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Herbaceous Perennial

Aquilegia vulgaris
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

common columbine

Aquilegia vulgaris, the wild species is usually blue, with nodding 'bonnets', but many purple, mauve, pink and white colour variants have developed in gardens during its long history in cultivation

Other common names
American bluebells
culverwort
see moredove plant
God's breath
granny's bonnets
lady's shoes
lion's herb
naked woman's foot
pigeon flower
sow wort
American snapdragon [2]
capon's tail [2]
cock's foot [3]
pigeon foot [2]
Synonyms
Aquilegia vulgaris mixed

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Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Blue Purple Green
Summer Blue Purple Green
Autumn
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

East–facing or South–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Ranunculaceae
Native to the UK
Yes
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Potentially harmful
Sap may irritate skin. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
Genus

Aquilegia are clump-forming herbaceous perennials with long-stalked, ternately divided basal leaves and erect, leafy stems bearing bell-shaped flowers with spreading, coloured sepals and petals with spurs, on branched stems

Name status

Correct

Plant range
W,C&S Europe

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in fertile, moist but well-drained soil, in full sun or partial shade

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown in spring, late summer or early autumn

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Low Maintenance
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Underplanting of roses and shrubs
Pruning

Cut back after flowering

Pests

May be attacked by aphids

Diseases

Susceptible to powdery mildews and aquilegia downy mildew

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