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AQUILEGIA coerulea

Image of Aquilegia coerulea

Jesse Saylor

Family

Ranunculaceae

Botanical Name

AQUILEGIA coerulea

Plant Common Name

Colorado Blue Columbine

General Description

As the state flower of Colorado, this beautiful blue and white-flowered perennial offers outstanding color to early summer borders. It is native to a large part of the American west where it thrives in the woodlands of the Rockies and other mountain ranges. Its clumps of are lush and pretty when they first appear in spring. The blue-green leaves are three-parted and have a texture similar to that of maidenhair fern. While plants are attractive during the blooming season, the leaves die back when hot, dry summer temperatures hit.

The flowers are what really shine. They rise atop thin, purple branched stems from spring through early summer. Each large, spurred bloom is blue and white. The pretty outer petals are pale blue and the spurred, fluted inner petals are pale blue at the tips and white at the mouth. Each flower has a flourish of yellow stamens in the center.

Columbine grows best in full sun to partial shade and fertile well-drained soil that’s evenly moist. In more direct alpine sun or hot dry lowland climates, increase soil moisture accordingly. This, like many other columbine, can be a short-lived. Thankfully, the plants gently self-sow in the garden.

Colorado blue columbine is deer resistant and easy to grow. It is ideal for woodland gardens and partially shaded mixed borders. After blooming it offers no ornamental appeal, so it should be planted among garden plants that look pretty later in the season.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    18"-24" / 45.7cm - 61.0cm

  • Width

    12"-18" / 30.5cm - 45.7cm

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Western United States, Europe

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Blue

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Blue Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    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

    Alpine, Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes