Columbine Canadensis is a wildflower native to the north-eastern part of North America. They are found across Canada, from the prairies to the Atlantic provinces. Columbine Canadensis grows to 2-3 feet tall with a fern-like foliage and blooming usually occurs in late spring/early summer.
The rosé red bell-shaped flowers with a pale-yellow interior are much appreciated by beneficial pollinators. The downward-facing flowers create an effect called ‘’nectar robbing.’’ It is a way for the plant to increase its chances of reproduction by providing pollinators easy access and protecting the precious nectar from the rain.
Columbine Canadensis is a stunning wildflower that will return every year from its roots in Canada zones 4-9, and it can also spread by seeds if the conditions are right. Columbine Canadensis is a great addition to rock gardens, in a mixed border or in a woodland garden.
- Life Cycle: Perennial
- Days to Maturity: Second-year
- Planting Depth: 3-4 seeds 3-4 mm deep or broadcast directly
- Growth Habit: 40-60 cm tall
Popular for their unmistakable beauty and ease of care, columbines never disappoint. Once established, the perennial plant will produce flowers for years while continually self-seeding. Most varieties of columbines typically bloom from the middle of spring into the summer. Although the flowers exude a tender elegance, they are actually quite resilient to cold weather, drought and wildlife. Best yet, the beautiful blooms draw in bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.
When starting columbine from seed, it may take up to two years for plants to bloom, but the subsequent years of delightful flowers will be worth the effort. A cold stratification period of three to four weeks will prepare seeds for the germination process. Put them in the refrigerator up to a month before planting time.
Seeds can be started indoors eight to ten weeks before the last spring frost, or directly sown into the garden in the spring. Indoors, press seeds into a moist, warm seed-starting mix, but do not cover. Columbine seeds require light to germinate, about 16 hours per day. A grow light will be necessary to achieve this indoors during early spring months.
Seeds usually take up to 30 days to germinate, so it will be necessary to have patience. When seedlings develop true leaves and reach 10 cm in height, they can be repotted into larger containers. Move them outside on warm days in late spring to harden off before transplanting into the garden. Space transplants or thin seedlings 45-60 cm apart and keep them well watered until established.
Columbine will tolerate full sun in cool climates, but partial shade is preferable to get the best results. Their flowering window is short and when the blooms fade, a break from the sun is greatly appreciated. Cool temperatures will lead to more flowers, whereas excessive heat can cause a plant to go dormant.
A light, sandy or loamy soil will work well for columbines. Soil should also be well-drained. Plants can be mulched to retain water, suppress weeds and keep roots cool. To promote dense foliage and bright flowers, columbine can be fed monthly with a liquid fertilizer of your choice.
Stay on top of deadheading to encourage new buds to emerge along the stems. If tended to regularly, this can extend the blooming multiple weeks into the summer. In the fall, plants should be cut to the ground and mulched to protect them from freezing temperatures in the winter.
When harvesting for cut flower displays, take the bloom when it is half open. Flowers will last about a week in a vase.
- The name Columbine comes from the Latin word Columba, meaning dove-like.
- Columbine flowers are edible and have a sweet flavour.
- Columbine seeds will remain viable for two years if stored in a cool, dark place, ideally between 4 and 10⁰C. After that, the germination rate may start to go down.
OUR SEED GUARANTEE
You know that a lush, fruitful garden needs good soil, frequent watering, and sunlight to grow, but it’s the seeds that really make the harvest.
Picked and bagged for 2024 the vast majority of our seeds have germination rates of over 85%. The seeds are all-natural, non-GMO, non-hybrid, untreated, and open-pollinated for seed saving.
We have put a lot of thoughts into the design and packaging of our seed packets. Our seeds are all carefully packed in food grade kraft paper/aluminium zipper lock bags, and then are shipped in eco-friendly padded mailers.
We heat-seal each of our seed packet for even more protection from moisture, odour and light, allowing you to store your seeds for up to 3x longer than paper or plastic. Plant them all, germinate some indoors, save some for next season - it’s up to you!