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Aquilegia x hybrid (Columbine, Granny’s Bonnet)

Aquilegia x hybrid (Columbine, Granny’s Bonnet)

Aquilegia, pronounced aqui-le-gia is a genus of approximately 70 species that are grown throughout the Northern Hemisphere. They are commonly found growing naturally in meadows and wooded areas. Over the years many new varieties have been introduced to the Horticultural market, bringing with them unique color combinations and growth habits. We are currently growing the tried and true ‘McKana’s Giant’, as well as the newer ‘Origami’, ‘Swan’ and ‘Songbird’ series. Each of these brings a touch of grace and beauty to the garden.

The name Aquilegia is derived from the Latin word for Eagle, (Aquila). This is because it is thought to have a shape that is similar to an Eagle’s claw. The common name for Aquilegia is “Columbine”. This name is derived from the Latin word for Dove, (Columba). The inverted flower was thought to resemble that of five Doves clustered together. An interesting bit of information…the Aquilegia flowers have five sepals, five petals and five pistils.

Although these appear to be rather delicate plants, they are actually considered hardy perennials and will withstand very cold winter temperatures. They thrive in part sun / part shade along the coast and mostly shade inland. The elegant flowers attract Hummingbirds, Butterflies and other beneficial pollinators, however Deer and Rabbit will avoid them. With most varieties, the slender stems are topped with nodding flowers (the blooms facing down), however the ‘Songbird’, ‘Swan’ and ‘Origami’ series have upward facing flowers. This makes for a spectacular display in a garden bed, window box or mixed container.

Aquilegia requires moderate water, and well-drained soil. To keep the plant looking tidy, prune back the spent blooms. This will initiate a second bloom cycle. However if you want the plant to self-seed, allow some of the spent blooms to form seed capsules, ensuring you will have volunteer seedlings the following spring. The Sunset Climate Zones are A2, A3, 1-10, 14-24. We are currently growing Aquilegia in both 1 gallon and 4.5” containers. Visit our website to see photos of these plants and follow us on Instagram @clearwatercolornursery and Facebook to see what’s happening around the nursery.

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