A Comprehensive Guide to Growing and Caring for Columbine


Columbines are a short-lived perennial plant, but if you allow the flower heads mature without deadheading them, they will easily self-sow and, under the right growth circumstances, may quickly produce a colony of plants. Seeds germinate about 20 to 30 days due to their low development rate. Humans cannot consume columbine plants.

Common Name Columbine
Botanical Name Aquilegia spp.
Family Ranunculaceae
Plant Type Herbaceous perennial
Mature Size 1-3 ft. tall, 1-2 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full or partial
Soil Type Sandy, loamy, moist but well-drained
Soil pH Neutral to slightly acidic
Bloom Time Spring to summer
Flower Color Red, orange, yellow, blue, purple, violet, pink, white
Hardiness Zones Zones 3 to 8
Native Area North America, Europe, Asia
Toxicity Toxic to humans

How to Care for Columbine

Pests and Diseases

Columbine plants are relatively disease and pest free. However, they can be susceptible to aphids, slugs, and snails. If you notice any of these pests on your plant, you can remove them by hand or treat them with an insecticide.

Common problems with Columbine include powdery mildew, rust, and leaf spot. These problems are usually caused by too much moisture or poor air circulation around the plant. To prevent these problems from occurring, make sure


You should deadhead the plant as soon as the flowers start to fade. This will help encourage more blooming. If you want the plant to reseed, then let the flower heads remain on. By mid-summer, cut the entire plant back by about half its size to encourage new growth and a second flush of blooms in autumn.

Propagating Columbine

Columbines are easy to propagate from seed or stem cuttings. Sow seeds indoors in late winter or early spring. To take stem cuttings, use a sharp knife or pair of scissors to snip off a four-inch piece of stem from a healthy columbine plant.

Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the stem and dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Plant the cutting in a pot filled with moistened potting mix. Place the pot in a warm, sunny spot and keep the soil moist. The cutting should root within four to six weeks. Once it has rooted, you can transplant it into your garden.

Columbines are also easy to divide when they become overcrowded. This can be done in early spring or autumn. To divide columbine plants, dig up the entire plant and carefully pull it apart into smaller sections, making sure that each section has several roots attached to it. Replant the divisions immediately and water them well.


Columbines require a fair amount of water, especially when they are first getting established. Once they are established, they will need to be watered about once a week. If you live in an area with high humidity, you may need to water your plants more often to prevent powdery mildew from forming on the leaves.

You can also help reduce the amount of water your columbines need by mulching around them with bark chips or shredded leaves. This will help keep the soil moist and cool and will also help prevent weeds from growing around your plants.


Use a liquid fertilizer that is high in phosphorus every month during the growing season (spring to fall) to encourage healthy growth and better blooming. Avoid fertilizers that are high in nitrogen, as this can reduce the number of flowers your plant produces.

Temperature and Humidity

Columbines are perennial plants that will come back year after year. They prefer cooler temperatures and will not tolerate heat for long periods of time. If you live in an area with hot summers, you may want to plant your columbines in a shady spot or grow them in containers so that you can move them into the shade when the temperatures start to rise.

Columbines are also relatively drought-tolerant once they are established. However, they will need to be watered more frequently if the weather is hot and dry. Mulching around your plants will help keep the soil moist and cool.


Columbine does best in partial shade, but can also tolerate full sun. If you live in an area with hot summers, it is best to plant your columbines in a spot that gets some afternoon shade to prevent the leaves from scorching.


Columbines prefer a well-drained, loamy soil that is high in organic matter. You can improve the drainage of your soil by mixing in some sand or perlite. To increase the organic matter content of your soil, you can add compost or manure before planting.

If you are growing columbines in containers, use a potting mix that is designed for flowers and contains perlite or vermiculite to help with drainage.

When to Plant

Columbines can be planted anytime from early spring to late autumn. If you live in an area with hot summers, it is best to plant your columbines in the spring so that they have time to establish themselves before the temperatures start to rise.

What to do with columbine after they bloom?

