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Columbine Aquilegia

Growing Columbines: Tips at a Glance

Columbines are delicate cottage-garden flowers that will be happy in a slightly shady spot in your spring garden (if you live in USDA zones 3 to 9). Don't be surprised so see Aquilegia pop up in a new spot next year; the woodland plants self-sow freely.

  • Type Herbaceous flower
  • Lifespan Perennial
  • USDA Zones 3 to 9
  • Light Dappled shade
  • Soil Well drained
  • Spacing 15 inches apart
  • Design Tip Cottage gardens
  • Companions Lupines, ferns
  • Peak Season Spring flowers

Columbines: A Field Guide

White columbines among the ferns was a look that the renowned early-20th-century English gardener Gertrude Jekyll approved of wholeheartedly. Her favorite, ‘Munstead White’ still grows alongside the garden path at her home in Surrey.

The curiously shaped, pointy flowers  of Aquilegia look like granny’s bonnets (another nickname of these springtime woodland plants. They will self-sow on the wind and naturalize over time, happy to set up camp in clumps beneath flowering trees.

With dozens of species to choose among (and many more cultivars), columbines are a delicate, graceful addition to the front of the flower border in a flower garden. Depending on the variety, they more typically bloom in soft, watercolor shades of yellow, purple, blue, crimson, and pink.

Bees, hummingbirds, and moths gravitate toward columbines, making the flowers an excellent addition to a pollinator garden.

Planting, Care & Design of Columbines

Planting, Care & Design of Columbines

More About Columbines

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