Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: 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)

16 vendors have this plant for sale.

62 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden


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:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

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

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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There are a total of 39 photos.
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12 positives
5 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive lolagardner 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.

Positive HummingbirdDude 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.

Positive Agaveguy 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.

Positive Violet56 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 love them. It's a delight to watch them. They get under the flower & stick their beck up into it.
I got double lucky with this plant. I have harvested the seeds each year & am covering a large area with them. Last year, I had a purple one come up.

Positive Malus2006 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.

Positive Katze 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.

Neutral frostweed 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.

Neutral rootrot 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

Positive genericgardener 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.

Positive mrsbrooks 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.

Positive Gabrielle 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.

Neutral debzone3 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!!).

Positive JaxFlaGardener 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 may help with drainage. Our daytime summer temperatures can top out over 100 F. I do water the plants just about daily except during rain. I have not had any problems with wilting or pests. I don't use any fertilizer other than broadcasting about 50 lbs of Millorganite throughout my 1/2 acre garden about twice a year.

A few of my A. canadensis bloomed around December and continued blooming throughout the winter. Most of the plants, however, waited until about March to flower and still have flowers now in late May.

My columbine plants stand about 2 ft tall with a full mound of leaves and flower stalks that reach about 3 ft tall. I'll try to get some pix to post of the plants while they are still in bloom. They are very impressive and were much admired at our Roundup.

Hey, Debzone3.

I recently transplanted my columbines around my yard without any problem. They went through a slight shock, and then perked up and went right back to flowering! I have a yellow columbine that is still has about 6 perfect flowers on it and we are into our 98 F days of summer here. Apparently, they are more heat tolerant than I expected.

Positive LilyLover_UT 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.

Positive Tree_Climber 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 Europe and America since the mid-1600s. It's easy to grow from seeds or from divisions of rootstocks in the spring. It prefers a moist, well drained, slightly acid, sandy loam with organic matter but will grow in a wide range of soils, including clays, especially if they drain well and have organic matter added. It does best in light shade but will tolerate full sun if daytime temperatures are not too hot. Sow seeds from spring to early summer or in flats during winter for transplanting outdoors in spring. Newly ripened seeds will germinate without treatment if sown outdoors in seedbeds or flats. Nursery stock should be set out in the spring or in the fall when dormant. Seedlings do not flower the first season.

Although in nature individual plants may persist for years, under garden conditions individuals may last only a few years. Wild columbine readily seeds itself, however, and new plants spread rapidly in the garden.

Neutral smiln32 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.

Neutral poppysue 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.


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

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