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The Columbine plant is usually classified as Aquilegia and known as Granny’s Bonnet. The flowers can resemble either jesters’ caps or “spurs”. The petals show an enormous range of “spur” length, ranging from a half inch to 5 inches. They come in a variety of both stunning, bright colors and soft pastels. The flower’s stamens are attractive and their centers sometimes take on a honeycomb look. These blooms attract hummingbirds because of their nectar, and the foliage is known for its fancy-lobed, lacy, blue-green leaves.
Columbine's lovely flowers appear in late spring to early summer. The plant thrives in partial shade and well-drained soil. An extra bonus is that they self-seed prolifically if not deadheaded, and reappear as volunteer seedlings. Since they are quite drought resistant, they are good plants for xeriscaping, make sturdy “edging” plants or survive in rock gardens. Plant in spring to early summer in the northern climate, but in the fall in the warmer southern areas. It is best to plant in an area with afternoon sunshine, and make sure it has lots of air circulation in and around the plant.