Anyone who has seen the huge blue flowers of this columbine under the blue skies of the Rocky Mountains knows what a special plant this is. So special, in fact, that it is the official state flower of Colorado. The upright flowers are 2-3” across and have straight spurs that are 1-2” long and often tipped with green. The flower petals are violet or white while the sepals that stand conspicuously around them are blue or violet. Colorado columbine is less vigorous than some of the other columbines but is longer-lived, lasting 5-6 years in the garden. A native from Montana to Arizona and New Mexico, breeders have used Colorado columbine as a parent for hybrids.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Upright flowers, 2-3” across with blue or purple sepals and white or violet petals, and 1”-2” long straight spurs with green tips are produced in late spring to early summer.

Foliage: Blue-green, compound pinnate leaves are borne on long petioles.

Size: 1-2’ H x 2’ W

Light: Sun to partial shade

Soil: Rich, moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Care:Remove foliage damaged by leaf miners; deadhead to prolong bloom.

Pests and Diseases: Poor drainage in summer after blooming may lead to crown rot. Leaves susceptible to leaf miners; cut remove damaged leaves and fresh new ones will grow.

Propagation: Seed after cold stratification

Companion plants: Lady’s mantle, brunnera, woodland phlox, spring bulbs.

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By Karen