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Aquilegia Planting Instructions

Planting Instructions for Aquilegia (columbine):

Bloom Time:  Late spring Light:  Full sun to part shade
Soil:  Average to rich, well-drained Moisture:  Average
Planting Depth:  With top of crown 1/2" below soil level, mulch lightly Spacing:  15 to 18"

Upon arrival:  Unpack box and check that you have everything on your packing list. Bare root columbine should be dry but firm when dormant. If condensation has formed on the inside of the bag, open and let it air out then close it again. Plant everything within a few days.

Soil/Location:  Plant your columbine in full sun to part shade in average to rich, loose and airy, well-draining soil. Some of the species such as Aquilegia canadensis will tolerate full shade however most of today's hybrids do best in some sunlight.

Moisture:  Aquilegia prefers to start dry and the soil should dry out between watering. Avoid areas with heavy soil or clay or they will be very short lived.

Spacing:  Plant about 15 to 18" apart.

Depth:  Plant with the top of the crown about 1/2" below soil level and then mulch lightly. After planting the root should not be showing.

General Instructions:  Amend your garden with compost or peat humus to enrich or loosen the soil, if needed. Mix a couple teaspoons of garden food or bone meal into the planting hole and plant at the depth listed above. After planting you can water in once and then they prefer a bit of a dry start when they are dormant in spring and have no top growth. Once actively growing it is okay to water once a week or so, making sure the soil dries out completely between watering and is never wet.

Landscape Uses:  Columbines are excellent perennials for the late spring and early summer garden providing a great splash of color just as the spring bulbs and wildflowers are finishing up. They combine well with Peonies, Iris, daylilies and Heuchera, or plant them in dappled shade with hostas and ferns.

Self-sown seedlings are common but are easy to transplant or remove as needed, however we often let them seed about and naturalize. Seedlings are highly variable and fun to see what will bloom next.