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How to Maintain Columbine Flowers


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The columbine plant is a perennial evergreen that grows as a wildflower and as a garden plant. Its wildflower ways make the flower an adaptable, easy-to-grow choice for the garden. The columbine has many varieties. Some grow to only about 6 inches tall, while others grow up to 3 feet high. Varieties boast many different flower colors, which bloom come spring. Leaves turn maroon in fall and winter, providing color. Columbines enjoy partial shade and well-drained soil; the soil doesn’t need to be particularly rich. Though they’re not drought-resistant until well-established, columbines can handle sunnier spots fairly well. The plant attracts hummingbirds.

Difficulty:
Moderate

Instructions

things you’ll need:
  • Watering can or hose with sprayer
  • Pruning shears
  • Insecticidal soap
  • New plants (optional)
    1. Water columbines regularly. If the plant is in the sun, water it more often.
    2. Cut off old flower stems to encourage continued flowering. (New flowers can also be cut for the vase.)
    3. Pull up flowers to thin the plants as desired, if you are letting the flowers self-sow. (If left to their own devices, columbines will seed themselves.)
    4. Suspect aphids if your flowers aren’t well-formed. Use insecticidal soap to take care of an infestation.
    5. Check leaves for marks left by leaf-miners. Cut off and and dispose of infested leaves immediately.
    6. Prune in the fall if you don’t want the flowers to self-sow. Otherwise, prune them in early spring, before the plant begins to grow after its winter dormancy.
    7. Replant columbine every 3 or 4 years or allow the plant to sow itself. Columbines only live 4 to 5 years.

Tips & Warnings

  • Regular watering will help prevent aphid infestation and powdery mildew. Columbines of different varieties cross-pollinate and easily create hybrids. Don’t allow plants with flowers you don’t like to self-seed. When replenishing columbines, buy established plants with flowers so you can be sure of the variety. Don’t buy more than one variety if you want to count on a given flower’s appearance in your garden every year.

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