Green columbine is a mound-forming herbaceous perennial native to China, Japan, Mongolia, and Siberia where it grows in forests, grassy slopes, valleys and wet places. It is a member of the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, that also includes delphinium, anemone, and monkshood. The blue-green leaves are biternate and lobed; the fragrant flowers are ¾” long, nodding to semi-erect, and have light green sepals and yellow green to brownish purple petals with short straight or slightly curved spurs. They appear in loose clusters of three to seven from late spring to early summer. The mounding habit makes the plant a good choice for a rock garden and its preference for shade makes it useful for woodland gardens. Self-seeds. The genus name, Aquilegia, may come from the Latin word aquila meaning eagle and refers to the spurs that resemble an eagle’s talons. The specific epithet, viridiflora, comes from the Latin words viridis meaning green, and florus meaning flowered.
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Bloom: Fragrant, ¾” long, nodding to semi-erect flowers with light green sepals and yellow-green to brownish purple petals veering short straight or slightly curved spurs; in loose clusters of three to seven from late spring to early summer
Size: 12-18” H x 12” W
Light: Part shade to full sun
Soil: Fertile, moderately moist, well-drained
Hardiness: Zones 3-8
Care: Deadhead to prolong bloom; cut back foliage when it becomes unattractive.
Pests and Diseases: Leaf minors, borers
Propagation: Seed; division
Companion Plants: Rockcress (Arabis), periwinkle (Vinca minor), Lamium maculata, blue star creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis), iris, peony,
Outstanding Selections: ‘Chocolate Soldier’ (brownish petals)