Not too long ago, I said I was on the fence with aquilegia (a.k.a. Columbine)
But then I decided I'm going to double-down and try to plant more aquilegia next spring. This time I'll be adding the species, not the Winky type I already have. The species is supposed to do a better job attracting hummingbirds and self-sowing itself.
But what I'm really liking about aquilegia right now is its green, cheerful foliage.
It's true that we have not had a particularly cold winter yet (it was in the 60s again today), but nonetheless at a time when nighttime temps in the 20s have killed back many of the other perennials, it is nice to see aquilegia's fresh leaves still looking great.
Plus, I've come to really appreciate how long-lasting foliage can shelter the soil and thereby deter weeds.
Do you grow aquilegia? If so, when/how do you prune the foliage? Sooner Plant Farm suggests cutting back the leaves in early spring, so I'm thinking maybe I'll cut all the stems back to 1-2 inches in late February or early March. I'm not too worried about over-pruning aquilegia because I already cut these plants all the way back twice in the summer when the foliage looked tattered and exhausted and the plants quickly responded with a burst of pristine new leaves that seemed healthier than ever.
|Aquilegia formosa Crimson Columbine, photo by David Hofmann|
Also, many sources (including this At Home in Sussex County blog) describe aquilegia as being a short-lived plant (often lasting only 2-4 years). Has that been your experience? Have your aquilegia plants self-sowed?
Finally, if you have had success with aquilegia, which type would you describe as your favorite both in terms of performance (flowers, foliage, lifespan) and quantity of self-sowing?
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