COLUMBINE

FAMILY: Ranunculaceae | GENUS: AQUILEGIA

TYPE
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Regular Water

Plant Details

Lacy foliage and beautifully presented flowers in exquisite pastels, deeper shades, and white give columbines a fairylike, woodland-glen quality. Plants are erect and range in size from 2 inches to 4 feet high. Divided leaves similar to maidenhair fern (Adiantum) may be fresh green, blue-green, or gray-green. Slender, branching stems carry erect or nodding flowers to 3 inches across, often with sepals and petals in contrasting colors; they usually have backward-projecting, nectar-bearing spurs. Some columbines have large flowers and very long spurs; these have an airier look than short-spurred and spurless kinds. Double-flowered types lack the delicacy of the single- flowered sort, but they make a bolder color mass. Blossoms typically appear in spring and early summer.

wild columbine

aquilegia canadensis

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Native to much of eastern and central North America.
  • Grows 12 feet tall (occasionally taller) and about 1 feet wide.
  • Red-and-yellow, 112 inches., nodding flowers have slightly curved, 1 inches spurs.
  • Red color may wash out to pink in areas with warm night temper- atures.
  • Less susceptible to leaf miners than most columbines.
  • Corbett has creamy yellow flowers.
  • Dwarf 'Little Lanterns' grows 10 inches tall.

golden columbine, golden-spurred columbine

aquilegia chrysantha

  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Native to Arizona, New Mexico, and adjacent Mexico.
  • One of showiest species.
  • Large, many-branched plant to 34 feet tall, 12 feet wide.
  • Undersides of leaflets densely covered with soft hairs.
  • Upright, clear yellow, 112- to 3 inches flowers with slender, hooked spurs 2212 inches long.
  • Yellow Queen grows 3 feet tall and produces an abundance of clear yellow, fragrant blossoms.

fan columbine

aquilegia c

  • hinckleyana.
  • HINCKLEY'S COLUMBINE.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Native to Big Bend country of Texas.
  • To 1122 feet high and wide, with long-spurred flowers in chartreuse yellow.
  • Blue-gray foliage stays handsome in summer, and leaf miners aren't a big problem.

aquilegia flabellata

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Native to Japan.
  • Stocky plant 8 inches.112 feet high, 1 feet wide, with nodding, 112 inches., two-tone flowers of lilac-blue and creamy white.
  • Hooked spurs to 1 inches long.
  • Differs from most other columbines in having thicker, darker leaves, often with overlapping segments.
  • Aquilegia f.
  • pumila is a very dwarf form (just 4 inches high).
  • Good rock garden plant.
  • The Cameo series is dwarf (48 inches.) and comes with two-toned flowers of white and blue, pink, or rose.

longspur columbine

aquilegia hybrids

  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • These include graceful, long-spurred McKana Giants and double-flowering Spring Song (both to 3 feet tall, 2 feet wide).
  • Nora Barlow Mixed, reaching 2212 feet high and 2 feet wide, has double flowers in a wide range of colors (the original 'Nora Barlow' has reddish pink blooms with white margins).
  • About the same size is Vervaeneana Woodside Variegated Mixed, with variegated leaves and various flower colors.
  • Lower-growing strains include Biedermeier and Dragonfly (1 feet high and wide); early-blooming Spring Magic (14 inches tall and 12 inches wide); long-spurred Music (112 feet high and wide); long-blooming Origami (1618 inches high); and single to double, upward-facing Fairyland (15 inches high and wide).

aquilegia longissima

  • Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
  • Native to Southwest Texas, southern Arizona, and northern Mexico.
  • Grows 23 feet tall and about 1122 feet wide.
  • This species is quite similar to Aquilegia chrysantha.
  • Numerous erect, pale yellow blossoms with very narrow, drooping, 4- to 6 inches-long spurs.

european columbine

aquilegia vulgaris

  • GRANNY'S BONNETS.
  • Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8.
  • Native to western, central, and southern Europe; naturalized in eastern U.S. Grows 1212 feet tall, 1 feet wide.
  • Nodding blue or violet flowers to 2 inches across with short, knobby spurs about 34 inches long.
  • Many selections and hybrids offer single to fully double blooms, either short spurred or spurless.

Columbines are not fussy about soil as long as it is well drained. Cut back old stems for second crop of flowers. All kinds attract hummingbirds. Deer tend to leave them alone. Most are not long lived and will need to be replaced every 3 or 4 years. Allow the spent flowers to form seed capsules to ensure a crop of volunteer seedlings. If you're growing hybrids, the seedlings won't necessarily duplicate the parent plants, but seedlings from species (if grown isolated from other columbines) should closely resemble the originals. Leaf miners are a potential pest, especially on hybrids.

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