Beautiful sunshiny yellow flowers
I have wanted sunshine columbines (Aquilegia x caerulea) in my garden ever since I first saw them in a gardening catalog, but I have had unexpected problems with this supposedly easy to grow perennial. Two springs ago I bought four packages of sunshine columbine seeds. That spring I planted seeds inside under grow lights, and in early summer I planted more outside in the garden. Germination both times was less than impressive. I had the same discouraging results with more of that same purchased seed this past spring… from the fifty or more seeds I planted over these two years, only two seeds actually germinated… inside under the grow lights that first spring.
This spring these two surviving sunshine columbines didn’t look as healthy or as vigorous as my alpine columbines or even the wild red columbines, but I was pleased to see that they were at least alive. Soon both plants were covered with fat yellowish white flower buds. By the time the flowers were fully opened, their petals were a beautiful bright sunshiny yellow.
Little green buds
Long, long spurs
Sunshine columbines bloom in late spring to mid summer, and the flowers have very long spurs. The pale green dense foliage should eventually form a clump at least two feet tall and more than a foot wide. The seed packet says that this columbine is supposed to live for approximately five years, readily self seeds, and blooms the first year. I have read that it can also be propagated by division. It is hardy to zone three.
I’ve had wonderful results with all the other columbines I have planted or grown, so I’m thinking probably the main problem with these is the seeds I bought. I think I need to look for a different seed source… or just wait until the two small columbines I have now manage to produce some seeds. I was hoping they would this year, but the seed pods that formed did not mature.
Perhaps next year…