How To Grow Columbines (Aquilegia)

August 2, 2016

Columbines are a wonderful, easy to grow, addition to the garden.  Not only do the lovely flowers add interest, but they are also a favorite of hummingbirds.  Columbines can be grown in a variety of soil types as long as it is well-drained and not too dry.  While they prefer full sun in many areas, they don’t like it very hot, particularly in summer.  In hotter areas, such as the South, they should be planted in partial shade and mulched to help insulate the plants and keep the soil moist.


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Columbines start easily from seed and multiply quickly once established.  Blooms will not appear on seed grown plants until the second year.  Columbine seeds can be sown directly in the garden from early spring to mid-summer.  Pre-established plants can be put in the ground at the same time.  Spacing for both plants and seeds should be between 1-2 feet apart.





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To encourage blooming be sure to regularly deadhead.  If self-seeding becomes a problem, both the foliage and seedpods should be cut back in the fall.  However, since Columbine plants usually have a short lifespan of 3-4 years, allowing them to self-sow is recommended.

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