Have you seen this enchanting wildflower? Columbine (Aquilegia), with its multi-colored petals, blooms from spring through early summer. Though this native perennial appears delicate, it’s among the hardiest of native plants as well as deer-resistant and pollinator-friendly. Learn all about growing columbine.
What is a Columbine Flower
Columbine (Aquilegia), aka granny’s bonnet, is a perennial flower that blooms in the spring. There are more than 70 species of columbines, including native columbines that grow wild in mountain areas, along streambeds, and in temperate woodlands. The deep-blue columbine that grow as wildflowers in Colorado mountains are direct descendants of the earliest columbines.
Blue Columbine wildflower growing on Aspen, Colorado, forest floor. Credit: Teri Virbickis/Shutterstock
What Does a Columbine Flower Look Like
This unusual and breathtakingly beautiful flower displays small bell-shaped buttercup-like flower with 5 petals nestled within five long backward-extending spurs. The petals are often bi-colored and may be bright red with pink, lavender, blue, yellow, white, or a combination of these colors! Columbines cross-pollinate easily, so new species form frequently. Their pretty blue-green, lacy foliage stays green long after the blossoms disappear, turning purple or red in the fall.
The flowers attract butterflies, bees, moths, and hummingbirds! But not deer! This hardy plant is also quite resilient and drought-tolerant. Once started, columbine propagates for years, and, although perennial, increases most rapidly by self-seeding. See the video below to view this flower in many shades.
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