Columbine – Aquilegia species – How to grow Columbine flowers

Columbine – Aquilegia species – How to grow Columbine flowers


Columbine. Aquilegia species and they are
hybrids. Aquilegia is a genus of herbaceous perennials that are native to the entire Northern
hemisphere. There are species native to Europe, quite a few native to the United States as
well as Asia. They’ve been hybridized highly to give us different colors and flowers, shapes
as well as doubles and that sort of thing. Its a fantastic Spring plant. To grow Columbines;
they love dappled shade. Think of an opening in the forest and they like a good rich soil.
Not too much sun, plenty of moisture. They bloom in the Spring, mid-Spring for us here
in New Haven its April into May depending on the variety that we are growing. Some of
them are a little bit later than others. The doubles tend to be taller and a little bit
later. Columbine is a member of the buttercup family Ranunculacae and it shares with many
of members of that family the fact that it is poisonous. The name Aquilegia, the genus
name, comes from the Latin word for eagle, Aquila. This has to do with the similarity
of the flower to an eagle’s claw. These spurs coming off the back end of the flower, appeared
to the Romans as an eagle’s claw. Even the common name, Columbine, comes from a word
that means pigeon. It also refers to the spurs on the back end of the flower. Columbines
make a great cut flower. They are wonderful in the vase like you see in this photo. They
are also wonderful in beds and spotted in the woodland garden. Columbines come up early
in the Spring. You see the foliage first. The foliage is a light green, sometimes a
blue-green, almost pea-like in some ways. It has lobes. Distinct lobes as it comes up.
It is an unmistakeable sight in the early garden. Then it blooms for us in April into
May, well into May and then it continues as a mound of leaves and finally, in the hot
dry weather, those leaves begin to brown and die back. At that point you can cut the leaves
and then in August you can have something else planted in that area. A good combination
that some people use is they plant some impatiens in that area that will then come up and cover
the browning leaves of the Aquilegia. Both like the same conditions, semi-shade to shade
and plenty of moisture and good, rich soil. The color range is from the dark, carmen pink
to the white, light pink, blues. Here’s a purple. This has a good example of the claws
on the back end. The eagle claws. Although not aromatic, the Columbine is emblematic
of Spring. Columbine. Aquilegia species and hybrids.

16 thoughts on “Columbine – Aquilegia species – How to grow Columbine flowers

  1. I have these in the garden in the UK, they are very popular with the bees in Spring, second only to Raspberries in the garden this year in terms the number of visiting bees.

  2. I garden in the UK and here we have a horrendous new disease: Aquilegia downy mildew. The plants have no resistance and the disease is unstoppable. I had the only 2 National Plant collections of Aquilegia in the UK and in just 2 years they were wiped out. The only way of stopping its spread is to get rid of all plants showing any of the diverse symptoms. This video helps you to identify symptoms as plants start to grow in spring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ornWOMRoJVw

  3. What I find most amazing about the columbine is its wide growing range. We saw some growing in the Akureyri Botanical Garden, Iceland 🇮🇸 Right near the Arctic Circle! They also grow at the Kilgore-Lewis House in Greenville, South Carolina. So lovely!

  4. mine flowered and kept flowering into October. the guy at the nursery said they only bloom in the spring. but he was wrong. now I want to grow some from seed. Even if they don't bloom this year.

  5. My columbines are growing so large that they are tipping themselves over. Should I be cutting them down shorter on a regular basis, or is there another way to keep them from tipping over like this???

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