Aquilegia Species, Crimson Columbine

Aquilegia formosa

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Aquilegia (a-kwi-LEE-jee-a) (Info)
Species: formosa (for-MOH-suh) (Info)
Synonym:Aquilegia arctica
Synonym:Aquilegia californica
Synonym:Aquilegia columbiana
Synonym:Aquilegia emarginata
Synonym:Aquilegia hookeri
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

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

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Anchorage, Alaska

Alameda, California

Crescent City, California

Knights Landing, California

Los Altos, California

Redwood City, California

Richmond, California

Roseville, California

Sacramento, California

Des Plaines, Illinois

Somerset, Kentucky

Prince Frederick, Maryland

Sparks, Nevada

Mansfield, Ohio

Gold Hill, Oregon

Klamath Falls, Oregon


Portland, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Bremerton, Washington

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 31, 2016, Ancolie88 from Innsbruck,
Austria (Zone 6b) wrote:

Aquilegia formosa is a treasure with strong colors. It has a very long lifespan here in Austria Tyrol in my garden. One plant is now seven years old, which is very much for most of the other Aquilegia species


On Sep 9, 2013, marti001 from Somerset, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

I found this growing wild here in Kentucky and brought home the seeds for my garden. It grows freely and self sows. I love it mixed in with my other columbines.
And I am putting in an area for native plants so I will add it to that area also.


On Sep 28, 2005, Scorpioangel from Gold Hill, OR (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is a native to this area. I collected seeds from the wild yard of my mom, sowed them outdoors in the fall and had babies coming up in the spring. That was 10 years ago and they still are here. They freely self sow if not dead-headed.


On Mar 29, 2005, youreit from Knights Landing, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Since this plant is native from Alaska to northern California, Montana, and Utah, I just planted it and let nature do the rest. It's now blooming for the first time, and it's flowers are, indeed, small. Very pretty, though, and one of the easiest plants to grow in my yard.

I'm going to follow the Sunset book's recommendations and allow it to set seeds so the birds can enjoy some of them. I hope the rest of them will self sow and spread out, too.


On Mar 24, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have this in dry, well-drained, regularly watered shade.


On May 23, 2003, dmongerson from Salmon Arm,
Canada wrote:

I have had good germination and am just starting with them. I'm wondering how moist I should keep them in the garden. Here in the wild(British Columbia interior) they seem to like it pretty wet.


On Aug 7, 2002, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

Aquilegia formosa grows in Alaska along roadsides and in woodland clearings. It adapts very well to the garden and self-sows readily. The flowers are rather small, but the colors are brilliant and showy. Lately I have noticed some larger blooms on plants that seem to have crossed with my domestics.