Choose a columbine flower with its interesting foliage to add a light, airy quality to your landscape. Columbine flowers are perennials that are used in borders and woodland gardens. Get facts and information on growing the columbine for its beautiful and unique shaped flowers.
Columbine plants such as Aquilegia McKana Hybrids, grow in Zones 3-9 and will reach 30”h x 24” w. They have a rounded or clumped form. Columbine have a fine texture and will tolerate full sun or partial shade and fertile or average well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5-7.0. The plants are, however, short lived. Use columbines in the woodland border, for naturalizing, in the rock garden, and in containers. Good companion plants include hosta, lady’s mantle, and Siberian bugloss.
The columbine flowers are unique flowers with blooms that appear from late spring into midsummer. They have spurs up to 4” long with blooms that are often two-toned and attract butterflies. The white and lavender Columbine, Aquilegia caerules, is the state flower of Colorado. They come in colors of purple, yellow, red and yellows. They look delicate but are very hardy and make excellent cut flowers. Columbine will reseed itself if you do not deadhead the plants.
Care of Columbine Plants
Plant columbine plants 18-24” apart in spring or fall in well-drained, fertile soil. In hotter areas provide afternoon shade. Apply slow-release plant food at the time of planting. Cease feeding 6-8 weeks prior to the first frost date. Deadhead spent blossoms to encourage reblooming. Water them deeply whenever the soil is dry.
After 2-3 years the base of the plant will become woody and both bloom and foliage will become woody and both bloom and foliage will begin to decline. Replace plants when this occurs. If blooms are not harvested, plants will self-seed. Cut the plants to the ground in late fall after frost withers the foliage.
Propagation: Fresh seed will germinate in 10-20 days at 70-75 degrees. Stored seed may take up to 30 days to germinate. Seeds should be exposed to light, not covered with soil, during germination. If an exact replica of the parent plant is desired, divide the plant in spring. Transplants may take a full year to exhibit full healthy form, habit, and bloom schedule.
Pests and Diseases: leaf miners will disfigure the leaves with “mining’ lines left by feeding insects. Apply insecticide early in the season and remove any infested leaves.
Related Species: Biedermeier Group Hybrids will reach 20” high by 12” wide. Flowers will be either white, pink, or purple and blue. The foliage is an attractive blue-green. Mrs. Scott-Elliot Hybrids reach 36” high by 24” wide. Blooms occur from late spring to midsummer in a variety of shades. The foliage is medium green.