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How to Winterize Columbine

By Kay Dean ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.


Things You Will Need

  • Gardening shears
  • Mulch or decaying leaves


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

About the Author


After attending Hardin Simmons University, Kay Dean finished her formal education with the Institute of Children's Literature. Since 1995, Dean has written for such publications as "PB&J," Disney’s "Family Fun," "ParentLife," "Living With Teenagers" and Thomas Nelson’s NY Times bestselling "Resolve." An avid gardener for 25 years, her experience includes organic food gardening, ornamental plants, shrubs and trees, with a special love for roses.