Canadian Columbine, Wild Columbine

Aquilegia canadensis

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Aquilegia (a-kwi-LEE-jee-a) (Info)
Species: canadensis (ka-na-DEN-sis) (Info)
View this plant in a garden



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Auburn, Alabama

Cullman, Alabama

Tuscumbia, Alabama

Anchor Point, Alaska

Seward, Alaska

Morrilton, Arkansas

Capistrano Beach, California

Corning, California

Fremont, California (2 reports)

Roseville, California

Pueblo, Colorado

Amston, Connecticut

Jacksonville, Florida

Mayo, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Trenton, Florida

Carrollton, Georgia

Cornelia, Georgia

Danielsville, Georgia

Algonquin, Illinois

Cherry Valley, Illinois

Hinsdale, Illinois

Jacksonville, Illinois

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Bremen, Indiana

Jeffersonville, Indiana

Macy, Indiana

Newburgh, Indiana

Iowa City, Iowa

Pacific Junction, Iowa

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Hebron, Kentucky

Brookeville, Maryland

Crofton, Maryland

Dundalk, Maryland

Valley Lee, Maryland

Haverhill, Massachusetts

Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

Brown City, Michigan

Cadillac, Michigan

Detroit, Michigan

Erie, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Royal Oak, Michigan

Saint Helen, Michigan

Stephenson, Michigan

La Crescent, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota (3 reports)

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

De Soto, Missouri

Piedmont, Missouri

Saint Louis, Missouri

Bayville, New Jersey

Edison, New Jersey

Frenchtown, New Jersey

Haddonfield, New Jersey

Hampton, New Jersey

Bolton Landing, New York

New Rochelle, New York

Boone, North Carolina

Burlington, North Carolina

Holly Springs, North Carolina

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Canton, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

Dayton, Ohio

Lebanon, Ohio

Newalla, Oklahoma

Klamath Falls, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

Millersburg, Pennsylvania

Tioga, Pennsylvania

Whitehall, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Greenville, South Carolina

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Thompsons Station, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas (2 reports)

Belton, Texas

Colleyville, Texas

Houston, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Lexington, Virginia

Springfield, Virginia

Port Angeles, Washington

Woodland, Washington

Hartland, Wisconsin

Marinette, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Muscoda, Wisconsin

Onalaska, Wisconsin

Spooner, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 3, 2010, lolagardner from Brooklyn, NY wrote:

This plant has thrived in the dry shade of my maple tree. It gets about 2 hours morning sun and punishing heat in august in my brooklyn garden. The bloom time is short but lovely when planted with pale yellow late tulips. The foliage is gorgeous and is vigorous until late in the season when everything else petered out.


On Dec 12, 2009, HummingbirdDude from Whitehall, PA wrote:

Hummingbirds love it! Does not have to be in wet shady area. I have it grown in full sun with lots of mulch.


On May 17, 2009, Agaveguy from San Antonio, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Grows out of holes in limestone boulders and in limestone derived soils. Very tolerant of high pH.


On Oct 20, 2008, Violet56 from De Soto, MO wrote:

I found this beautiful plant in a ditch 6 years ago. I have found they will grow just about anywhere, but do prefer shade...even deep shade. Don't let them get too dry, they will droop & possibly dry up.
Small plants don't transplant very well. Leave them alone until they are well established before moving. When I do move one, I move it in late spring, because it's easier to keep an eye on & water as needed.
Once established they grow up to 4' & have a lush, thick base of leaves. Deadheading will encourage more blooms.They REALLY reseed. Anywhere near & downwards from this plant will produce new ones. About a month after the flowers are gone a star shaped pod appears. This will dry, open, & give you seeds. You'll get a hundred seeds from each pod!
The hummingbirds lov... read more


On May 27, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

I would agree - I have seen Wild Columbine mainly along wood edges in the wild - also clearings in woodlands. One area to look for them is Bunker Hills Park in the Twin Cities. Height tend to vary like crazy - can be one foot tall, once I had one that grow to four feet! Their distinct flower shapes put them apart from Rocky Mountain columbines and their hybrids. Colors can vary - the variety 'Nana' is all yellow. It can be a faded red or like some of the pictures above, half yellow.
Prefer to seed in more exposed soils, it will seed poorly in areas with thick competitions. I have found that a type of big grub will kills older plants by bore in their taproots, thus the reason for their short lifespans. Leaf miners can be a problem - I have seen them even on newly sprouting seedlings... read more


On Apr 24, 2008, Katze from Minneapolis, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

This native Minnesota plant appeared in our yard on its own. I've seen one grow in almost full shade in a small weedy area between our garage and storage shed while another one appeared in a dry, full sun area and has already come up this year. The more you ignore this plant, the better it seems to do.


