McKana’s Giant (Aquilegia x hybrida), a member of the Ranunculaceae family, is a hybrid columbine introduced in the mid-1950s. This perennial sports large, spiked blooms in shades of purple, pink, blue, burgundy and multi-colored pastel combinations on stately 3-foot-tall stems from mid-spring to early summer. McKana’s Giant columbines, which thrive in nearly every type of soil except heavy clay, grow best in partial shade. McKana’s Giant columbines tempt hummingbirds and butterflies, repel deer and rabbits and make excellent additions to flowerbeds as well as cutting gardens.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Find a planting site that offers at least partial shade. The National Gardening Association notes that columbines grown in warmer climates need more shade than sun during daylight hours.
Till soil in the planting bed to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then work in 2 to 4 inches of organic compost to prepare the site for planting.
Dig a hole at least twice the circumference of the container holding the starter plant. The hole should be deep enough so that the top of the root ball sits even with the soil line. Allow 1 to 3 feet of space between each plant to provide proper circulation as the flowers become established.
Loosen the columbine starter plant from the container by running a butter knife around the edge between soil and container.
Remove the plant from the container and place it upright into the prepared hole, then fill the hole in with loose soil and pack it firmly into place.
Water each columbine plant thoroughly to settle it into place.
Plant McKana’s Giant columbine starter plants in the spring.
Stake flowers as they grow to provide protection from strong winds.