Aquilegia chrysanthus fl c foliageThis herbaceous perennial is a native of southwestern United States including parts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah were it grows in moist places in sheltered canyons. It forms a loose clump with a mound of basal leaves and several long branched stems bearing the flowers. The bluish-green leaves have three leaflets with three lobes. The flowers are upward facing, 2-3 inches across, and have petals that are deeper yellow than the sepals. The spurs are hooked and 2 to 2½” long. Plants grow best where summers are cool but may go dormant during periods of drought. A dwarf cultivar is available. The common name columbine (from Latin columbinus, dove) derives from the resemblance of the flowers to a cluster. The genus name, Aquilegia is from the Latin aquila meaning eagle, and refers to the spurs which are thought to look like the talons of an eagle. Use in a cottage garden, shade garden, or naturalized area where the flowers will attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Yellow, upward facing flowers with long hooked spurs in spring

Size: 2½- 3½ “ H x 1’ W

Light: Part shade

Soil: Average, medium moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 3-9

Care: Cut to the ground if plant goes dormant in summer

Pests and Diseases: Leaf miners, spider miets, aphids; rot in overlymoist soil

Propagation: Seed, division

Companion Plants: Blue spikes such as Nepeta and Canterburybells (Companula medium); red oriental poppies

Outstanding Selections:

    ‘Silver Queen’ (3” wide white flowers)
    ‘Yellow Queen’ (2-3″ wide lemon yellow flowers)

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By Karen