On Nov 28, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Canadian Columbine, Wild Columbine Aquilegia canadensis is native to Texas and other States.


On Jul 9, 2006, rootrot from Philadelphia, PA wrote:

had the plant for 2nd growing season no problems
in 1st. now after losing the flower about three weeks
ago,color is fading,leaves are drooping.recently we
had a lot of rain but the soil isn't soggy maybe a little


On May 31, 2006, genericgardener from ottawa
Canada (Zone 4a) wrote:

In the wild, I usually find them growing in areas where partial or some minimal amount of sun is available - i.e. edge habitats or areas where the canopy doesn't develop quickly or completely.

I've had good success starting seed by freezing the seed first.

They grow from a rhizome. I've had success transplanting the root clusters from one garden to another.

They do well in my clay loam soil but in the wild I've seen them in everything from sand to swamp.

Good Gardening !

P.S. don't dig out wild plants.


On May 18, 2006, mrsbrooks from Bowling Green, KY wrote:

I love the flowers on this plant. I have it next to our back porch. I didn't know it was poisionous though, so I may move it away from the fenced area where my dog is, so there is no danger to him. It returns every year here in southern Kentucky.


On Jan 23, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is a nice little columbine that will grow just about anywhere. It does bloom more in the sun. Light and stratification aid germination of seeds. I have read that it is hardy in zones 3-10.

Blooms early to mid June in my garden.


On Jun 2, 2005, debzone3 from Winnipeg, MB (Zone 3b) wrote:

I see from most of the notes above that people tend to voluntarily acquire their Columbine. I was so pleasantly surprised this evening when I discovered that one lovely A. canadensis plant has magically appeared and is flourishing in my (Canadian) garden next to, and shaded by, the raspberries. I'll be sure to bag the seedheads and plant the seeds elsewhere in the garden. I wonder whether I can transplant the existing one, given the raspberries' aggressive territorial nature! I'll give it a try after I bag some seeds in the fall (which sometimes arrives at the end of August up here!!).


On May 26, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

A friend gave me one A. canadensis plant about a year ago. It struggled along in the shady spot where I thought it would grow best. It did produce a few flowers from which I was able to gather seed. The friend that gave me the original plant advised that I wait until September in our Zone 8b/9a climate to plant the seed. I planted the seeds in pots in September along with some hybrid columbine species. Just about every seed germinated and I now have about one dozen A. canadensis as well as about a dozen other columbine varieties.

My method of planting in my garden was a bit different from the recommendations above. My A. canadensis (and other columbine species) in nearly full to full sun grew very vigorously and bloomed profusely. Our NE Fla soil is very sandy, which ... read more


On Jan 16, 2005, LilyLover_UT from Ogden, UT (Zone 5b) wrote:

This columbine is a vigorous self-sower, which makes it good for a partly shaded woodland garden if you want a sort of wild look. The hummingbirds also appreciate it.


On Feb 19, 2004, Tree_Climber from Brown City, MI (Zone 5a) wrote:

If you like Columbine, you will love this lovely plant. Unlike modern hybrids, they are resistant to leaf miners.

You should provide 10 days of cold moist stratification.

Nectar-feeding visitors and bees visiting for the pollen are the agents of cross- pollination. The flower is adapted to prevent self-pollination. The stamens mature first, starting from the outside ring and moving toward the center, shedding all their pollen before the styles emerge at the mouth of the flower and spread their feathery stigmas to receive pollen. Even if the male and female phases overlap briefly, pollen cannot fall upward from the longer stamens onto the shorter styles in the hanging flowers.

Wild columbine is an old-fashioned garden plant, cultivated in Eur... read more


On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Columbine is a Missouri native spring wildflower which occurs in rocky woods, slopes, ledges and open areas throughout the State. Features drooping, bell-like, 1-2", red and yellow flowers (red sepals, yellow-limbed petals, 5 distinctive red spurs and a mass of bushy yellow stamens). Delicate, biternate foliage is somewhat suggestive of meadow rue (Thalictrum) and remains attractive throughout the summer as long as soils are kept moist. Flowers are quite attractive to hummingbirds.


On May 29, 2001, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

A native of North America and can be found growing wild on rocky and wooded slopes. Foliage is light green and leaves are divided into 3-lobed leaflets. Flowers are nodding and bell-like with red spurs and yellow petals. Grow them in good garden soil in partial shade. They are tolerant of sunnier conditions if they are given enough moisture and not left to dry out. The bright flowers are an attractive treat to hummingbirds.