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AQUILEGIA vulgaris

Image of Aquilegia vulgaris

Mark Kane

Family

Ranunculaceae

Botanical Name

AQUILEGIA vulgaris

Plant Common Name

Common Columbine

General Description

Columbine is among the most beloved woodland perennials, cultivated for centuries in cottage gardens. This species is a native of Europe fondly called granny’s bonnet. The foliage bears three part lobed leaves of soft blue-green that are more densely held at the base of the plant. The leaves bear a striking similarity in shape and texture to those of the maidenhair fern. Columbine is a vigorous early season performer but the delicate foliage can suffer in the late season, so it is often paired with other summer and fall bloomers.

The flowers of this plant naturally vary in color depending on their place of origin. They can be found in bold hues of red, blue, pink and yellow with white or yellow centers. Each are produced in bunches on fine branching wands that rise above the foliage. The blossom bears long hooked spurs. Dead-heading may extend its late spring to early summer season. Grow this columbine in full sun in the north or at higher elevations, but they require partial to full shade further south. Provide fertile well-drained soil that’s evenly moist. Though technically a perennial, columbines can be short-lived, but they compensate by self-sowing. Seedlings of species will show some variation and specific varieties will not come true by this seed. The deer resistance of these perennials make them a lifesaver in woodland gardens and mountain communities. However, they are sufficiently elegant to fit into highbrow beds and borders too.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    12"-36" / 30.5cm - 91.4cm

  • Width

    18"-18" / 45.7cm - 45.7cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Europe

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Red, Purple, Pink, Rose, Blue Violet, Ivory, Black

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Blue Green, Yellow Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Alpine, Bedding Plant, Container, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes