Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Have you ever grown Columbine? It's one of the most beautiful and rugged flowers I know of. It provides nectar for bees early in the Spring and humming birds love it too. The long spurred type shown in the photo above blooms in May and June here in the California foothills. The bonnet type shown below blooms in April and May.

So many shapes and colors! The bonnet types like a little shade and the long spurred types will grow in sun or shade. Both need moist soil.

When they're in bloom they look so wild.

The foliage the rest of the year is lovely too.

Growing Columbine is very easy. With fresh seed like this you can just scatter in around right away. If you keep the soil moist it should sprout in a week or two.

The seedlings look like this.

 If you wait more than a few weeks the seed will begin to go dormant. This dormancy period is broken by exposure to cold. You can either plant the seed in the Fall or store it in the freezer for 6 weeks, then plant in the Spring. If you would like to give Columbine a try, I'll be happy to send you some free seed.


  1. Love Columbines, got some of the spurred ones this year, they are fab. Will be spreading lots of seeds.

  2. Kate, how are you? I am reading your old posts and happy to do it. Columbine is one of my favorites, but I've never seen the bonnet type. Feeling a little obsessed about now. . . .

    1. Hi Anastasia!
      How nice to get a new comment on a really old post. Bonnet columbines are adorable. After all these years of having both kinds, they've mixed a little and I'm getting tall semi-spurred ones in pinks and blues. It's fun to see what each year brings! It's been a long and smokey summer here and my poor little garden and I have suffered a bit. After tomorrow, when our oldest daughter gets married and after next week, when our middle daughter jets off to Trinidad to begin her Fulbright project, I will resume my nice boring little life and I promise to update this blog!


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