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How to Winterize Columbine

Also known as aquilegia, columbines are the state flower of Colorado. These perennials prefer shade and a woodland setting is ideal. However, full sun is not a problem, although intense sunlight can scorch the plants. Columbines take a long time to germinate but, once established in the garden, they will spread. Winterizing these flowers is as easy as growing them.

Leave the faded flower stems on the columbine to produce seeds. Columbines are self-seeders and leaving the faded flower stem on the plant allows the seeds to mature.

Remove the faded flower stem if you do not want the plant to self-seed. Cut these stems to the ground.

Continue to water the columbines, even after the flowers fade. Keep the soil moist, but do not allow the soil to get soggy.

Remove any wilted columbine foliage. Cut the faded leaves back to ground level.

Scatter a light layer of mulch or decaying leaves over the cut columbine plants.

Prune Columbine

Extend columbine's bloom period by pinching spent flowers back to just above a bud. Columbines can be cut back to about one-half of their height after flowering to keep the plant attractive and green for the remainder of the summer and stop the center of the plant from opening up and looking bare. New, healthy leaves will grow if conditions are still favorable.


Columbine seeds can be sown in the fall. They require sunlight to germinate; scatter them across the soil and tamp down lightly.

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