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Plant of the Week – Columbine

June 6, 2007 by Jocelyn

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My mom and I were at the greenhouse this weekend shopping, when we spotted a bunch of Columbine plants. I have always loved these unique looking flowers ever since the first time I found them growing wild in the woods by our house when I was young. The wild Columbine were red and yellow; I would always pick them and put them in my bedroom so I could enjoy them as much as possible. At the greenhouse this weekend we found a lot of really beautiful colors, but we haven’t tried growing them as perennials in our yard so we only got one. I am really hoping that it does well and comes back next year. Then we will have a good reason to buy a bunch more!

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Columbine are hardy to zones 3-9, but up here in the cooler zones we will have to remember to cover them with hay or mulch this fall just to protect them from our very cold winter temperatures. That should give them a better chance of coming back for us again next summer. It’s a good idea to put these plants in light shade or part sun, but they can adapt and do well in full sun as well. One other great thing that I found about Columbine is that they can easily spread in your garden as well. All you need to do is just let them go and they will seed themselves. If you don’t want more pretty plant babies, make sure to remove the flowers once they start fading. These plants can grown as high as 2 feet tall, and will attract butterflies and hummingbirds into your garden as well!  Honestly, I really can’t find anything wrong with these plants.  I just love them.

On a side note, I’ve realized that when the time comes that I actually have my own home and yard to keep, I am probably going to have thousands of plants.  I just can’t seem to control myself when it comes to adding more flower beds or more patio containers.  Oh well, for now I will just hope that when that time comes, my yard will be huge!   If you have any other questions or comments about Columbine, please let me know!


8 Comments »

  1. Shirley says:

    Nice site! I just posted pictures of our wild red and yellow columbine, like the ones you mentioned from your childhood, if you’d like to reminisce! :o)

  2. Ki says:

    Columbines are about our most reliable perennials and they even reseed so we have scads of them everywhere. We like the gracefulness of the flowers. Your photos are very lovely.

  3. Mike says:

    Nice blog and great photos. I have both white and blue columbines in my garden. I got seed from friends a few years ago and ever since they’ve been going to town. This year one of my whites is over 3 feet tall with a 2 foot spread!! I’m a zone 5/6 and have never bothered to mulch them for the winter. This year we had -25F lows for over a week and my babies took it like troopers.
    Happy gardening!

  4. Jocelyn says:

    Hi everyone, thanks for the wonderful comments! Shirley, I looked at your site and those are wonderful pictures that brought back great memories. I still haven’t seen any around here yet this year, but I’m hoping to soon!
    Ki, thank you for the compliment on my photos. The reseeding is one of the greatest things about Columbine.
    Mike, congrats on your huge Columbine! It sounds like you’re doing an awesome job taking care of them. Good luck in all your future gardening, and thanks for reading!

  5. Dick Morin says:

    I live in Conn and planted 3 Blue Columbines this spring. While they grew quite large in size,they never flowered. Is this unusual for the first year.

    Also, how should I take care of them this fall…cut them back or wait until spring.

  6. JVela says:

    I live in Minnesota and I purchased this plant in Spring ’09 and put it in a large flower pot outside my window. It blossomed and was an amazing beauty all summer. It was so great, I had to go back and buy one for my mom so she could enjoy it too!

    Well, Spring/Summer 2010, the plant never came back. I was a little disappointed because I thought the plant had just died and was not going to come back. Luckily, I got a new job and never got around to doing anything with the flower pot (yes, all summer the flower pot was empty and ugly).

    Fast forward to today, Spring 2011. About a few weeks ago, I noticed that there were some sprouts coming up. I just thought it was a weed or something that “blew in” from the wind – another plant or something. WRONG!

    It’s a Columbine plant that is growing and has 3 flower buds. One of the buds has opened. I can see the spurs in the back and it’s a faint blue. I guess I’m really surprised because I didn’t expect it to come back. Where did it come from? Does this plant skip a season?

    I’m going to be harvesting the seeds this year!

  7. Linda Hoyer says:

    When u deadhead Columbines, do u let them fall and lay on the ground to “reseed”?

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