Growing columbine in containers helps you manage the care for these delicate yet hardy perennials that are outstanding in beauty.
Are you looking for a beautiful yet hardy flower to add to your garden? Trust us, your search is over! Columbine is a lovely woodland plant thriving in partial sun or dappled shade areas. It originates from the genus Aquilegia that has about 100 species and cultivars. Common names for this flower are Granny’s Bonnet and the actual botanical name, Aquilegia.
Columbine plants are popular due to their bell-shaped, spurred flowers. These flowers come in a wide range of colors from bright reds, muted pastels, purples, and bi-colors. They can grow up to the height of 15 to 20 inches tall. These plants are low maintenance and add a dash of color when planted indoors or outdoors. They are loved by hummingbirds who feed on their nectar.
Columbines bloom in late spring to early summer. You can plant them in containers in late winter as a head start for its growth journey.
Growing Columbine In Containers
There are a few important steps you will need to follow.
- Purchase and Sow Seeds. You can buy columbine seeds from your local nursery or garden supply center. Plant a few seeds in each pot and lightly cover them with good soil to ensure excellent soil to seed contact. Do not plant your seeds too deep as they will not germinate. Columbines have a long taproot that needs to be transplanted to bigger pots after they germinate.
- Provide the Right Conditions for Germination. The seeds need to be kept moist so water them frequently. Keep the pots in a window that gets sunlight and shade. Do not place them facing a window where the sunlight is strongest. Germination will happen between 20 days to a month.
- Transplanting Columbines. When the columbine flowers are several inches high, transplant them. Plant each flower in a medium-sized container. Or you can group several of them in a container if it’s large enough to hold them. Space them between 14-18 inches apart. Choose the containers you want – plastic, clay, wood, or stone that complements your plants. The containers must have drainage holes at the bottom. If they don’t have to drill some holes and place a ceramic plate under them to collect the drained water. Fill each container with good quality potting soil that is well-drained. Remove the small columbines from the nursery and place it in the middle of the container where it spreads the roots for better growth.
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Caring For Columbines In Containers
Growing columbine in containers allows you to water the plants with ease. Water until it drains and collects in the ceramic plates. Mulch if you wish to help retain moisture in the soil. You can also mulch to keep the roots cool and enhance the look of your container. Do not place them in direct sunlight rather keep the containers in a shaded patio or near a window that filters the sunlight. Feed the new plants with liquid fertilizer twice during the growing season for healthy roots and flowers.
Is Columbine Flower Toxic?
Columbine is classified as having minor toxicity and associated with gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. Therefore, it should not be ingested. Animals should also not be allowed to ingest columbine because they can experience distress, coma, behavioral changes, or even death.
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Types of Columbine Flowers
Aquilegia ‘McKana Hybrid’: It features bi-colored flowers with long spurs in shades of red and yellow, blue and white, and pink and purple. They grow tall up to 30 inches long.
Aquilegia flabellata ‘Nana’: This dwarf cultivar has light blue and white bi-colored flowers that are 6-9 inches tall.
Aquilegia caerulea: This variety is a rocky mountain columbine that has grayish-green, fern-like foliage. It produces very large white flowers with violet-blue sepals with yellow stamens and grows up to 24 inches tall.
Aquilegia ‘Crimson Star’: This type features crimson red and white bi-colored flowers with long spurs. They can grow up to 24 -30 inches.
Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Clementine Salmon-Rose’: This long-blooming variety with salmon color produces upward-facing blooms. These blooms resemble the blossoms of double-flowered clematis. They grow 14-16 inches tall.
Common Pests That Affect Columbine Flowers
Columbine foliage is attacked by leaf miners, but the damage is not too serious. It gives the foliage a variegated look with their doodling. Leaf miners are easy to control and eliminate their doodling too. Inspect the columbine leaves and crush the larvae with your fingers. Besides the leaf miners, columbine has very few projects to deal with.
If you notice any other pest problem in your flowerbeds, use organic pesticide to resolve the issues. Neem oil is also an excellent choice that you can use. Bugs can’t stand the taste or smell of Neem, they will therefore stay away.