Aquilegia (McKana Group)

Common Name: columbine 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Ranunculaceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White, red, yellow, blue, pink, purple, maroon, bicolors
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer

Culture

Easily grown in average, evenly moist, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates a wide range of soils except heavy, poorly-drained ones. Prefers organically rich, moist soils with light to moderate shade. Remove flowering stems after bloom to encourage additional bloom. Keep soils uniformly moist after bloom to prolong attractive foliage appearance. When foliage depreciates, plants may be cut to the ground.

This cultivar may be grown from seed and may self-seed in the garden under optimum growing conditions. However, different varieties of columbine may cross-pollinate in the garden producing seed that is at variance with either or both parents.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Aquilegia is a genus of about 70 species of herbaceous perennials from the Northern Hemisphere.

Genus name comes from the Latin word for eagle in reference to the flower’s five spurs which purportedly resemble an eagle’s talon.

The McKana Group is a tall columbine hybrid seed strain which features a wide selection of large, bright-colored, long-spurred, nodding, bi-colored flowers in shades of blue/white, red/yellow and various other color combinations involving pinks and purples. A clump-forming perennial which typically grows to 30" tall. Biternate to triternate, almost fern-like, gray-green foliage is somewhat suggestive of meadow rue (Thalictrum). Blooms in spring. Aquilegia comes from the Latin word for eagle in reference to the flower's five spurs which purportedly resemble an eagle's talon.

Problems

Susceptible to leaf miner. Aphids are a lesser problem. Potential disease problems include leaf spot, powdery mildew and rust. Foliage usually declines by mid-summer at which point it should be cut to the ground.

Garden Uses

Borders, rock gardens, cottage gardens, open shade gardens, woodland gardens or naturalized areas. Also a good selection for a hummingbird garden. Continue to water plants after bloom to enjoy the ground cover effect of the foliage.