Growing a Columbine from Seeds

A garden with columbines.
What You'll Need
Refrigerated columbine seeds
Seed trays
Moist potting soil
Peat moss

Columbines are perennial bloomers that can be easily grown from columbine seeds. Columbines are essentially ornamental plants, grown for landscaping the garden. Columbine, or Aquilegia, is often grown for creating floral borders in the garden. Columbines typically grow to about 3-feet tall and are easy to maintain. They grow quickly and self-propagating themselves across the garden. They are naturally resistant to common gardens pests and diseases.

Growing Columbines: Getting Started

Columbine seeds can be bought from a garden supply store or borrowed from a neighborhood garden. The ideal time to plant columbine seeds is during the early spring or late fall season. You should refrigerate the seeds for about two weeks before using them.

Columbine Seed Preparation

Columbine seed preparation can be done indoors. Dig-up some moist soil from your garden. Pack the moist soil in a seed tray. Take the columbine seeds from the refrigerator and spread them over the seed tray. Press down upon the seeds but don’t bury them. The seeds should be slightly embedded, just under the top soil layer, as they need some ventilation and light. Put the seeded tray in the refrigerator. This is needed to stimulate the seeds, also called seed stratification. The combination of cold temperature and moisture ensures that none of the seeds is dormant. You don’t need to check on the seeds for two weeks. Usually, the seeds take about 25 days to germinate.

Once the germination has begun, small seedlings start appearing in the tray. The seedlings are now ready to be transplanted in the garden.

Transplanting Columbines

Choose a spot in the garden that is slightly shaded and has a moist soil bed. Loosen the soil bed using a rake. Remove any weeds or fast-spreading grass in the designated area. Using a spade, dig a hole that is at least 3-inches wider than the rootball of the columbine seedlings. Apply a small amount of dried, peat moss to create a uniform lining along the inside of the hole. Water the hole lightly and tamp down upon the dug-up soil. Carefully pull out the young seedlings from the seed tray. You should be very careful while doing this as the horizontal roots and underground stem are very delicate at this time. Transplanting shock to either of these can ruin the entire process. Each columbine should be planted at least 2-feet apart to allow space for root development. Press down on the soil to create a compact soil layer and water it.

Basic Care

When the columbines start growing, feed them with basic, NPK fertilizers. A monthly dosage of an all-purpose fertilizer is recommended. Water the soil periodically, ensuring that the soil bed is never dry. You can increase the water drainage capacity of the soil bed by adding some wood-based mulch around the base of the plants. Some columbines tend to grow very fast, often crowding the nearby, emerging plants. You can manually thin out such plants. Don’t use shears or pruning equipment for this. Simply twist and bend the young stems with your hands to allow sufficient growing space for every plant.