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