Wild Columbine is a native perennial flower that can be commonly found growing in rocky woods, ledges, and slopes throughout the mid to eastern United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 2' and features 1-2” red and yellow, drooping bell-shaped blooms. This plant can be grown in a container, it attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and pollinating moths, it resists deer and rabbits, self sows, and is great as a cut flower!
Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit
Species: Aquilegia canadensis
Cultivar: Wild Columbine
Native to: Afghanistan, Alabama, Alaska, Albania, Alberta, Algeria, Altay, Amur, Arizona, Arkansas, Austria, Baltic States, Belarus, Belgium, British Columbia, Bulgaria, Buryatiya, California, Central European Rus, China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, Chita, Colorado, Connecticut, Corse, Czechoslovakia, Delaware, Florida, France, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Inner Mongolia, Iowa, Iran, Ireland, Irkutsk, Italy, Italy, Japan, Kansas, Kazakhstan, Kentucky, Khabarovsk, Kirgizstan, Korea, Krasnoyarsk, Kuril Is., Magadan, Maine, Manchuria, Manitoba, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Mongolia, Montana, Morocco, Nebraska, Nepal, Netherlands, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Caucasus, North Dakota, Northwest European R, Northwest Territorie, Ohio, Oklahoma, Ontario, Oregon, Pakistan, Pennsylvania, Poland, Portugal, Primorye, Qinghai, Québec, Rhode I., Romania, Sakhalin, Sardegna, Saskatchewan, Sicilia, South Carolina, South Dakota, Spain, Switzerland, Tadzhikistan, Taiwan, Tennessee, Texas, Tibet, Transcaucasus, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Turkmenistan, Tuva, Ukraine, Utah, Uzbekistan, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Himalaya, West Siberia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Xinjiang, Yakutskiya, Yugoslavia, Yukon
Introduced into: Argentina South, Azores, Canary Is., Chile Central, Chile South, Denmark, East European Russia, Ecuador, Finland, Kamchatka, Krym, Madeira, New Brunswick, New South Wales, New Zealand North, New Zealand South, Newfoundland, North European Russi, Norway, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward I., South European Russi, Sweden, Tasmania, Victoria
Ease of Growing: Moderate.
Grown as: Perennial
Maturity (Blooms): Spring
Light: Full Sun to Part Shade.
Soil Moisture: Medium.
Attracts Beneficial Insects?: Yes. Bees, Butterflies, Hummingbirds, Pollinating Moths, as well as resisting deer and rabbits.
Sow Depth: On soil surface.
USDA Zone: 3a-8b
Produces: dark green, rounded leaflets and nodding 1” blooms with red sepals and pale yellow inner petals.
Using companion plants as a border, backdrop, or interplanting in your garden beds will allow you to harness the ecosystem to its full potential. It is best to use plants native to your area so that the insects you seek to attract will know what to look for!
Phlox, a purplish-blue woodland flower, work well with columbines to form a shady border. Both types of flowers prefer light to moderate shade and bloom in the mid- to late spring. Another border option is the toad lily, which blooms just after the columbine wanes in spring, leading to a beautiful garden throughout the season.
A good vegetable companion to the columbine is rhubarb which, in addition to its nutritional qualities, deters the red spider mites which often prey on columbines. Rhubarb leaves can also form a natural deterrent to blackspot on roses when boiled.
Other light-shade lovings plants prove good companions to columbines. These include ferns, woodland flowers, Jeepers Creepers Tiarella, Chocolate Chip Ajuga and hostas. Cottage or prairie plants, such as False Indigo or Autumn Bluch Coreopsis, can be combined to create an informal feel while allowing varying soil conditions and light shade to yield blossoms.