Aquilegia sp., or Columbine, is an erect, perennial herb native to the North Temperate Zones of Europe and North America. There are 70 true species but many that we plant in our gardens are hybrids. Leaves are 2-3 ternate, light to dark green depending on species. Most will reach 1-3 feet (0.3-0.9 m) tall and wide. Columbines are used in the landscape in rock gardens and border plants. They are very hardy in USDA zones 3-9.
Blooming Time: Columbines bloom in spring. Flowers are white, yellow, blue, lavender or red depending on species or cultivar. Flowers are erect or pendent, showy, petals with a short broad lip or lamina with a long hollow backward-projecting spur. Very Showy!
Culture: Aquilegia sp. or Columbines do best here in Central Oklahoma in a light sandy loam with good afternoon shade from a relentless summer sun. In my yard, which has good ole red clay, it took a lot of soil amending to get them to grow well. We started out by adding 2 lbs of gypsum per 100 square feet of bed. This was allowed to sit for 6 months. The soil was worked with peat moss and coarse sand until we had a nice sandy loam type soil. The bed was in a semi shady spot in our yard, they have been growing and multiplying for 3 years now and they certainly make the garden look very showy with the daffodils and hyacinths in spring. We fertilize them once during the growing season. In times of drought, they do need supplemental watering.
Propagation: Aquilegia sp. are propagated by division or from seed.
Aquilegia sp. was featured as Plant of the Week April 23-29, 2010.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.