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Rich, moist, well-drained soil
Why you need this plant: This delightful columbine is perfect for patio containers and window boxes because the flowers face upward to be enjoyed. Nice, neat compact habit supports a multitude of 3" flowers in a wide variety of mixed colors, including blues, pinks, red, roses, whites and yellows.
|Planting Info: Add lots of organic matter. Good soil amendments are compost, leaf mold, peat moss, and rotted manure. This helps keep soil loose and moist. Columbines look best in groups of 3-5 plants. Good for mixed borders or mass plantings. Combine well with Delphinium, Geranium (Cranesbill), Iris, Nepeta (Catmint), Oenothera (Evening Primrose) and Paeonia (Peony).|
Keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season. When you do water, saturate the soil to a depth of 8-10 inches rather than light watering. Mulch with a 2" layer of organic mulch after the soil has warmed in the spring.
Columbines are heavy feeders. Give the plants a boost each spring just as growth emerges by sprinkling 10-10-10 fertilizer around the clumps. Water immediately to dissolve the granules. Give them a second feeding just as the buds are forming. Organic fertilizers such as alfafa meal, blood meal, compost, etc. will also be effective.
Remove spent flowers if you don't want the Aquilegia to self-sow. If you wish the plant to self-sow, remove all of the flowers except a few.
Propagate by division, however, it is not easy because of the fingerlike roots that are long and quite fleshy. Dig the plant up in spring just as it shows signs of new growth. Dig deeply to get all of the tapering roots. Cut the plant apart with a sharp knife making sure each division has a healthy portion of crown with roots attached. Re-plant immediately.