Columbine Plant Sun or Shade OOR.

Columbine Plant Sun or Shade OOR.

Columbine Plant Sun or Shade OOR

Columbine (Aquilegia spp.) blooms are said to resemble jester's caps, and their effectiveness at attracting hummingbirds will certainly put bird watchers in a merry mood. This herbaceous perennial is an airy plant with attractive clover-like foliage. The blooms come in many colors, and most have spurs: long, narrow strips streaming horizontally from the back of each flower. This plant is generally planted in early spring. Established plants typically bloom for about four weeks, starting in mid-spring.



Debra LaGattuta is a gardening expert with three decades of experience in perennial and flowering plants, container gardening, and raised bed vegetable gardening. She is a Master Gardener and lead gardener in a Plant-A-Row, which is a program that offers thousands of pounds of organically-grown vegetables to local food banks. Debra is a member of The Spruce Gardening and Plant Care Review Board.Propagating from collected seeds is the easiest way to grow columbine. After the flower petals have dried up, harvest the ripened seed pods left inside, and break them open to collect the shiny black seeds. Store them in the refrigerator over winter. They need three to four weeks of cold before germinating, which ensures they will be ready to sow when the time comes. Plant them in the garden the following spring. Or you can let your columbines reseed naturally by leaving the flower heads on the plants.

Marie Iannotti is a life-long gardener and a veteran Master Gardener with nearly three decades of experience. She's also an author of three gardening books, a plant photographer, public speaker, and a former Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator. Marie's garden writing has been featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide and she has been interviewed for Martha Stewart Radio, National Public Radio, and numerous articles.Wild columbine prefers partial shade conditions but will tolerate more sun with adequate moisture. It prefers organically rich, moist soil like that in its native forest home. It may grow 3 feet tall by 1.5 feet wide. The red and yellow flowers mature in early spring and can last one month. These tubular flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bumblebees. Once the flowers are gone the plant makes an attractive ground cover. When the foliage deteriorates it can be cut to the ground. Columbine freely self seeds, and new plants will bloom the second year. (Source: plants.ces.ncsu.edu)


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