the best hardy, flowering ground covers available. If they have one fault it can only be that the foliage is plain green, and so just a little boring when this plant is not in flower. If only there were hardy geraniums with the kind of colored leaves we see in other ground covers, like Heuchera . . . Well, now there is – time to welcome the Boom Chocolatta Hardy Geranium into your garden. A true breakthrough, this bold perennial has leaves that are already handsome in their form, and are now also strongly colored a bronzy green that is distinctly chocolatey. So now, as well as the wonderful purple-blue flowers this plant produces, you have great foliage to contrast with surrounding plants – perhaps lime-green or yellow Hosta or Heuchera? This bold and beautiful plant is great in the foreground of big shrub beds, at the edge of a patio or wide path, on slopes, or in a semi-natural woodland garden. Expand your hardy geranium collection, or plant your first one – either way this gorgeous plant is a garden winner, and worth its weight in chocolate bars.
The Boom Chocolatta Hardy Geranium is a perennial plant that sprouts newly from the roots each spring. In warmer areas it may be semi-evergreen and stay in leaf for much of the winter. It grows moderately quickly to become a clump approaching 3 feet wide, and in bloom it stands almost 2 feet tall, with a good upright form and almost no tendency to flop or sprawl. The leaves are relatively large – about 4½ inches across – and round, although that isn’t obvious as they are deeply divided into 7 lobes, each with deep, irregular serrations. The foliage is very handsome, and the color is a beautiful very deep green with strong bronze overtones, giving it an overall look of dark chocolate. Leaf color is strongest when plants are grown in plenty of sun. Plants quickly make a carpet of foliage in spring, and then longer stems rise up, carrying many flower buds. These stems are strong and upright, and soon reach a height of 24 to 26 inches.
The flowers begin to open in early summer, typically June, but earlier in warmer zones, and last for about 3 weeks. There are at least 25 blooms in every flower cluster, each flower lasting 5 to 7 days before the petals fall naturally. The flowers are relatively large, 1¼ inches across, and within a couple of years you can expect over 200 flowers per plant, increasing in older plants. The simple flowers have 5 broad petals, and a prominent center of stamens, and they are a gorgeous and bold purple-blue – one of the most desirable of all colors in the garden. The flowers attract both butterflies and bees, and are a great source of nectar and pollen. After flowering long, slender seed-pods develop, which give these plants their alternative name of ‘cranesbill’.
Plant the Boom Chocolatta Hardy Geranium in the front of large shrub beds, and in beds of mixed perennials. Grow it along paths – both formal and natural – and on slopes and among rocks. Plant it in open spaces between existing plants to fill out your plantings, and grow it singly, in groups or as ground cover. Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart for continuous cover. Take advantage of the great foliage color and plant it beside plants that are lighter green, lime, chartreuse and yellow. It can also be grown in pots and in large planters beneath potted trees and shrubs, and could stay outside all winter in pots from zone 6.
Reliably hardy in zone 4, the Boom Chocolatta Hardy Geranium also grows well all the way into zone 8. It does best in areas with cooler, moist summers.
For plenty of flowers and good foliage color, plant the Boom Chocolatta Hardy Geranium in full sun or partial shade – see our other hardy geraniums for varieties that do better in more shade. It grows best in moist, rich but well-drained soil, but has a good tolerance of short periods of drought, once established. It grows well in alkaline soils – better than many other hardy geraniums – and is a good choice for chalky or limestone soils. Avoid areas that are wet, especially in winter.
Deer, rabbits, pests or diseases are almost never problems with the Boom Chocolatta Hardy Geranium. That’s a big relief, and makes this an easy plant to grow in your garden. It is best to cut it back hard after blooming, to prevent seeding, and also to make it produce a fresh, new crop of leaves with good color for the rest of the season. Cut it back to the ground in fall or early spring, before the new leaves appear. Nothing more is needed – how easy this plant is to grow.
With over 400 species, the genus Geranium is found mostly around the eastern parts of the Mediterranean, but also across Europe and most of the northern hemisphere. It shouldn’t be confused with the genus Pelargonium, which produced the colorful annual plants many gardeners still call ‘geraniums’. This is why we use the name ‘hardy geranium’, to distinguish them. The meadow geranium, Geranium pratense, can be found wild in the Altai mountains of central Asia, where Russia, China and Mongolia meet. Clarke’s geranium, Geranium clarkei, can be found in northern India.
In 2012 Hans Hansen, the head breeder at Walters Gardens, Inc. in Zeeland, Michigan, collected seeds from Geranium pratense `Midnight Blues`, which had probably been pollinated by Geranium clarkei `Kashmir Blue`. Among the seedlings was an outstanding plant with bronzy-green leaves. He named it ‘Boom Chocolatta’, and it was patented in 2020. It has also been released under the Proven Winners® brand.
You are going to love the great foliage of the Boom Chocolatta Hardy Geranium, but let’s not forget those gorgeous and abundant blooms. Order now, as this brand new variety is turning heads everywhere, and won’t be in our stock for very long at all.