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Aquilegia canadensis

Wild columbine

Red flowers with yellow centers hang like drifts of softly illuminated lanterns in April and May. Excellent as a shady rock garden naturalizer, it also is quite content in average garden conditions. Occurs naturally in rich rocky woods, north-facing slopes, cliffs, ledges, pastures, and roadside banks. Native to all states east of the Rockies, except Louisiana.

Benefits

  • Attracts butterflies, bumblebees and hummingbirds
  • Flowers for an extended period of time in spring
  • Thrives in sun or shade; will self sow and naturalize
  • Finches and buntings eat the seed
  • Deer and rabbit resistant

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Thrives in part to full shade in any well-drained soil. Plants tolerate full sun if temperatures are cool, but they prefer partial shade. They may go dormant in mid summer if stressed by heat or drought, but will emerge again in late winter.


Height
1-2 ft

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Spread
1 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

Native Range

Ledges, woods, and cliffs; Quebec to Manitoba south to Texas and Florida

Native Trivia

Aquilegia canadensis is the larval host for the Columbine Duskywing butterfly (Erynnis lucilius). Pollinated by hummingbirds, which depend on Wild Columbine as an important source of early season nectar. An old-fashioned garden plant, wild columbine has been cultivated in Europe and America since the mid-1600s.

Good Companions
Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina), Smooth Aster (Aster laevis), Cranesbill (Geranium maculatum), Coral Bells (Heuchera americana)

Characteristics & Attributes

Shade
Sun
Beneficial insects
Butterflies
Songbirds
Deer Resistant
Ground cover
Plan Sub Group
Low Perennials
Medium Perennials
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
Soil
Humus-rich
Well-drained
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Moist
Moist but well-drained
Attracts Wildlife
Hummingbirds
Bloom Time
Late Spring / Early Summer
Critter Resistance
Rabbit Resistant
Native Habitat
Forest
Foliage Color
Green
Uses
Accent
Border
Cut or dried flower
Meadow
Naturalizes
Rock garden
Native to
Alabama
Arkansas
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Nebraska
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin