Columbine Indoor Plant Care – Can You Grow Columbine Indoors


By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Can you grow columbine indoors? Is it possible to grow a columbine houseplant? The answer is maybe, but probably not. However, if you’re adventurous, you can always give it a try and see what happens.

Columbine is a perennial wildflower that commonly grows in woodland environments and typically isn’t well suited for growing indoors. A columbine indoor plant may not live long and will probably never bloom. If you want to try your hand at growing container columbine inside, though, the following tips may help.

Caring for Columbine Indoor Plants

Plant columbine seeds in a pot filled with a mixture of half potting mix and half garden soil, along with a generous handful of sand to promote good drainage. Refer to the seed packet for specifics. Place the pot in a warm room. You may need to use a heat mat to provide sufficient warmth for germination.

When the seeds sprout, remove the pot from the heat tray and place in a bright window or under grow lights. Transplant the seedlings to large, sturdy pots when they reach heights of 2 to 3 inches (5-7.6 cm.). Keep in mind that columbine plants are good sized and can reach heights of 3 feet (1 m.).

Put the pot in a sunny window. Keep an eye on the plant. If the columbine looks spindly and weak, it probably needs more sunlight. On the other hand, if it displays yellow or white blotches it may benefit from a little less light.

Water as needed to keep the potting mix evenly moist but never soggy. Feed indoor columbine plants monthly, using a weak solution of water-soluble fertilizer. Indoor columbine plants are likely to live longer if you move them outdoors in spring.

Growing Columbine Houseplants from Cuttings

You may want to try growing indoor columbine plants by taking cuttings from existing plants in midsummer. Here’s how:

Take 3- to 5-inch (7.6-13 cm.) cuttings from a healthy, mature columbine plant. Pinch blooms or buds and remove the leaves from the lower half of the stem.

Plant the stem into a pot filled with moist potting mix. Cover the pot loosely with plastic and place it in bright, indirect light. Remove the plastic when the cuttings have rooted, generally in three to four weeks. At this point, put the pot in a sunny window, preferably facing south or east.

Water indoor columbine plants when the top inch (2.5 cm.) of potting mix feels dry to the touch. Feed your columbine houseplant monthly beginning in early spring using a weak solution of water-soluble fertilizer.

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Read more about Columbine


Columbine Plant Profile

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

One of the sweetest flowers in spring gardens is the Columbine. Columbine plants (Aquilegia spp.) have an airy appearance, with small, rounded leaves and tall flower stalks that hold the blooms above the foliage. The mid-spring blooms fill the void between early spring bulbs and peak garden season. Aquilegia's bell-shaped flowers are popular with hummingbirds, bees, and gardeners.

The genus name, Aquilegia, is from the Latin word aquila, for "eagle," and is so named because the flowers resemble the bird's claw. The common name columbine is after the Latin word for "dove," bestowed on the plant because the inverted flower was thought to resemble five birds clustered together.

Several native species are grown as garden plants, but this plant has been in cultivation for many years, resulting in dozens of popular hybrids and cultivars, with more developed each year. The plant readily cross-breeds, and gardeners who plant two different varieties sometimes are gifted with self-seeded volunteers that have an entirely new appearance.

Botanical Name Aquilegia spp.
Common Name Columbine
Plant Type Herbaceous perennial
Mature Size 15 to 20 inches tall, 12- to 18-inch spread
Sun Exposure Full sun to part shade
Soil Type Medium moisture, well-drained soil
Soil pH 6.1 to 6.8 (mildly acidic)
Bloom Time Late spring to early summer
Flower Color Blue, orange, pink, purple, red, white, yellow
Native Area Meadows and woodlands of northern hemisphere


When & Where to Plant Columbine

If planting bare root, dig a hole deep enough to allow the fleshy, flexible roots to reach downwards, and make sure the rhizome is approximately one inch beneath the soil.

Light: Full sun to dappled shade depending on your growing zone and the heat of your summers. Full sun in hot summer areas will encourage summer dormancy and foliage burn, however, full sun in cooler summer zones will result in better bloom and more compact plants.

Soil: Well-drained soil that stays evenly moist but not boggy or constantly wet is preferred. Dappled-shade situations, such as you might find at the edge of a woodland, are perfect for Columbine. Such a site keeps roots and foliage cool whilst providing light to encourage good blooms. Heavy clay soils are not tolerated well Columbine prefers sandier, loamier soils on the fatter side of average. Be aware however that too-rich soils can encourage vigorous upward growth that could require staking.

Spacing: Space 15”-18” apart, slightly less for dwarf varieties.

Columbine will spread naturally through seeds usually scattered around the base of the plant – as well as popping up in other places in the garden. The clumps grow bigger with time and can be divided with great care.

Planting: Plant in early spring or in early fall for flowers next season.


How to Grow Columbine Perennials

  • Keep weeds under control during the columbine growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their germination.
  • Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For perennials, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
  • Careful watering is essential in getting perennials off to a good start. Water thoroughly at least once a week to help new roots grow down deeply. Soil should be damp at about 1 inch below the soil surface. You can check this by sticking your finger in the soil. Water early in the morning to give all leaves enough time to dry. One inch of rain or watering per week is recommended for most perennial plants. You can check to see if you need to add water by using a rain gauge.
  • Until plants become established, some protection from extreme winds and direct, hot sunlight may be necessary. Good air movement is also important.
  • After new growth appears, a light fertilizer may be applied. Keep granular fertilizers away from the plant crown and foliage to avoid burn injury. Use low rates of a slow release fertilizer, as higher rates may encourage root rots.
  • Do not deadhead unless you want to eliminate self-sown coumbine seedlings.

Growing Columbine Houseplants from Cuttings

You may want to try growing indoor columbine plants by taking cuttings from existing plants in midsummer. Here’s how:

Take 3- to 5-inch (7.6-13 cm.) cuttings from a healthy, mature columbine plant. Pinch blooms or buds and remove the leaves from the lower half of the stem.

Plant the stem into a pot filled with moist potting mix. Cover the pot loosely with plastic and place it in bright, indirect light. Remove the plastic when the cuttings have rooted, generally in three to four weeks. At this point, put the pot in a sunny window, preferably facing south or east.

Water indoor columbine plants when the top inch (2.5 cm.) of potting mix feels dry to the touch. Feed your columbine houseplant monthly beginning in early spring using a weak solution of water-soluble fertilizer.


Watch the video: Columbine flower - grow and care Aquilegia plant


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