How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Columbine Flowers
The perennial columbine (Aquilegia), aka granny’s bonnet, displays bell-shaped, spurred flowers ranging in color from light pastels to bright reds, yellows, oranges, purples, and bicolors from midspring to early summer. Here’s how to plant and grow columbine flowers in your garden!
Once started, columbine propagates for years, and although they are perennials, they also multiply rapidly by self-seeding. There are more than 70 species, including several native North American varieties. Most columbines bloom from mid-spring to early summer.
Columbine flowers attract butterflies, bees, moths, and hummingbirds. The leaves have a lacy appearance, and although they look delicate, columbine is hardy and resilient. Columbine is deer-resistant and drought tolerant, too.
See the Delicate Beauty of Columbine
Columbines grow well in sun or light shade. Prepare the bed with well-draining soil of average fertility.
When to Plant Columbine
Sow columbine seeds directly into the ground in the spring. Allow the plant to self-seed after it blooms and it will produce many volunteer seedlings in the following year.
White spots or flourlike coating on upper leaf surfaces; leaves drop; distortion/stunting
Destroy infected parts (do not compost); remove plant debris regularly; resistant varieties; good air circulation/sunlight; spray plants with solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda/1 qt water; prevent plant stress; avoid overhead watering
Roots “knotty” or galled; plants stunted/yellow/wilted/weakened; leaves and other parts may distort or die; poor flowering
Destroy infested plant debris after flowering season, including roots (do not compost); disinfect garden tools; choose resistant varieties; solarize soil; plant French marigolds(Tagetes patula) as a trap crop; rotate plantings
Leaves/stems/entire plants wilt, brown or blacken, and may die; water-soaked lesions on lower stems; crown/bulb/rhizome rot; fluffy, white fungal mats with mustard-seed–like balls on stems’ bases/nearby soil
Destroy infected parts/plants, white fungal mats, and surrounding soil to at least 6 inches beyond plant and 8 inches deep; remove plant debris regularly; disinfect garden tools; solarize soil; resistant varieties; provide good drainage