Columbines, also known as Granny’s Bonnet and by the scientific name Aquilegia is one of the most popular flowers grown in gardens today. It is found in meadows and mountainous regions of the Northern Hemisphere growing wild, but mostly you’ll find it growing along garden borders these days. There are literally thousands of varieties of this gorgeous flower available. There are so many of them in fact that this list started out with 100 varieties on it originally, but I decided to narrow it down to just 30. Not only will this article show you some of the most stunning popular varieties of Columbines you can buy it will also give you a bit of information on how to take care of them and what they need.
Know What They Need
Before you start picking out which Columbines you might want to grow in your yard it’s important for you to know what they need so you can decide if they are compatible with your space and your lifestyle.
Columbine is a wonderfully drought tolerant plant. That’s not to say that it doesn’t like water though, it does. But it doesn’t like to be wet all the time. Depending on where you live you can easily go days without watering your columbine.
Depending on where you live the light requirements for columbine will vary. In cooler climates, it will grow quite well in direct sun. But in warmer places, the plants will need partial or even full sun. They just don’t do well with the direct heat from the sun. They are an excellent garden perennial but really thrive in indirect sunlight.
Columbines aren’t terribly picky when it comes to the soil they’re in. So long as they have nutrients and the soil drains well they will be happy. Though, they do like their soil to be a little bit on the moist side, despite being drought tolerant. In nature, they grow in rich, well-drained soil and rocky slopes.
Thankfully Columbines are really only known for having two pests major pests that will bother them, The Columbine Leaf miner and the Columbine Sawfly. It’s very easy to tell which one of these you have as they leave very different evidence behind. Aphids also love them but as irritating as they are aphids are pretty easy to deal with.
The leafminer will leave trails in leaves that look similar to ant tunnels in an ant farm. The tunnels are light in color, almost white even.
Sawfly damage on the other hand looks like someone has been eating the green leaves of your columbine. They tend to start at the outer edge of the leaves and work their way towards the middle stem. So, if the edges of your leaves are starting to look a little worn, you might want to check for Sawflies.
Columbine plants don’t usually last for very long, but they are great at self-sowing. This means that they will come back year after year without you having to do anything. But, if this is your plan then you need to be aware of cross-pollination. Columbines that are planted close together absolutely will cross-pollinate with one another. This will mean that the flowers that come up the next year will be some sort of cross between the columbines that are planted near one another.
For some, this can be a fun experiment, while others prefer to keep the same variety going steady. If you don’t want to experiment with your columbines (you don’t actually have to do anything) then there is really only one way to make sure the same type of flowers come back year after year. That is to only plant one variety in one area of your yard. Even then, you might end up with some cross-pollination.
30 Amazing Columbine Varieties
This native of Canada won’t do so well in warmer southern climates but thrives in the north closer to where it can be found in the wild.
This gorgeous yellow flower is found natively from Utah to Texas, meaning it’s a bit more hearty when it comes to drought and heat.
European Crowfoot Columbine
If you’re hoping for a strongly scented garden then you might want to skip on the European Crowfoot, it doesn’t have much of a smell at all.
Granny’s Bonnet Columbine
There seems to be a lot of confusion online about Granny’s Bonnet Columbine since it seems to both be a common name for the entire Columbine family as well as the name of a variety of Columbine.
Aquilegia Olympica Columbine
These fantastic plants will have amazing growth in clumps with clusters of purple flowers that hummingbirds will go nuts for.
A short-lived plant that will self-seed prolifically and in the right conditions might give a second bloom in Fall after its first in Spring.
Swan Pink Yellow Columbine
Unfortunately Swan Pink Yellow is an F1 Hybrid, which means that if you’re hoping to save seeds or let your flowers self seed you won’t get very good results. But, I think these gorgeous flowers might just be worth the extra effort.
Red Hobbit Columbine
If you’re worried about space then these dwarf Red Hobbit Columbines might be just what you’re after. They only grow about 12 inches tall and bloom from late Spring to early Summer.
Black Barlow Columbine
Black Barlow are grown specifically for their beauty in bouquets as cut flowers. The flowers are short-lived but so gorgeous they are absolutely worth growing.
Blue Barlow Columbine
A gorgeous purple variety that hummingbirds and butterflies love and will be left alone by rabbits and deer.
Clementine Red Columbine
An amazing low-maintenance flower that grows tall without a whole lot of foliage.
Crimson Star Columbine
These Columbines will grow up to heights of 30 inches tall and have a pretty decent tolerance to heat in mild climates where you can even plant them in full sun.
Colorado Blue Columbine
Possibly one of my favorite on this list, the Colorado Blue Columbine is actually the state flower of Colorado. This means that it is illegal to dig up the flower on public land.
Origami Red and White Columbine
Origami Red and White have amazing, very large flowers that can reach heights up to 2 or 3 inches across! They will start blooming in late Spring and keep going for 12 fantastic weeks.
Danish Dwarf Columbine
These pretty little flowers make a stunning border but are also commonly grown for cut flowers.
William Guinness Columbine
This stunning columbine is well known for its ability to attract a lot of bees throughout the Spring and Summer.
Aquilegia x Hybrida Columbine
An amazing award-winning columbine that comes in a couple of different colors.
A creamy white flower that attracts hawkmoths and tends to grow in the more alpine areas of the famous Sierra Nevada mountain range in California.
Snow Queen Columbine
A pretty white flower with long spurs that is often grown to make homemade bouquets. It grows well in containers that are 3 gallons or larger.
Nora Barlow Columbine
A columbine with double petals that will only produce 3 to 5 stems in the first year, but after it has been established you will see up to 10 stems growing as high as 30 inches.
A favorite for hummingbirds, this bloom will grow well in lower elevations despite what the name might suggest. It does cross-pollinate with other columbines well, so any offspring that pop up around it are unlikely to have the same color if you have other columbines near.
Delicate little purple flowers that prefer moist but well-draining soil and either full sun or partial shade depending on where it is being grown.
In the right climate, you can get blooms on Pyrenees Columbines for up to three months straight. In nature, it grows in grasslands and rocky terrain in the Pyrenees mountain range.
Grandmother’s Garden Columbine
A variety of columbine that comes that can be found in an array of colors like dark rose, violet, pink, and white and looks fantastic alongside sweet rocket.
Green Apples Columbine
No list of flowers is complete without a flower that has some green in it and Green Apples is filling that niche for us today. This is one of my favorites on this list because it has a fully double blossom and not much of a spur.
An amazing variety of Columbine that can reach up to 3 feet tall, making it seem almost more like a bush than anything with its fern-like foliage. It has gorgeous showy white flowers that look amazing in bouquets.
Pagoda Pink and White Columbine
A very cute flower that looks amazing in cottage garden-style gardens. It grows about 14 inches in height in ideal conditions, but that can be difficult to achieve since isn’t very fond of warmer temperatures.
Pink Petticoat Columbine
Pink Petticoat Columbines are quite possibly the cutest variety of any flower in existence. It’s so easy to see yourself sitting outside next to a bed full of them having afternoon tea.
Songbird Bunting Columbine
A dainty flower that grows well in containers, rock gardens, and also works well in garden borders that if well taken care of can live for up to 5 years.
Tequila Sunrise Columbine
These flowers are fantastic for attracting beneficial insects without attracting bigger animals like rabbits or deer that blooms from mid - Spring to mid - Summer.