Columbine is a lovely perennial plant that will give you beautiful blooms from spring through summer. In the fall you will be rewarded with lovely foliage that depending on your growing location, stays either green or turns a pretty maroon color.
How To Grow Columbine
Growing Columbine (Aquilegia) is both easy and satisfying. They are easily grown from seeds or nursery plants. They thrive in full sun and have few soil requirements. Columbine does best in well-drained soil and doesn’t need much fertilizing. If you live where it is particularly hot, they would benefit from some midday shade, and fertilizing once a month with a water-soluble fertilizer. Once established, Columbine is so hearty and provides beautiful blooms for 4-6 weeks. You can deadhead the plants down to the foliage and often will have the cycle begin again.
Varieties of Columbine
There are many varieties of Columbine. Believe it or not, there are over 70 species of Columbine flowers! We grow McKana’s Giants in our flower beds and love them so much for their beautiful and huge growth. They are often growing between 3 and 5 feet tall! They don’t need staking either, and very little care, they just keep on giving with their big beautiful blooms. I haven’t seen the dwarf varieties, personally, but I think it would be so sweet to have a border of these mini 6-inch plants, don’t you? Another thing I love about Columbine is that Aquilegia varieties easily cross-pollinate. I think it would be so exciting to have more than one variety and see all the new colors and combinations that would grow. There are so many color variations, purple, pink, yellow, blue, just to name a few.
Pollination, Pruning, and Pests
Columbine is such a friend to our pollinators. Bees absolutely love them, and so do butterflies and hummingbirds. One of my favorite things is to sit on our front porch and watch all the activity. We have an Allen hummingbird that comes zipping into the Columbines and flits from one to another with ease. So fun to watch! As far as pruning, you will have long-lasting flowers, yippee! Prune once the flowers get a little shaggy. I always leave the greenery, don’t take them out completely. Isn’t it nice to have year-round greenery? Guess what? They aren’t liked by deer or bunnies, so that’s always a plus. I read that leaf miner is a common pest, but we’ve never encountered that with our Columbine.
Why You Should Grow Columbine
Columbine is such a wonderful addition to any garden. No matter what color, or color combo you choose, you will be rewarded with long lasting blooms. Having a minimal fuss, easy to care for bloomer is perfect for my cottage garden. Since it does well in zones 3-9b, it can be grown just about anywhere. You can sometimes see it growing in rocky areas, and it does fine there as well. There’s no intimidation with growing Columbine! Once established, you will be rewarded with a hearty, prolific bloomer that benefits all our pollinators, and brings a wide variety of them to your garden. Since they are resistant to deer and rabbits, you don’t need to worry about them munching on your beautiful blooms. I also like that I have year round pretty foliage. If space is a premium, grow a dwarf variety in a few pots for long lasting color. Columbine makes great cutting flowers, and since you will be getting so many blooms, you can share them with friends. Since they also self seed, you will have a continual joy fest every spring when it starts blooming. I highly recommend growing Columbine, I don’t think you will be disappointed. and
If you enjoyed reading about growing Columbine, you may also like to read my blog post on Growing and Caring For Lilacs
You’ve sold me. Especially that they are good to cut and deer resistant. I checked on my tiger lilies today and someone’s been munching on them. I’m still learning about flower varieties so thanks for the Columbine lesson.
Hi Regina, I’m so glad I got you interested in Columbine! It’s always good to know that I can inspire someone with their garden, especially since it will also help out with your nibblers! Thanks so much for stopping by, your comments are so appreciated. Have a great weekend!
Leslie Watkins says
You had me at hummingbird and butterfly! But, deer resistant? Yes, please! Thanks so much for sharing! I have never grown columbine and I’ll add that to my list! Happy weekend!
Leslie, that would be awesome! I think you would really like Columbine, for all those reasons, and more. I’d be delighted to know you have some growing in your garden. Happy weekend to you my sweet friend!
These sound great and are a pretty flower. I’ll have to check into them.
That’s fantastic Cindy, I hope you get to grow some, I think you would love them! Thanks so much for stopping by, I really appreciate your sweet comments!
Great tips! I grow them in Pennsylvania! I love how they come up all by them self every year!
Nice blog Dee!
Hi Nance! I love that you stopped by, thank you! It makes me happy knowing that you are growing them in Pennsylvania, what color are yours? I’m thinking of adding some purple this year, well see how it goes. Thanks also for your kind words on my blog, what a dear you are!
Your front garden is so beautiful and luscious!
Columbine is so beautiful, I love yellow. Thank you for sharing all the information Dee. Anything deer proof is great by me! Love your blog!!
Hi Sweet Carol, you are just the best! Thanks for your sweet words on my front garden, I love it when it’s full of color like this! So glad you like the idea of growing Columbine, yes to being deer resistant! You are so incredibly sweet, and knowing that you love my blog makes my heart sing!
Nancy B says
What a fun post darling Dee! I am impressed with your knowledge of these flowers. I have planted them and enjoy how easy they are to grow!
Sweet Nancy, how kind of you to read the blog post, and comment! I’m so happy knowing that you have planted them, they really are a great plant, don’t you think? Thanks again for stopping by, I’m blessed you are here!
Thank you very much Dee ! Beautiful flowers and great information! Love your blog !!
Aww, Kathy! You make my day with your sweet comments, thank you for saying that! Knowing that you love my blog means so much to me, I feel honored and touched. Thanks for being such a sweet friend, I appreciate you!
Hi Dee, I just love yellow! I need to try to find the seeds or plant. Is it to late to seed them?
Hi Eleni, I’m so glad you like the Columbine, and the yelow! It does come in many color variations, and even two toned yellows, I have those also growing in my garden. I did some research for you, and it’s not too late to plant them in Quebec. You just have to plant them after the last frost , and hopefully they will do well for you. I hope you are able to grow some Columbine, I think you would enjoy it!
Shannon Fox says
We get that growing wild here. It’s so pretty, and I should check to see if the deer like it, as it’s one of Jim’s favorites.
Hi Shannon, so sweet of you to stop by! They are deer resistant, it’s not one of their favorites so they leave it alone! It’s wonderful that you have them growing wild, I would love that! Have a wonderful day my friend.