Columbine

lisa2004(NY Z5/6)March 22, 2005

Can anyone recommend a variety of columbine for me? I want something that will do well, for many years in my full shade garden. I'm looking for something that will self- seed and naturalize, preferably with blue or blue and white flowers. I've always bought the large flowered varieties at garden centers and the seem to be very short lived and do better in atleast part sun.

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joepyeweed(5b IL)

i would recommend Aquilegia canadensis. its the native columbine - no cultivar or variety - just the original.

it selfs seeds fairly readily and should be long lasting. you might want to check into the New England Native Plant Society - they can point you in the direction of where to get seeds or plugs for it. most nurseries will carry a cultivar or variety which could be why they are not long lasting.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 9:15PM
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Carrie B

I have not found columbine to do well in FULL shade. It needs at least an hour or so (for me) of morning sun.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 2:55PM
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springcherry(6/7 Philly,PA)

Does anyone know if voles eat columbine:-(?

Springcherry

    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 11:34AM
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virginia_w(z3 WI)

I agree with joepyeweed. The native Aquilegia canadensis seems to grow anywhere. The individual plants may die out, but it self sows to abundantly that you will have columbine blooming every year. It is not fussy about light or soil type. It just pops up in sun or shade. My experience with the other columbines is that they die after a few years. Sometimes they self-sow, but are not as hardy as the native.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 4:10PM
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jaysonmc(z8 WA)

Most Columbine should last for a long time provided you dead head before it goes to seed.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2005 at 4:57PM
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DurtyKneez(z7Joshua, TX)

Springcherry -
I'm pretty sure that voles don't eat columbine.
However - many cats adore hunting voles ;) - which can be convenient!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 7:35AM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Most Columbine should last for a long time provided you dead head before it goes to seed.
Huh?? What does deadheading have to do with the lifespan of the plant??

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 1:20PM
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springcherry(6/7 Philly,PA)

Man, I need to get a cat! Only problem is DH hates them and says he'd divorce me if I got one. DH or cat? DH or cat? Hmmmmmmm.

DurtyKneez, I need you (and the outdoor cat I presume you have) for a neighbor.

Springcherry

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 4:43PM
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aeiger(Z7bNC)

chose the cat! /Abi

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 1:45PM
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arcy_gw

The original wild does well in full shade. I have dug many plants out from under a plot of large oak. It blooms longer when it is in the shade. I never dead head, well the kids eat them. They bloom form May to july.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 9:49AM
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lisa2004(NY Z5/6)

When you say "origional wild" are you refering to the same native variety that Joepyeweed is talking about?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 10:17AM
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homer_zn5(z5 IN)

Yup, the natives seem to self-sow regularly, and I have them popping up like mad in my Hosta bed under a pine tree. No direct sun. I have several popping up elsewhere in my part sun garden. One even has really neat blue/green leaves. I assume this is a seedling of one of my wild types, as I never planted any with blue/green leaves.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 4:42PM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

Rosa,
Deadheading saves the plant energy that it would otherwise expend on making seeds. So sometimes plants live longer when deadheaded.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 3:22PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Have a very hard time believing that statement. And is quite the contrary.

Biologically speaking, the goal is reproduction and if that mechanism is cut off the plant spends more energy since deadheading in some species, including columbines, produces another flush of blooms.

Flowering is the most expensive energy expenditure for a plant. Repeated deadheading that forces the plant to attempt to produce more blooms, saps energy that would normally go into building root reserves designed to sustain the plant thru the winter.

Would love to see some scientific data on this since this principle is used in weed management. You let the plant bolt, cut the flowers and force the plant to bolt again weakens the plant. If this is carried our over a few years the root reserves are depleated to a point where the plant dies.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 9:19AM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

It is a widely accepted gardening practice. If you have scientific research on the topic, please share it.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 12:24PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Actually, I asked you for scientific data (an article link or two will do) since it's nothing I learned in any gardening, horticulture, botany, biology or weed science class. I can't seem to find any reference to this and wondering where I can find info on this widely accepted gardening practice of deadheading to prolong the life of a perennial plant-especially the columbines that were originally mentioned??

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 7:59PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

i think rosa and karchita are debating two different "gardening" practices.

deadheading is a common practice but its more for "gardening" - which is typically done with non-native plants and cultivars. Generally the reseeding of plants is not necessarily desirable.

native plantings or habitat growing doesnt require deadheading for a couple reasons. - you are using natives that need to reproduce to evolve and you are relying on reproduction of species to continue and spread.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 4:06PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

thanks joepyeweed, I think you are right.
Deadheading is done to keep self seeders in check, at transplanting and to produce a new flush of blooms.
It is not done for prolonging the life of a perennial plant as stated and can act quite to the contrary.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 5:10PM
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linda_schreiber(z5/6 MI)

...... [botanist here] .....

Deadheading can be very useful with annuals. Their 'strategy' is to make as many seeds as they can, before they die in the fall. If you deadhead the flowers before they fully set seed, the plant will use the resources that it would have used to develop and fill seeds to create more flowers, in an effort to try again. The annuals will die in the fall, regardless. It's fair to get the longest show of flowers.

Deadheading generally is not a recommended practice for perennials. Their flowering patterns are based on other complex sets of parameters, which balance resources between flowering and seed set with the need to retain and store resources belowground for the next year's growth. These things vary wildly from species to species, and will vary wildly *within* species depending on environmental conditions and time of year, so it's hard to be clear about all this in a comment about 'perennials' as a class.

But deadheading perennials is generally not a good plan. Let the plant decide what it's optimal resource allocation is this year, in the conditions it's growing in. That's the best way to make sure that it is back and healthy *next* year....

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 10:33PM
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Heather__Michigan(Z5)

I'm glad Rosa and others cleared that up because I want to grow columbines in shade as well, and was taking notes while reading this, it didn't seem to make sense to me either.
heather

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 12:08AM
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