Like ballerinas, Columbine blossoms dance on the soft breezes that caress the late spring garden. Rising on slender stems from a deep green stage of scalloped tri-lobed leaves, the delicate flowers of Aquilegia (Aquilegia), commonly called Columbine, look like cheerful dancers, their colorful, long, oval-petalled “skirts” draping elegantly down from a perky, protruding yellow stigma at the center, surrounded by a tiny collar of pale round petals.
An old-fashioned favorite, Aquilegia is easy to grow and provides a graceful, long-lived display that attracts attention -- and hummingbirds. Originally a meadow and woodland flower, Aquilegia has adapted well to life in home gardens. Columbine thrive in full sun to partial shade and need from 3 to 6 hours of sunlight daily. Columbine can be particularly effective planted en masse beneath large trees. In late spring, enough sunlight passes through the still-leafing branches of even large-leafed shade trees to accommodate Columbine’s sunlight needs and produce charming displays.
Aquilegia grows best in fertile, humus-rich soil that is well drained. After planting, water garden beds as needed to keep the soil evenly moist. More frequent watering may be required during hot weather to prevent wilting. Application of a slow-release fertilizer in the spring will encourage prolific blooming the following year. For best display, remove flower blossoms as they fade. Once established, this lovely perennial flower will return to grace your garden year after year. To encourage showy spring displays, Aquilegia plants should be divided every 3 years, either after blooms fade in late spring or in the early fall. If dividing or planting Aquilegia in the fall, allow enough time for plants to become well