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Columbine as Companions?

Posted by thisismelissa z4a-S Twin Cities MN (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 30, 11 at 14:12

Ok, I am thinking about "branching" out.... interplanting some other stuff between the hostas.

I saw some nice looking columbine at a big-box store yesterday, but I have never grown it... for that matter, I rarely see it here in MN. Perhaps it's cuz I tend to tour gardens more in the summer.

But, for those of y'all who grow it with your hostas, what do I need to know? Do the rabbits like it? How long does it bloom? Is the foliage nice in other parts of the season? etc...


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Columbine as Companions?

Hi Melissa.I highly recommend growing Columbine.The orange wild Columbine is zone 3 and up.This orange native one is May June blooming and than the plant dwindles.Columbines that are not orange are not native, but the foliage lasts to fall=they are May June blooming also. I grow them with the hostas along with Dutchman Breeches,Spring Beauties,Trillium and Pulmunaria's.
It is nice to have something growing before the hostas are in their glory.Phil


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

Melissa, planted a few and tried some from seed, varying success. One of the McKana Giant seeds took, a blue/lavender from a plant swap is doing well, Clementine Red and xAlpina stayed a couple of years and then were gone. Will have to look again - I think one of these reseeded. Love the red and yellow (MN native) but don't have this one yet - picked up Music Red and Gold (similar)last year still waiting for it to show this year. I try to catch a few plant swaps in the late May or early June to grab a couple to try for cheap - if gardeners have spares they must grow well. Last year added one from Winky Series - grew well, leaves lasted and looks full this year. As far as rabbits I don't recall them mowing them down - must like hosta better.

Need to spray(or accept) for leafminers - last year was no problem, but previous years were heavy. Otherwise I snip off affected leaves and toss in trash.

A couple other early rizers to grab at plant swaps are Mayapple, Bloodroot and Bluebells - Mayapple sticks around all summer for me, the other two are ephemeral.

Some others to consider -- Brunnera (early prolific blue blooms and then neat heart shaped leaves, nice clump), Pulmonaria, native Jacobs Ladder, Bush Clematis (blue rebloomer thru summer), Solomons Seals (variegated and solid), fall blooming Anemones, Astrantia, Jack in the Pulpits, Rogersia(great leaves for background), Shooting Star(cool early flowers that linger), Turtlehead (pink blooms in fall, background clump).....all have done well for me.

Paul

sending you an email


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

Paul gave you some great suggestions. I love my columbine. They do tend to be short-lived perennials but will usually reseed. I've found that by cutting back the spent bloom stalk (leaving just 2 or 3 spent blooms to set seed) it will prolong the life of the plant and still give me replacement seedlings. Sometimes I even get a light bonus bloom later in the season.


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

Columbines are definitely great in the garden. Mine are self-seeding freely, popping up in various locations here in zone 5a. I have most of the other perennials mentioned, they are certainly enriching the landscape.
I like to mention not to forget spring flowering bulbs. After crocusses (this year no bunny ate them!) I have various kinds of daffodils blooming now. They will be wilting when hostas finally are unfurling, with the hostas covering up their dead foliage. Similar with tulips following the daffodils. Nobunny and novole eats daffodils.
Bernd


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

they are a true biennials...

the one you buy this year.. should flower.. seed and die ...

i like them.. they move around.. and are very easy to remove ... if necessary ...

be sure to spread a bit of the seed ... dont over-deadhead them ...

and frankly .. leaf miners make them look cooler ....

be sure to remember their unique leaf shape.. so you dont kill all the babes ...

ken


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

Good to know, Ken.

So, if they are biennials and re-seed, that means I should NOT use Preen in that area, right?


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

Right!


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

I think Columbines are perennials, because I have sturdy plants, and there certainly is a more than 1 year difference in size between 1 year old seedlings and established big plants. See the following link :

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia about Columbines (Aquilegia) :


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

Columbines work very nicely with hostas. It appears that while some species are biennial, many of the newer hybrids are a true perennial.

The Wikipedia information is generally correct, but rather incomplete. Columbines have now been bred in sizes from 6 inches tall up to 30-36 inches tall, with several different types of double flowers, many spurless varieties, and even variegated foliage. In the hosta garden, they will do best if they get some dappled sun, and will bloom in full shade, but not as profusely.

If you want to try something that will bloom beyond the typical spring season, Canadensis Denver Gold and Barlow Black both bloom throughout the spring and summer, sometimes right up to frost. Both of these cultivars are around 30 inches tall, and Denver Gold is a bright yellow with very large flowers, 3-4 inches across and with spurs that can reach 4 inches. Barlow Black is a very dark purple, with a smaller spurless fully double flower, again in the 30 inch tall range. Bloom will not be continuous, but will occur in flushes, and deadheading the plants will be beneficial.


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

My Best performing Columbine has been flowering for 3 years and is in bloom now. I don't know the name but it is one of the shorter plants. It is in full sun, so I don't know how it would do in shade.

I have bought a couple of the newer, very tall ones that did not come back from two years ago. I am going to try them again in a sunnier location.

chris


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

I have Nora Barlow columbine interplanted with hosta and it is so pretty. It's a double, spurless variety, medium height and lovely blue-green, fan-shaped foliage. If planted in sun, the foliage may wilt in the summer, but you can just cut it back and it will spring up again in the fall. Nora Barlow has come back three successive years for me (fingers crossed for more)and is budded and about to bloom. Plus, it's named for Darwin's granddaughter, which is nice since columbine are known to be highly prolific and genetically diverse.