Columbine blooms in the spring and in early summer, based on the type. When it is finished flowering cut off the stalks of flowers to ensure that the plant is tidy. If you wish to revive the columbine’s appearance after it blooms, cut the entire plant back by one-third to half its height.

This will help to encourage fresh growth and new blooms. After you have cut back the plant, water it well and fertilize it with a balanced fertilizer. You can also divide the plant at this time if it is looking overcrowded.

How do you winterize columbine flowers?

Make sure the soil is moist however, you must not let the soil become soggy. Take out any columbine leaves that are wilted. Cut the leaves that have faded to the ground. Scatter a thin layer of foliage mulch on top of the cut columbine plant. This will help protect the plant from harsh winter weather conditions. Water your columbine plant before the first frost hits to give it a good chance of surviving the winter season.

If you live in an area with particularly cold winters, you may want to consider covering your columbine flowers with a layer of straw or leaves. This will provide extra insulation and protection from the elements. You should also make sure that any young plants are well-watered before the first frost hits, as this will give them a better chance of survival. By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your columbine flowers stay healthy and beautiful all winter long!

Should columbine be cut back after blooming?

The process of pruning columbine plants to the foliage at the base after the blooms have finished can help to alleviate the problem of insects, too. You might even be fortunate enough to have another set of stem growth in some weeks, so you can enjoy another round of flowers.

If you choose to prune your columbine plants, be sure to use sharp shears or a knife. Cut the plant back to about an inch above the ground, being careful not to damage any of the new growth that may be starting.

New stems will sprout from the base of the plant, so don’t worry about cutting it back too far. After a few weeks, you should see new growth and eventually, more flowers. Columbia is a beautiful flower that can brighten up any garden. Pruning it after blooming can help keep it healthy and promote new growth.

Do columbine flowers spread?

Columbine is a natural spreader of seeds, which are typically scattered throughout the bottom of the plant and also appear at other locations in the garden. The clumps get bigger as time passes and can be divided with attention. Start planting at the beginning of spring or early in the fall to bloom next year.

Columbine flowers are a beautiful addition to any garden and with proper care, will bloom for many years. These hardy plants are relatively easy to grow and require very little maintenance. With their showy blooms, columbine flowers add color and interest to any landscape.

How do you prune columbine flowers?

Do columbines multiply?

After being established, columbine grows for many years. Although they are perennial plants however, they can also multiply quickly through self-seeding. There are over 70 species, which includes several species that are native North American varieties. The majority of columbines bloom from mid-spring until early summer.

Columbines are not difficult to grow from seed. You can start them indoors about six weeks before the last frost date in your area. Sow the seeds on the surface of a good quality, well-draining potting mix and cover with a thin layer of sand. Keep the soil moist but not wet and place in a bright location.

The seeds should germinate in 21-30 days. Once they have sprouted, thin out the weaker seedlings, leaving only the strongest plants. transplant them into individual pots and grow them on until they are large enough to plant outdoors.

If you want to sow columbine seeds directly outdoors, wait until after the last frost date has passed. Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil and sow the seeds on the surface of the soil. Gently press them into the soil but do not cover them with sand or soil. Keep the area moist until germination occurs. Thin out the weaker seedlings, leaving only the strongest plants.

Columbines are relatively easy to care for once they are established. Water them deeply about once a week, providing more water during periods of prolonged drought.

Final Thoughts

Columbine flowers are a beautiful addition to any garden and with proper care, will bloom for many years. These hardy plants are relatively easy to grow and require very little maintenance. With their showy blooms, columbine flowers add color and interest to any landscape. By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your columbine flowers stay healthy and beautiful all winter long!

Jessica Miles

Jessica Miles is a writer for Botanique Boutique, a plant and gardening blog. She has always loved plants, flowers, and anything green. When she was younger, she used to watch her grandfather garden and would be in awe of the beautiful flowers he would grow. Now Jessica writes about all things related to plants and gardening - from beginner tips on how to start growing your own plants, to in-depth guides on caring for a specific type of flower or plant. She loves helping others learn about this fascinating hobby, and hopes that her writing will inspire people to get outside and enjoy nature!

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