Geum, commonly known as avens, is a genus in the rose family. These perennials boast charming warm colored flowers in late spring and early summer. The cheery blooms add a pop of color to the garden, either as a specimen or incorporated into a mixed perennial border. Most varieties prefer moist to average soil conditions and full sun to part shade. There are about 50 different species of avens, and they can be found on every continent except Antarctica. In the nursery trade, you are more likely to find hybrids rather than the true species plants, but they are largely selections and crosses based on the following three species: native Ohio geum (Geum rivale), Chilean geum (Geum chiloense) and European geum (Geum coccineum).

Several Geum can be found in our collections at the Arboretum and some of our favorites are featured below.

Geum ‘Flames of Passion’ – originated from a chance cross-pollination of two unidentified selections of Geum rivale discovered by Petrus Hendricus Oudolf in 1999 in Hummelo, Netherlands. This selection features semi double deep reddish pink flowers in late spring.  It is compact and clump forming ranging in size 6 – 18 inches with equal spread.   Can be found on Norweb Overlook in the Main Display Garden.
Geum TEMPO ‘Orange’ – this variety was the first introduction to the new Tempo series from Terra Nova Nurseries. This selection features creamy peach semi-double flowers in early summer and will often rebloom throughout the growing season.  Plants grow 9 – 15 inches tall and 18 inches wide.   Can be found in the Rhododendron Discovery Garden.
Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ – a deliberate crossing of Geum rivale (female parent) and Geum chiloense ‘Mrs. Bradshaw” (male parent) by Timothy Crowther at his nursery in West Sussex, United Kingdom. In 2010, the same year it was introduced, it won Plant of the Year at Chelsea.  This cultivar was originally named ‘Tim’s Tangerine’ and is still sold by some nurseries under that name. This selection features peachy-orange flowers in early summer and will often rebloom throughout the growing season.  It is a clump forming perennial ranging in size from 24 – 36 inches with an 18 – 32 inch spread. Can be found near the picnic area in the Main Display Garden.

If you want to learn more about Geum and the best performing hybrids and selections, Chicago Botanical Garden conducted a comprehensive trial evaluation which can be viewed by following the link below.


By Annie Rzepka Budziak

By Annie Rzepka Budziak

Director of Arboretum Horticulture

Ann Rzepka Budziak has been a Horticulturist at the Holden Arboretum since 2008. In this capacity, she maintains the Myrtle S. Holden Wildflower Garden, collects and propagates seed for use within the garden, assists with heritage species monitoring, and helps maintain Holden’s commitment to the Center for Plant Conservation. Ms. Rzepka was previously employed by the Geauga Soil and Water Conservation District where she served as their Natural Resources Specialist. She earned a B.A. in Environmental Science from Hiram College. Ann lives in Munson Twp. with her husband Ryan and two daughters, Eliza and Rozalyn. In her spare time she likes taking her dog Piper for long walks, playing the piano, gardening, practicing Taekwondo and rearranging her furniture.

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