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Growing Columbine

Category Flowers
These delicate garden flowers are a favorite of hummingbirds. This guide is about growing columbine.


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By 0 found this helpful
February 22, 2006

Botanical Name:


Life Cycle:


Planting Time:

early spring or early summer


dwarf types 10" to 12", full-sized types 2' to 3'


full sun to partial shade (afternoon shade in warmer climates)


average, well-drained soil


zones 3 to 8

Bloom Time:



delicate flowers in a variety of colors





Suggested Use:

beds, shade beds, borders, pots and hummingbird gardens

Growing Hints:

Sow seeds in pots or directly into the ground in early spring to early summer. Seeds need light to germinate so do not cover them with soil, but press them lightly into the surface of the soil. Plants tend to die out in 3 to 4 years. Avoid this by collecting seeds from mature plants for scattering or transplant self-sown seedlings. Full grown plants have deep tap roots and don't transplant well.

Interesting Facts:

Hummingbirds love columbine. Little white spaghetti-like tunnels on the leaves of your columbine indicate you have an infestation of leaf miners-a common columbine pest. Treat plants by picking off diseased leaves or cutting badly infested plants to the ground. Toss infected leaves and plants in the garbage-do not compost.
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June 13, 2007

If you want surprises in your garden each spring, plant a few varieties of columbine, and see how they evolve. They are easy to propagate from seed. This plant is great for producing large numbers of seed and if you have two distinct species in your garden, it will not take long to have hybrids. They tend to be short lived plants (3 years, more or less) you need to keep new ones coming along from seed, so letting them go to seed is a good idea.


You can easily harvest seeds into envelopes to share with friends. Please remember that hybrids may not return true to form from seed.

This year I have some "new" styles. I wonder what will come up next year.

By Regina from Rochester, NY

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Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photos. Click at right to share your own photo in this guide.

By 2 found this helpful
August 5, 2013

Photo Description
I love this flower. My dark pink columbine. Just beautiful. I am starting some more columbines from seed, and I can't wait to plant and see them!


Photo Location
Burbank, IL

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By 3 found this helpful
May 13, 2011

This is an origami flower. We are growing these in our garden and love the contrast between the blooms and leaves.

By Teri M.

Photo of Origami Flower in Spring

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July 6, 2017

Photo Description
I have always admired this flower, but for some reason, I have never grown it. There's something about its name I find very pleasant, Aquilegia. I like the way it rolls off the tongue. I even like its common name 'columbine'. And the lesser used common names 'Granny's Bonnet' and 'Granny's Nightcap' will do in a rush.


I learned from Wikipedia that "The common name 'columbine' comes from the Latin for "dove", due to the resemblance of the inverted flower to five doves clustered together". I find that analogy very special.

Aquilegia is a long lived perennial in the buttercup family 'Ranunculaceae'. It is quite hardy and almost care free. I like that, too. Is there anything I don't like about this flower? Well, not the flower, itself.

I bought this at markdown. It was not in bloom and it was the last one they had. I am not a red person. I prefer cooler shades. Aquilegia comes in some beautiful self and bi tone cool shades. Now that I am initiated, I will add more colors to this collection I've started.

Even yellow? Yes, even yellow!

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September 20, 2011

While vacationing in Alaska this July, I ran across this gorgeous columbine growing wild in the edge of a friend's garden.

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By 5 found this helpful
August 9, 2011

Due to losing my husband and my children not wanting me to be so far away, I had to move to the city. I miss my garden very much but it brings a smile to my face to be able to see the photos I have taken from that garden.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 16, 2012

Of the two columbines we planted last year, this is the one that survived. The burgundy and white flowers are really lovely and we are going to add more colors this year.

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