Aquilegia Grannys Bonnet Columbine
Aquilegia Plants How To Grow And Take Care Of Aquilegias?
Aquilegia Plant, Columbine or granny’s bonnet is a perennial plant belonging to Ranunculaceae or buttercup family. There are 60-70 species of this plant distributed in the temperate and higher altitudes of northern hemisphere. Aquilegias are very easy to grow and offer flowers throughout the year. They can grow well in rockeries, woodlands, meadows, etc. They have long spurred flowers which resemble the claws of an eagle. The flowers are nectar rich and attract small birds, butterflies and bees. There are different coloured blooms produced which are bell shaped. The foliage is soft and dark green, very much like the leaves on a maiden hair fern, which turns to maroon colour during the Autumn season.
How to Grow?
This hardy perennial can be propagated by seed. The plant grows to a height of 15-20 inches and will grow well in full sun. However, it can tolerate partial shade and average soil conditions.
- It requires well drained, humus rich soil and in warmer conditions requires mulching to keep the soil wet.
- These are clump forming plants and hence should be planted with at least 1-2 foot space in between.
- The seeds can be sown directly on the soil during early spring or during midsummer.
- The seeds require plenty of sunlight to germinate.
If you are planting pre- established plants make sure that the crown of the plant remains at the soil level. The seed grown plants will produce blooms only in the second year. Granny’s bonnets look lovely scattered around the garden. The perfect plant for english cottage gardens.
How to care for Aquilegias
It is necessary to keep the plants in moist conditions till they get well established after planting. In normal conditions only weekly watering is necessary. However, the plant requires additional watering during extended drought periods. To avoid crowding the plants, make sure that you remove the seed heads before the seeds get dispersed. Collect the seeds and sow them fresh in areas you need them.
Use of fertiliser for Aquilegia Plant
You can provide water soluble fertiliser every month to ensure proper growth of plant and flowering. Applying fertilisers regularly produce thicker foliage and brighter flowers.
Dead Heading Aquilegias
You can cut back the foliage and the seed pods after flowering. Deadheading the plants cause additional blooming. The average lifespan of these plants is about 3-4 years. You can divide the plant and propagate them every few years if needed.
Diseases and pests
Columbine plants do not have many problems. The most common issue is leaf miners. You can control the pest by treating the plant with a natural pest control method such as neem oil sprays. Some insect pests like aphids can be controlled by pruning the plants to the base of the foliage after the blooming season. Second set of stems will appear within a few weeks after pruning.
Columbine flower varieties for your garden
There are single flowered and double flowered varieties available for the various landscaping needs in your garden. You can use them as perennial borders and in rockeries. You can find the traditional varieties as well as hybrid varieties to suit your gardening needs.
- Colorado Blue Columbine is the state flower of Colorado.
- Aquilegia origami with red and white coloured flowers.
- Aquilegia flabellate.
- Aquilegia x hybrida Pink Bonnets.