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AQUILEGIA canadensis

Image of Aquilegia canadensis

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Ranunculaceae

Botanical Name

AQUILEGIA canadensis

Plant Common Name

Canadian Columbine, Red Columbine

General Description

The easy to grow red columbine is an airy, herbaceous perennial native to the eastern United States and Canada. In its native habitat it's found in open woodlands and forest margins, so it's quite shade tolerant and ideal for naturalistic woodland gardens. It has an open habit and elegant look when in bloom.

In late spring to early summer, its tall branched stems bear dainty, nodding, red and yellow flowers with prominent spurred nectaries. These are subtended by delicate, ferny, three-parted leaves of soft green to blue-green that disappear by fall.

Red columbine grows best in moist, but well-drained, soil and partial sun. It can be short-lived but self-sows gently and will naturalize over time. Deadhead spent flowers immediately if you don’t want new plants to seed in. The leaves of all columbine may be damaged by leaf miners.

Plant these in any informal shaded border. Hummingbirds and bees are highly attracted to its nectar-rich flowers. After flowering they offer little to no ornamental interest, so be sure to interplant them with annuals and perennials that look pretty later in the season.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    12"-32" / 30.5cm - 81.3cm

  • Width

    12"-24" / 30.5cm - 61.0cm

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, Central United States, South-Central United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Red, Orange Red

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Sea Green, Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Sea Green, Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Sea Green, Blue Green, Yellow Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Cutflower, Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes