Columbine or Granny's Bonnet (Aquilegia x hybrida)

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Plant Information Life Cycle: Perennial
Planting Time: Spring or Fall
Height: 20" to 30" (dwarf from 8")
Exposure: Full Sun or Light Shade
Soil: any good garden soil
Hardiness: Zones 3 to 8
Bloom Time: Spring and early summer
Propagation: Natives by seeds, hybrids by division.
Uses: Beds, borders, cut flowers, wildflower meadows, rock gardens

Choose your location carefully because columbines don't like to be moved, and they don't grow well in containers because of their long tap root. In hot southern climates, try to provide a little shade part of the day.

One thing columbines insist on is adequate water. They like a soil that is always a little moist, and during dry spells you'll have to water your columbines regularly. Adding organic material to the soil and using a few inches mulch of will help the soil retain moisture.

Seed Heads
Most columbines tend to self-sow. The taller types tend to self-sow more readily than the dwarf types, and as with most plants, hybrids may not produce seedlings true to the parent types. If you enjoy the cycle of self-seeding, my suggestion is to let them try the first year. If you don't like the results, it's easy enough to remove the seedlings in future years. On the down side, allowing plants to go to seed may shorten their life span.

As with most flowers, you can prolong the bloom season by pinching off faded flowers, but toward the end of the bloom season, leave plenty of flowers to form seedheads. The seedheads are attractive, and will add a point of interest to the winter garden.

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