california native flora

a drought tolerant patio garden of mostly natives

Western Columbine Journal

Aquilegia Formosa – Western Columbine

Dec 23, 2010. - Western Columbine - Aquilegia Formosa. Seed specimen 1.
Click Image To Enlarge

Although not drought tolerant, the red and yellow flowers produced by Western Columbine was enough to convince me to order some seeds from Larner Seeds in Bolinas, CA. I planted those seeds in July 2009 and they germinated after about 6 weeks. I have two specimens in the garden in shady spots right next to the wall. One is already in danger of being crowded out by a quickly spreading Salvia Spathacea (Hummingbird Sage) but the other should do just fine.

This California native requires occasional to moderate water in the summer. It will reach a height of no more than 3′ tall, 1′ to 2′ wide. I’m told on average this perennial only lives for 2 or 3 years in the garden, so it’s performance will help me decide if I want to replace like with like.

** Update **

Aquilegia Formosa typically flowers in the Spring. It’s never a bad time to see a splash of color in the garden and a confused Western Columbine is as good a source as any. I’m acutally over the moon to see blooms on this plant. I grew this specimen from seed, starting it out 18 months or so ago. Back when I was first learning about California native plants this was one that really jumped out at me simply due to those gorgeous flowers. To see it blooming now and enjoying the rain brings a nice bit of Christmas cheer to the garden.

I’m told in spite of it blooming now there should be a new round of flowers on this plant again in the spring.

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Plant Meta Data

Common NameWestern Columbine
Botanic NameAquilegia Formosa
OriginCalifornia
Bloom PeriodSpringSummer
Bloom Color
Light RequiredPartial Shade
Water ToleranceModerate
Potential Size (H x W)3' x 2'
NotesAttracts ButterfliesAttracts Hummingbirds

Gallery

Click image to enlarge

Dec 23, 2010. - Western Columbine - Aquilegia Formosa. Seed specimen 1.Dec 23, 2010. - Western Columbine - Aquilegia Formosa. Seed specimen 1.Dec 12, 2010. - Western Columbine - Aquilegia Formosa. Seed specimen 1.Dec 12, 2010. - Western Columbine - Aquilegia Formosa. Seed specimen 1. Soon to flower for the first time.Sep 25, 2010. - Western Columbine - Aquilegia Formosa. Seed specimen 1.May 10, 2010. - Western Columbine - Aquilegia Formosa. Seed specimen 1.Jan 10, 2010. - Western Columbine - Aquilegia Formosa. Seed specimen 2.Nov 8, 2009. - Western Columbine - Aquilegia Formosa. Seed specimen 1.