Michigan2Iowa
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Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2006 4:39 pm
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Zone 5a
Contact: AOL

Columbines: Winter Care

I'm curious about the winter care of my Hybrid Columbines (Aquilegia)

I had rescued many abused Columbines from my local nurseries last spring and summer, and they grew wonderfully last fall with some TLC to form many new crowns (I'm assuming we should call them crowns, but I'm speaking of the tall structure the base of the leaf stalks are attached to).

My concern is how to properly protect these crowns over the winter. I allow the leaves to die back and then carefully snip them off in the late fall. I cover most of my other perennials after the ground freezes, but I've noticed the last few years that columbines have a tendency to rot very quickly if we get just one day of snow melt. Can I forego the winter covering of my Columbines without causing them harm? I'm assuming since they are hybridized from the very hardy indigenous A. canadensis they would do fine...but am I assuming too much?

One final thing, I'm sure that a lack of mulch will increase my leaf-miner problem, but they don't bother me much, I actually think their little leaf-tunnels add a little interest :)

Thanks,
-Paul-

grandpasrose
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Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: Quesnel, BC, Canada - Zone 4a

Hey Paul, I'm not sure what Hardiness Zone you are in or how cold it gets there, but I am in Zone 4a, and the temperature can go as low as -15 Farenheit. I don't do a thing to my columbines, and I have never lost any. I have quite a few varieties, and have had them for years. You should be okay, they're a pretty hardy plant. :wink:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

Michigan2Iowa
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Posts: 49
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2006 4:39 pm
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Zone 5a
Contact: AOL

Val,

Thanks for putting my mind at ease. I'm in Eastern Iowa, Zone 5a (I now have it listed next to my location on the left here). I have some beautiful William Guinness hybrids that add some dramatic dark color and great constrast to my early-mid spring garden and I'm always concerned about losing them.

Love this forum...I've memorized my seed and nursery catalogues front to back and have now found something else to help me waste away the cold winter days!

-P-

grandpasrose
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Posts: 1651
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: Quesnel, BC, Canada - Zone 4a

That's great Paul! Glad you like the forum. We hope to have an open friendly place to go when you need help, want to brag, or just chat. Feel free to contribute anytime! :wink:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

The Helpful Gardener
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Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Hey Paul

Could be you have A. canadensis hybrids (I am very fond of the new dwarf form 'Little Lanterns') but there are many different species. The miniature A. carulea is another U.S. native that does well with sharp drainage in very cold climes (it's native to the Rockies). A. flabellata is a garden strain that has been getting a lot of play lately because of it's demure sizing and wide color range. But I am especially fond of my regions only native, and recommend A. canadensis for eastern U.S. gardeners...

Scott

Michigan2Iowa
Full Member
Posts: 49
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2006 4:39 pm
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Zone 5a
Contact: AOL

Scott,

Thanks for your reply!

I'm confident that my William Guinness are hybridized from A. canadensis due to their nodding nature, the size of the spurs and the length of the flower stalk, so I'll stop worrying about it getting chilled! :D

I am very interested in the characteristics of the other species of Aquilegia as I'm taking a Spring Flora Botony course this semester at the Univeristy of Iowa (I'm the oldest dude in the class :oops:). A. canadensis has the beautiful, nodding yellow and red flowers with very pronounced spurs, and A. vulgaris is a european introduction with a larger color range and shorter spurs. I'm interested in learning more about A. flabellata...where is it's natural region? You mentioned it is small in stature, does it have a different sepal and petal structure as well?

Oh, and thanks a lot everybody...now I'm HOOKED on this forum.

-Paul-

p.s. don't worry Scott, any info I learn from you will be appropriately cited in class... :D

The Helpful Gardener
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Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Paul, A flabellata is a garden hybrid with no native range...

Glad to see you are enjoying and contributing. Just the kind of member we like to get. :D

Scott

Guest

COLUMBINS ARE PERENNIALS AND ARE HARDY IN MY ZONE YOU CAN LEAVE THEM IN THE GROUND IF YOUR AFRAID THEY WILL DIE SAVE THE SEEDS AFTER THE FLOWERS DIES AND TURNS BROWN SPREAD THEM WHERE YOU WANT THEM AND YOU HAVE MORE TO ME THE MORE PERENNIALS THE BETTER THATS WHAT I DID AND GOT LOTS

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