How to Grow Erodium Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Alfilaria, Heron’s Bill, Filaree, and Storksbill

Erodium can be either hardy or half hardy perennials.

They are low growing ranging from about 7 to 45 cm (3 to 18 inches) in height. This makes them ideal for use in both rock gardens, and for use in borders.

They bloom in the early months of summer with pink, yellow, or white cup shaped flowers.

Erodium have dissected leaves, this gives them an appearance similar to Geraniums.

Some common names for members of the Erodium genus include Heron's Bill, Alfilaria, Filaree, Storksbill and Pin Clover.

Erodium cicutarium
Erodium cicutarium - Common Stork's-bill by anemoneprojectors.

Erodium Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Alfilaria, Filaree, Storksbill, Heron’s Bill, Pin Clover.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial. Half hardy perennial. Annual.
Height: 3 to 36 inches (8 to 90 cm).
Native: Mediterranean, Western Asia.
Family: Geraniaceae.

Growing Region: Zones 6 to 10.
Flowers: Early to mid summer.
Flower Details: White, pink, lavender. yellow. Cup-shaped. Veined. Hairy sepals.
Foliage: Herbaceous. Dissected. Lobed. Green. Blue or silver tint. Hairy.

Sow Outside: 1/8 inch (3 mm). Autumn from fresh seed. Germination time: two to three weeks. Temperature: 55°F (13°C). Spacing: Small 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm); Large 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm). Transplant nursery bought plants into the garden from the last frost.
Sow Inside: No
Requirements and care: Full sunlight or light shade. Sandy, gritty soil. Supply gravel to help improve drainage. Autumn mulch in cold areas. Some species do not like overhead water. Propagate: by taking summer cuttings, or can be divided in the spring.

Miscellaneous: Erodium can be weedy and invasive in some areas. Closely related to Geranium species such as Geranium sanguineum, and to the Pelargonium plant genus.

How to Grow Heron's Bill (Erodium)

It is best to grow Heron's bill outside from the off. The seeds should be sown in the autumn at a depth of about 3 mm (1/8th inch).

Erodium plant species prefer to grow in a sunny or partially shaded location of the garden. Ideally use a gritty or sandy soil.

The spacing distance that Erodium plants should be from one another depends on the species: space smaller ones about 15 cm (6 inches) apart and larger ones at about 35 to 45 cm (14 to 18 inches) apart.

Caring for Erodium Plants in the Garden

If you require more Erodium plants, then you can take cuttings in the summer. However Erodium is more likely to require controlling as opposed to propagating.

As they do not like overhead water, it is probably best to grow Erodium under a rock overhang in the rock garden for best results

Common Questions

How many members does the Erodium genus have?

The Erodium genus consists of about 60 species.

Do members of Erodium make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, certain Erodium species, often known as Heron's Bill, are excellent for rock gardens, borders, and ground covers.

Which Erodium species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Erodium x variabile (Bishop's Form) and Erodium manescavii are often grown by gardeners.

Are members of the Erodium plant genus fragrant?

No, Erodium flowers are not known for their fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Erodium?

Erodium prefers full sun to part shade and well-drained soil.

Is Erodium invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Erodium is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Erodium plants from my garden?

Remove Erodium by uprooting the plant, making sure to remove all roots to prevent regrowth.


The Erodium genus, commonly known as Stork's Bill or Heron's Bill, contains about 60 species of flowering plants native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. These annuals or perennials produce small, often pink flowers from spring to fall, similar in appearance to Geraniums.

Erodium plants prefer full sun and well-drained soil. They can be grown from seeds or cuttings. Perfect for rock gardens, crevices, or the front of borders, they are also drought-tolerant and can thrive in poor soil. Many species are low-growing and can make excellent ground covers.

I hope that you found this guide on how to grow Erodium plants in your garden. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Geranium sanguineum, Pelargonium plant, and Geranium plants.