Geum canadense (White Avens)

Scientific Name

Geum canadense Jacq.

Common Names

White Avens


Geum canadense var. canadense, Caryophyllata alba, Geum album, Geum camporum, Geum carolinianum, Geum glutinosum, Geum laciniosum, Geum meyerianum, Geum urbanum, Geum virginianum, Sieversia caroliniana

Scientific Classification

Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Rosoideae
Tribe: Colurieae
Genus: Geum


Color: White
Bloom Time: Summer


Geum canadense is a herbaceous perennial plant with basal leaves with more than three leaflets and arranged in a low rosette. The leaves above the basal rosette are alternate, with those placed just above the basal leaves typically trifoliate, and upper leaves usually simple. The basal leaves are a darker green and are often coarsely hairy compared to the lighter green and fine hairs found on upper leaves and stems. In milder climates, the foliage is evergreen. Blooming occurs for 1 to 2 months in the summer. Each flower has five white petals and five green sepals. Flowers are replaced by clusters of long, thin seeds, each with a hook on one end that may catch on clothing or animal fur.

Geum canadense (White Avens)
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USDA hardiness zone 4a to 8b: from −30 °F (−34.4 °C) to 20 °F (−6.7 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Geums flower best in a sunny position with average garden water. However, in really hot climates, afternoon shade is essential to keep the plants from being scorched. Good drainage is also important, as Geum is subject to root rot in wet conditions. Otherwise, they are very adaptable to different soil types.

Geum is easily grown by seed sown indoors six to eight weeks before the average date of last frost. However, improved cultivars are readily available in garden centers, so most gardeners choose to start them as transplants. Plant them in good garden soil that has been enriched with compost. They are not considered drought-tolerant and will need weekly water throughout their life.

It's important to note that Geums are short-lived perennials that require division every few years to renew the patch. Otherwise, they will naturally decline and disappear.

Geums are generally grown as a front of the border plant, where their low foliage and bright flowers make a cheerful edging to flower beds. Since it is a small plant, masses of one variety are very effective, though they can also be interspersed with other small-statured annuals and perennials for a cottage garden look. Geums are also excellent in potted arrangements and make great cut flowers. See more at How to Grow and Care for Geum.


It is widespread across much of Canada, the United States, and Mexico.


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