Aquilegia canadensis – Eastern Red Columbine

This is an erect, branching perennial, up to 2 ft. tall, well-known for its showy flowers. A nodding, red and yellow flower with upward spurred petals alternating with spreading, colored sepals and numerous yellow stamens hanging below the petals. The compound leaves, divided into round-lobed threes, are attractive in their own right.

Aquilegia canadensis, beautiful woodland wildflower has showy, drooping, bell-like flowers equipped with distinctly backward-pointing tubes, similar to the garden Columbines. These tubes, or spurs, contain nectar that attracts long-tongued insects and hummingbirds especially adapted for reaching the sweet secretion. It is reported that Native Americans rubbed the crushed seeds on the hands of men as a love charm.


Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Normally 20 to 30 inches.
Fruit: Tan


Water Use: Low, Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Drought Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes

Soil Description: Sandy, well-drained soils. Medium Loam, Sandy Loam, Sandy, Limestone-based. Not too rich.
Conditions Comments: Red columbine likes moisture but must be in well drained soil. Rich garden soil encourages rank vegetative growth and weak stems and shortens the plants lifespan, while plants in thin, sandy soils maintain a tight, compact habit and can live for many years. It is evergreen unless the temperature exceeds 110 degrees F or -10 degrees F, which will cause the leaves to go dormant until the temperature returns to a more tolerable level. Do not plant in continuous full sun, as growth will be stunted and leaves may burn.


Use Ornamental: Valued as a shade-loving perennial with attractive foliage and eye-catching blooms. Also does well as a saucerless pot plant.
Use Wildlife: Blooms attract hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and hawk moths. Seeds consumed by finches and buntings.
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate


Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Most easily propagated by seed because mature rootstocks are difficult to divide and transplant.
Seed Collection: Flowers go to seed approximately 2 weeks after emerging.
Maintenance: Be careful of over watering in summer – the crowns can rot. Cut back old seed heads and stems in summer to keep tidy looking.


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