80509Wow, this is quite old school. Is it making a comeback? That would be nice. Avens, which is also known as Chilean avens, Geum quellyon, is an old fashioned perennial relative of the strawberry. Instead of producing fruit, it provides handsome yellow, red or coppery orange flowers that look something like small single, semi-double or double anemones, but can bloom through most of May.

Although perennial, avens do not last forever without some degree of help. After the first season, most of the slightly ruffled and hairy foliage dies down during the colder part of winter. New foliage and bloom develop in spring. After the second or third year, and every few years afterward, mature plants should be divided before or after bloom. Pups are more vigorous than the parent plants.

Happy avens gets as high and wide as a foot and a half. Much of the height is in the branched floral stems, which might need to be staked if they get too heavy with bloom, or are in a breezy spot. Most of the mounding foliage is basal. A bit of shade is tolerable and actually preferred to hot situations. Soil should be rich and well drained. Avens plays well with others in mixed perennial beds.


22 thoughts on “Avens

  1. My native White avens, Geum canadense, are in full bloom and soon, full seeding mode. A mixed blessing: wonderful shade plant, but I’ll have scads of seedlings. The Chilean has quite a pretty color.


  2. I love a geum. We have a couple of cultivars in the garden – Mrs Bradshaw, and Lady Stratheden – and also the British wild geum, or wood avens, Geum urbanum. The wild geum is important in feeding native insects but self-seeds prolifically and I do have to try and keep it under control (while accepting that I can’t and indeed shouldn’t get rid if it entirely).

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    1. I really do not know. I only know of it in coastal regions. Even in Southern California, I do not know if it was popular in warmer inland areas. Because it only recently reappeared in nurseries, I have not worked much with it.

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  3. Geum – a really useful perennial for us here in the UK. “Totally Tangerine’ flowers for most of the year and clumps up well (I’ve just split a three year old plant into four) and ‘Mrs Bradshaw’ is an amazing scarlet.

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    1. Wow, I probably should have left this topic for someone who is more experiences with it. It seems that everyone else is more familiar with it than I am. It just became available here a few years ago after being rare for many years. I am not familiar with all these nice cultivars.


    1. Yes, I know that they ‘can’ get a foot and a half high, and I have seen them more than a foot high, but ours are significantly lower. Only the tallest of the flower stalks get a foot tall. Most of the foliage is about half as deep.

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