Avens or Geum is a compact perennial with a clump-forming growth habit. Flowers bloom on tall stems during the spring and summer and hover above the green, scalloped-edged foliage. The single or double flowers can be bold yellow, dark orange, pink, or any combination of these hues. Avens can be found in USDA zones 3 through 9, but each cultivar has its own needs, so check the zones before selecting a specific variety. Geum is herbaceous in colder regions and evergreen in Southern climates.
The plants can grow 6 to 20 inches tall and wide depending on the variety, making them a good size for a bed or border. The easy-care Avens evokes a cottage charm and draws pollinators like bees and butterflies to your space. Deer and rabbits do not favor this leafy plant, so it provides dependable color year after year.
Avens prefer growing in full sun to part shade. Select a spot with afternoon shade when grown in warm regions. The soil should be slightly acidic to neutral and have medium moisture and good drainage. This summer bloomer is not a fan of high heat and humidity, but the right location allows this plant to grow happily in zones 8 and 9.
Water Avens when the top few inches of soil are dry. Feeling the soil is a dependable way to determine when to water the plant and prevents over- or under-watering. About one inch of water per week will keep the plant lush and growing. Monitor rainfall and water as needed. Soggy conditions are bad for Avens, so make sure this plant is grown in soil that promotes drainage.
Fertile soil with high organic content supports healthy growth for Avens. Do not feed or fertilize plants during the first year. Fertilize plants once each spring, starting in the second growing season. Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer that will continue to nourish the plant throughout the spring.
Remove faded flowers, or deadhead the plant during the bloom cycle to encourage another flush of blooms. Geum is an herbaceous perennial in cold regions, so all growth will die when the temperatures turn chilly. Cut back growth in the fall. This plant will grow as an evergreen in warm regions, so remove dead or damaged growth but leave healthy branches in place. Full plants can be divided in the spring every few years.
Caring For Avens in Pots
Growing Avens in pots is a great way to enjoy the lovely blooms on a porch or balcony. Geum plants grown in containers need water more often. Plan to water potted Avens every few days or even daily during a warm spell. Potted plants can benefit from applying balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once per month during the spring and summer.
Winter Care for Avens
Avens are herbaceous plants that die back in the fall. The plants start over with all new growth in the spring. Trim back growth in the fall in cold climates. Potted Avens grown in northern regions should be moved to a protected area. Plants in areas with warm winters will retain their foliage and require no additional winter care.