Aquilegia coerulea E. James
Colorado Blue Columbine, Rocky Mountain Columbine, Colorado Columbine, Blue Columbine
Color: Blue, white, cream, and sometimes pinkish white.
Bloom Time: Spring and early summer
Aquilegia caerulea is the state flower of Colorado. It is a bushy, clump-forming perennial that grows up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall and up to 2 feet (60 cm) wide. Flowers vary in color, from pale blue to white, cream, and sometimes pinkish white. Very commonly, they are bicolored.
USDA hardiness zone 3a to 8b: from −40 °F (−40 °C) to 20 °F (−6.7 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Columbine plants can handle full sun. They don't like the combination of heat and dry soil they don't like, and mulching will help alleviate that. They will self-sow, but new plants can be lost if the summer gets too hot. Also, plants tend to be short-lived, fading out within three years. Hedge your bets and save some seeds to sow in the fall or falling spring.
Keep in mind that Columbine varieties readily cross-pollinate. If you plant more than one variety, be prepared to see new colors and combinations. If self-sowing becomes a nuisance, shear the plants back in mid-summer to prevent seed pods from forming. You can start Columbine from seed or plant. Seeds can be direct sown throughout spring. The seeds need light to germinate, so simply press them on the soil surface and barely cover them with soil. Since Columbine is a perennial, it will take two years from planting the seed for them to bloom.
See more at: How to Grow and Care for Columbine.
This species is native to the Rocky Mountains from Montana south to New Mexico and west to Idaho and Arizona.
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