Columbine - Aquilegia

aachenelf z5 MplsJuly 9, 2004

I was curious what other people's experience has been with this plant? Most of the books say it can be a short lived perennial. Some of my plants behave that way, others have been around for ages. For some reason, every singe one of my A. chrysantha Yellow Star decided to croak this year. grrrrrrrrrrr!!

I had to move some old plants this spring (McKana Giant) and was amazed at the huge thick roots they had. I divided them in the process and was wondering if this will shorten or possibly lengthen their livespan. Thanks.

Kevin

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sallym(z4 MN)

They self-seed so prolifically, it turns into a long life, but not the same plant.
Sally

    Bookmark   July 9, 2004 at 10:17AM
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leaveswave(.)

Kevin, I haven't heard of dividing shortening the life of a plant (as long as it doesn't kill said plant!), but it could be possible. Generally, dividing perennials has somewhat of a rejuvenating effect.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2004 at 12:18PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Thanks leaveswave, that's what I was kind of wondering and thinking when I did this. You don't hear very much about people dividing columbine. So far, they're still kickin'.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2004 at 12:28PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

I would guess that hybrids in general will be more long lived and robust over the species.

How did you like your chrysantha Yellow Star? I think I got some seed from YS from the NARGS seed exchange but never got around to planting it.

Rick

    Bookmark   July 9, 2004 at 11:38PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Rick,

Yellow Star is one of my favorites. I've been growing it for years. It blooms late for me and also for a very long time. It's a nice way to extend the columbine season. I just hope I saved some seed from last year. I thought it was really strange that all my YS plants died at the same time. I've never had that happen before.

Kevin

    Bookmark   July 10, 2004 at 12:00AM
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dentaybow(Z3A MN)

AachenElf - The reference "Growing Perennials in Cold Climates" (Mike Heger & Whitman) says dividing Columbine "can serve as a way of rejuvenating an old plant".
Jan

    Bookmark   July 10, 2004 at 1:19AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Thanks Jan, that's what I wanted to hear.

Kevin

    Bookmark   July 10, 2004 at 7:04AM
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leaveswave(.)

Yep.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2004 at 7:50AM
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selkie_b(z4 MN)

I've been beating mine back with sticks! I have the "wild" scarlet columbine - would you like some seeds?? Or some small starts? They are considered a native species here in MN. It's a lovely color, though by this time of year there is no foliage left - something dearly loves eating it practically overnight - so I always interplant with annuals in spring for just this.

-Marie

    Bookmark   July 19, 2004 at 10:16PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Thanks Marie, but I do grow that species in my wild garden. You are right, it is prolific. Even with that one, I've noticed that individual plants seem to die within a few years.

Kevin

    Bookmark   July 19, 2004 at 10:31PM
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malcolm197(Leicester,UK)

Excuse me for joining in from so far away. Accepted wisdom is that Aquilegias dislike root disturbance so I think you might be taking a risk if you divide. I have never divided but I have attempted to transplant elsewhere with mixed success. Small plants have done better than mature ones. I always grow seeds in plugs so that I can transplant where I want without disturbing them too much. If you divide I think you will need to be very carefuland gentle and prepare for possible failure.
Regards from UK
Malcolm

    Bookmark   July 21, 2004 at 4:54PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Malcolm, thanks for your reply. It's always nice to hear from people anywhere. Since I did divide these plants a few months ago, most have lived, one did die. The true test will be to see if they make it through the winter. I always save seed and do start new plants every year, so it won't be a terrible loss if they don't make it.

Kevin

    Bookmark   July 21, 2004 at 5:10PM
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thebadmonkey(z7 Ok)

Hi Kevin.. In general Columbines are short lived. Some will make it a good number of years but others may only live 2 or 3 years. I have been growing them for years and they are my favorite. I never buy crosses and hybrids. They look good but are weak in the gene pool. I had the YS years ago when I started out but drifted away from them quickly when I discovered the beauty and need to grow only true varieties. A fine variety that works very well for me here in Oklahoma is called Desertorum. It comes from Arizona. I had one to cross with Chrysantha var.Hinklyana and it has been around now going on 3 years. It was covered in blooms last year. My preference is the smaller compact varieties. There are some very nice western varieties from the Colorado and Utah areas. Why waste time growing what some nursery produced by multiple crossings when their beauty doesn't compare to that of a natural wildflower?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2005 at 8:23PM
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kms4me

Kevin,

I grow a lot of columbines and have found that letting them set large amounts of seed will shorten their lifespan drastically. I only let a few seed heads develop per plant and only on plants I really want to collect seed from.

I grow all my seedling columbines in a nursery bed for a year and then move them where I want them in time for their first bloom (second year), and they don't miss a beat. I have moved them in full bloom with no problems.

I have read that the Biedermeier strain is very long lived, and I had a couple that flourished for 7 years.

ALSO, I have found that when a columbine suddenly starts to fail, root worms may be an issue. I have saved many plants by drenching their roots with a squirt of dishwashing detergent mixed in a quart of water.

Kate

    Bookmark   January 3, 2005 at 1:18AM
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cassiope(03/WI)

I had a similar experience with my Yellow Star dying out - they were covered in caterpillars, but of all my Aquilegias, the caterpillars only chose the Yellow Star. I just hand picked them off. I have a problem with leafminers as well.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2005 at 5:40PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Kate - I agree deadheading religiously can extend their lives. I've had some McKanna Giants for longer than I can remember.

Cassiope - I too have the problem with leafminers on all my columbine. I think there is a way to treat them, but I've never bothered. Even the ones mentioned above get them and still have managed to survive for many, many years.

Kevin

    Bookmark   January 3, 2005 at 7:03PM
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suzinnia(z4mn)

as usual, what a treasure trove of knowledge emerges from this group!
Kate, thanks for the input about rootworms. I'd never heard about them.
Also, Kate and Kevin, thanks for the tip about deadheading.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2005 at 7:30AM
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mshgtvangel(z8/fl)

hello everyone,i recently purchased some biedermeier columbine seeds from ebay.i live in zone 8 we usually can plant outside on good friday march this year.i was just wondering if anyone knows when should i start these seeds indoors for the spring?please feel free to email me at mshgtvangel@aol.com.thanks for the help and happy gardening.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2005 at 12:17PM
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robin_bird

Actually if people would share how they start their columbine from seed, I'd appreciate this info too!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 10:11AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I've been using this method for years:

Sow the seed on moistened seed starting mix (don't cover the seed), cover with plastic wrap, put in refrig for 3 weeks, after you take them out, keep the temps around 65 degrees.

I grow lots of these every year.

Kevin

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 10:58AM
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robin_bird

Hurrah and thanks for the info. That's one of two ways that I'm trying this year. I started some seeds this way about a week ago. Hopefully, I haven't started the seeds way to early.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 12:45PM
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rchadha(6b nj)

Hi,

My problem is I planted a bere root in Fall 2003, and I only got to see the foliage last year.Can I do anything to ensure I get flowers this season?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 11:37AM
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dentaybow(Z3A MN)

The only way to treat leafminers is with a systemtic insecticide. It probably is not worth the trouble. As Kevin said, it doesn't seem to bother the plant.
Jan

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 6:41AM
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lulu_me

Hi,

I planted columbine from roots that I got from a mail order nursery. They never came up. Any idea why?

Thanks, Lulu

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 2:24PM
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