Origin & Family.
It is native to Europe, North America and the temperate regions of Asia, both in the mountains and on arable land. It is a genus from the extensive family Ranunculaceae, and thus finds itself in the diverse and sometimes illustrious company of flowers such as the anemone, the clematis, the buttercup and the helleborus. It is a hardy, but deciduous perennial plant and has about 120 varieties. And because it is so easy to cross and to seed, it lends itself very well to a wild discovery garden.
What does the Columbine look like?
The plant itself does not look very spectacular, but the striking, bent flowers with the five strikingly pointed petals and the three-lobed leaves make up for that. The flowering time is approximately from April to July. After flowering, the underside of the plant becomes ugly, but you can easily solve this by putting ground cover or other low vegetation around it. This way you can still enjoy this beautiful plant after flowering.
The columbine has variants in many different and striking colors, both single-colored and with hues. A combination of different types of columbines creates a special mix of flowers in beautiful colors.
Be careful with children and (pets) animals!
However, be careful with small children and pets, because the columbine is, like many of its relatives, weakly poisonous
Bees and butterflies will be very grateful if you put these nectar-rich and beautiful flowers in your garden. It is a real treat for them! The tip of the petals is formed by a honey gland, and no bee or bumblebee can resist this.
The genus Aquilegia consists of about 120 different varieties. We will describe some of them below.
Aquilegia vulgaris - Wild columbine: The wild columbine is very rare in South Limburg, but it is more common in the rest of the country. This variant is also most commonly offered for sale in shops and garden centers. The plant grows to a height of 45-60 cm, flowers from May to July and is available in ao purple-blue, red-purple, blue, white and pink.
Aquilegia alpina - Alpine columbine: This variety is originally from the Alps. The plant does not grow taller than 45 cm and flowers from May to June. The flowers are strikingly blue in color.
Aquilegia chrysantha: The chrysantha has beautiful yellow flowers. It grows to a height of 100 cm and flowers in June and July.
Aquilegia flabellata: This plant also comes from the mountains. This makes it particularly suitable for a rock garden. The plant grows to a maximum height of 20 cm. The flowering time is from May to June, and it is available in various colors.
Aquilegia formosa: This variety grows to about 70 cm high and has yellow / orange flowers. The plant flowers in May and June.
Aquilegia atrata - Dark columbine: This is the dark colored variety, which is found throughout the Alpine region and the Apenines. It grows to a height of 100 cm and flowers from May to July. The flowers are dark violet colored.
Care of the columbine
It is a very easy and rewarding plant to have in your garden. It likes a spot in the sun or partial shade, and it needs loose, humus-rich soil. If you also ensure that it does not dry out, you have a satisfied plant.
The columbine is a perennial plant and that is true in two ways. Firstly, you will enjoy your columbine for a few years, and secondly, it sows remarkably easily.
Sowing the plant is very easy. When the plant has finished flowering, it produces very decorative seed pods. When they are a bit ripe, you can cut them off and dry them further. You then remove the seeds from the boxes and keep them dark, cool and dry until next spring. Guaranteed enjoyment!
If you like a lush garden, you can simply sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil and sprinkle them with a layer of soil, or you can grow them indoors on a layer of soil. And if you have several different varieties in your garden (or neighboring gardens), you will also discover that it is always a surprise what color (s) the newly emerged plants will be. The different varieties of the columbine are easy to cross with each other.