Plant of the week: Columbine

By: JULIE MCINTYRE Special to The Gazette
March 22, 2014
photo - The Columbine, Colorado's state flower, is a lot tougher than it looks.
The Columbine, Colorado's state flower, is a lot tougher than it looks. 

Colorado's state flower is an often overlooked native that performs well in filtered shade, requires little water once established and blooms in spring when flowers are a welcome sight. It prefers well-drained sites, but will adapt to average or compost-enriched soils. These are tough plants with such delicate looking flowers, usually with white centers surrounded by blue, yellow or red petals with long spurs trailing off the back. Dwarf varieties offer smaller flowers on shorter plants; different hybrids offer flower colors from deep violet to burgundy and yellow. Can seed-in to create a meadow look in a shady spot. Can be planted now as they tolerate the last frosts of spring. These plants are deer and rabbit resistant, and will attract hummingbirds to the yard.


Common Name: Columbine

Scientific name: Aquilegia spp.

Type: Perennial

Height: 12-18 inches

Width: 10-12 inches

Blooms: May-June, colors vary on species or hybrid

Where to plant: Full sun with afternoon shade to full and partial shade

Water requirement: Low to moderate, drought tolerant once established

Preparing the soil: Average soil, prefers well-drained areas

Hardy: Zone 3 (up to 10,000 feet)

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