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

  • Posted by arcy Mn zn3-4 (My Page) on
    Tue, May 3, 11 at 6:16

I am surprised you haven't seen columbine used here in MN.I see it everywhere and the garden centers have a nice variety offered each year. My only disappointment with them as stated by others is how short lived they are. There are many flowering perennials as listed by Paul that companion well with hosta. I have something blooming in my hosta beds from late March until first frost. Bleeding hearts, garden prim rose, LOV, astilbe, Jack in the pulpit...the options even here in MN are many!!


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

Oooh, arcy -- I love lily in the valley with hosta, because they don't have a chance to get invasive as the hosta shade them out.


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

I must have used weak hosta with my LOV, they all died. The hosta not the LOV. But, the LOV were there first rather than the other way around. I chopped holes in them to add the hostas. I pulled as much as I could but they were swamped in a couple of years.

I love columbine though.


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

Sorry newbiehavinfun... but I do disagree.

Buyorsell.... LOV have an extremely aggressive root system. The roots you cut out probably regrew in rather short order and choked out the hosta.

We had a whole discussion on this forum about not planting the two together as their root systems are really pretty incompatible.


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

I have Columbine but none in with my hostas. They seem to not tolerate the shade as well here. They are more of a full sun plant here. If you are looking for some color you could use bluebell for the spring. I am still working on my beds but last year I put in some blubells for spring bloom and so far they are looking good. As far as the blooming columbine, mine actually bloom around the end of July to about Sept maybe a bit longer. Although the yellow ones staid(sp?) longer than the blue ones. I am trying some red and white and some solid red ones this year. My angel wings (white) bloomed all summer but I think it died.


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

I do not know what it is but my LOV do not get overly aggressive. So far so good. I have a large area that needed filling once upon a time. I have had some in for 10 years now and it isn't a problem to keep them out of the drip line of the hosta. My hosta are the main event but I definitely like to have something flowering all the time. The daffodils are glorious now, the tulips are on their way and the Bleeding hearts are going to be fabulous!!


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

My first tulip bloomed today. A full 16 days later than last year.

The area in question is a full sun area. I'll be planting more sun tolerant types in that area. So, I have no doubt the columbine will get plenty of sun.

I picked up a few Columbine this weekend. It's a Winky variety... Blue and White, I think. I'm excited to see how they do! They were so cheaply priced (cheaper than annuals, in fact!) that even if they last just 1 season, I'm ok with that!


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

I like the double winkys but they are too small for me I like the bigger ones, but they are very pretty. I tried the red/white winkys but all three died on me in full sun! (but the place I bought them from wasn't very good.)


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

In addition to columbine, have you considered cranesbills and/or heuchera....LOTS of varieties of both of these.


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

I didn't realize how aggressive LOV was going to be when I planted my main shade bed about fifteen years ago. I planted a dogwood, Japanese maple, half a dozen rhododendrons and then LOV and sweet woodruff for ground cover and muscari too. Then I started adding various huecheras, hostas, ferns and dicentras. The LOV, sweet woodruff and muscari are all intermingled with the trees and shrubs and almost impossible to eradicate. I've been trying for a decade now.

Several ferns and most of the dicentras survived but keeping hostas in that bed has been a challenge.

I do have some tall dark blue columbines and some of the yellow variegated ones too that reseed and seem to do just fine though they do tend to sprout at the edge of the bed where the LOV is thinnest. I have not had any of the fancier columbines be perennials in any of my beds. I've purchased many over the years. They don't breed true for me either. If I don't buy new ones all I end up with are tall and dark blue. Really pretty but some variation would be nice.


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

I think LOV is a strange plant. It will always be a discussion of what it does in different gardens. I have some in my Hosta garden for 15 yrs. I received 2 in a trade and I only have about 10 now.

I think we should all realize that a zone 8 is different than a zone 3. A dry zone 6 is not going to compare to a wet zone 3. I live in a dry zone 6 not a lot of snow and average Spring/Summer rain fall. So they are not aggressive in my garden. It is hard to make a blanket statement that a plant is going to be aggressive every where because it is aggressive in your garden.

I have columbine in my hosta garden and they do great.


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

I have had native (upper midwest) Columbine with hosta for years. They are IMO nice early. I particularly like Heuchera (Choral Bells) because like hosta their foliage lasts season long and the purple (Palace Purple) and yellow (keylime)in particular are great compliments to hostas.


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

Late as usual but....All my columbine want sun, more than the hosta get. But I planted some small, I guess dwarf, bleeding hearts last year with my hosta and they are coming up and blooming like crazy!

chris


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

My columbines are having leaves now, but flowers are probably weeks away. Why not use other earlier perennials which bloom for up to 2 months before hostas have full leaves? This is 2 months of gardening!
In my garden flowering started with crocuses, then yellow daffodils, now white daffodils and tulips are starting. The wilting foliage of all of these will be covered by hostas lateron.
In shade and semi shade, in front of larger hostas I have rows of yellow, white, red and purple primulas are now in full bloom. Epimedium and pulmonaria are also in bloom. I have 2 stands of hellebores and they are blooming now for a month. Dwarf iris are showing leaves now, I intermingle those with dwarf hostas like Lemon Lime and Stiletto. Dutchman's breeches in bloom. I do not like Forget-me-nots because they reseed too freely.
Bernd


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RE: Columbine as Companions?

Here's a pic from 2010. Clementine Red is on the left, an old pink variety on the right was given to me years ago. Note the differences...C. Red's flowers are much more clumped together, and the foliage is bigger. However, C. Red came back much smaller this year. Both reseed non-aggressively for me. The old pink is more open and airy, and it has come back every year for many years. A lovely, happy little plant..I will definitely purchase more in other colors.

Hostas, Columbine, Sweet Woodruff


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