Shade Loving Native Plants of the
United States & Canada

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Aquilegia L , Columbines

Photo Credit: annfro/Photobucket

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Aquilegia L.

Native Distribution Map


USDA Zones:  3 to 8

Shade tolerance: Shade,

Part Shade

Moisture: Moist to Average

Height: 2’ to 3’

Propagation: Seed, Root division (spring or fall)

Columbines are perennial flowers with over 80 different species, many native to North America.

Their five-petaled flowers, with backward spurs are a favorite of gardeners and hummingbirds.

Columbines come in pink, yellow, burgundy, purple and white in many shades and color combinations.                                           

The many hues and natural hybrids allow for a wide variety of color options, and pretty surprises in your garden.

Be careful about planting European species in with your native Columbines.  The European genetic traits are dominant, leaving short spurs and faded colors on your plants.

Columbines bloom early in the season, April-May depending on your location.

Columbines have attractive seed heads.  After the blooming season you may want to leave spent flowers as they will give your garden a winter interest element.

Growth requirements:  Columbines like well drained soils.  Will tolerate poor and rocky soils.  Plants do well when the soil is evenly moist. Columbines like a neutral pH.

Benefits:  Attracts Hummingbirds.  Columbines are the larval hosts of some caterpillars and butterflies.   Makes an excellent cut flower.

WARNING:  The plant's seeds and roots are highly poisonous.  Wear gloves and wash hands after dividing or transplanting, or working with seeds.

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