Columbine - Aquilegia - Perennial Seeds Winter Planting - You Can Grow That!

December is a great time to finish planting the seeds, perennials and bulbs that will make spring glorious in our gardens! 

You know that it's time to plant biennials, poppies, larkspur and other early spring flowers for the first bee and butterfly nectar in the neighborhood. But don't forget about the other shade garden favorites such as Columbine, also known as Granny's Bonnet.

Columbine has a reputation for thriving in shade. In the early spring they enjoy the direct sun that falls on them under trees but they will not thrive in full-sun, hot, dry conditions. Plant them where you normally water or where you have added plenty of organic material such as leaves and mulch.

A local gardening friend send me a baggie of seeds from her Columbine plants and it's time to get them going so the plants will be ready to plant  in early spring.

Cold hardy in zones 4 to 8, perennial Aquilegias have a reputation for being easy to start from seed. 

Seeds are planted on top of moist planting soil indoors at temperatures between 68-70. Some experts recommend 2 or 3 months of cold and others say it isn't needed

Columbine seedling Whiteoak Nursery
Germination is in 2 to 3 weeks inside and 30-90 days if planted outside. 

When the seedlings have at least 2 sets of leaves they are transplanted into little individual containers. Then, after they are hardened off outdoors, they are planted a foot apart.

The seedlings are delicate and should be kept out of strong sun, kept moist but not soggy. 

To plant them outdoors now, plant seeds on the surface of flats of moistened, sterile soil. Cover the flat with glass or clear plastic to protect the seeds from birds, drying wind, hard rain, etc.

There are many Columbine varieties to choose among, mostly in shades of red and blue though the AZ/NM native is pale yellow.

Aquilegia canadensis Eastern Red Columbine

Aquilegia x caerula Sunshine yellow

Aquilegia McKana's Giant - 30-inches tall

Bulk seeds Aquilegia Coerulea Mixed colors  1,000 seeds $5
Coeurulea is Rocky Mountain Columbine, Colorado's state plant

posted from Bloggeroid


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