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Short but glorious columbine

Short but glorious columbine

Posted by Bloomin Designs Nursery on 28th Dec 2022

Aquilegia comes from the Latin for eagle (aquila), because the long petal spurs reminded Linnaeus of the warlike raptor’s talons. But the common name, columbine, is Latin for dove (columba), because someone else thought the flower resembled the cooing symbol of peace. War or peace? It’s all in the eye of the beholder, even if you call it European crowfoot or granny's bonnet. 

Nations healers use Aquilegia canadensis for ailments of various organs, a poison ivy wash, and as a love potion. Aquilegia canadensis is a cute spring bloomer with a native range extending all the way south and west through MId-America. Aquilegia is a genus of about 60 to 70 species of perennial plants that are found in meadows, woodlands, and at higher altitudes throughout the Northern Hemisphere

Like most columbines, Aquilegia canadensis is happiest in bright shade. The farther south, the less it likes the sun. A natural for naturalizing, it favors moist, well-drained soil and will cling to surprisingly steep slopes. The early spring show of bright red flowers with pale yellow corollas is short but glorious. Which pretty much describes the whole plant! Hardy in Zones 3 – 9.  

Columbine is a bushy, clump-forming perennial that typically grows in a mound of thin, branching, leafy stems to 1.5-3' tall. It is noted for its spring bloom of flowers with spreading sepals and short-hooked spurs. Many different cultivars are available, featuring flowers that are single or double and short-spurred or spurless, in a variety of colors ranging from blue to violet to white to pink to red. 

Aquilegia is easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. While it endures a wide range of soils except heavy, poorly drained ones, Columbine prefers organically rich, moist soils with light to moderate shade. 

Remove flowering stems after bloom will encourage additional bloom. Keeping soil moist after bloom prolongs attractive foliage appearance. When foliage declines, plants may be cut to the ground. Seed collected from garden plants may not come true because different varieties of columbine may cross-pollinate in the garden producing seed that is different from either or both parents. 

Zone: 3 to 8 

Height: 1.5 to 3 feet 

Spread: 1 to 2 feet 

Bloom Time: April to May 

Bloom Description: Blue, violet, white, pink, red Sun: 

Full sun to part shade 

Water: Medium 

Maintenance: Medium 

Flower: Showy 

Attracts: Hummingbirds 

Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer