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.