Department of Horticulture New York State Horticulture Study Guide for Youth 4-H Logo


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Cornell University

Aquilegia canadensis
(ah-queh-ley-gee-ah can-ah-den-sis)

Click on thumbnails for larger image.

What about it?

Columbines are a splendid combination of delicate flowers and foliage. They are probably best known for the unusual "spurs" that protrude from the bottom of the petals. They are hardy perennials and in the wild they are usually bright red or yellow or blue or white. Domesticated varieties are various hues of yellow, blue, lavender, red, and white. They will grow anywhere between 1 and 2 feet tall. Several flowers are produced on a stem.

What is it used for?

Columbines have several uses. They flower early, in May and June, and make a popular border plant for gardens. There are dwarf varieties for rock gardens as well. The wiry stem is great for cutting and columbines combine well with other flowers.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

Columbines prefer partly shady spots in well-drained soil. Keep the soil moist. Remove wilted flower heads to prolong the flowering period.

What are its primary problems?

Columbines are frequently bothered by leaf miners.

How do we propagate it?

Columbines can be propagated from seed in the spring. However, it will take the plants a year to flower. Columbine plants can be purchased. Plant them 1 foot apart from each other.

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Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.