Aquilegia canadensis (Wild or Eastern Red Columbine)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic 

This lovely wildflower is native to woodlands and rocky slopes throughout much of the eastern half of North America.* Its nodding, bell-like flowers on delicate foliage attract hummingbirds and butterflies. The Virginia Native Plant Society honored Wild Columbine as Wildflower of the Year in 1998.

Print Version: Aquilegia canadensis, Wild or Eastern Red Columbine

Aquilegia canadensis, Wild or Eastern Red Columbine Perennial Flowers En Masse & from Bud to Full Bloom Height: 1⁄2–3 feet Spread: 1–11⁄2 feet Bloom Color: Red and yellow Characteristics Erect, branching, herbaceous perennial Compound green- to blue-green leaves with round lobes in groups of three Nodding flowers sport red sepals, red spurs, with yellow petals and hanging stamens April to July Self-seeds readily to form large colonies Attributes Tolerates dry soil, drought, and rabbits No serious diseases and good resistance to leaf miner where injury tends to be mostly cosmetic Deer seldom severely damage Ethnobotanic uses; may be harmful if ingested Attracts hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, moths Growing and Maintenance Tips Soil Requirements: Average, well-drained Light Requirements: Sun, Partial Shade Water Requirements: Dry, Moist Continuous full sun, extreme temperatures, and rich soil have adverse effects on growth Prune empty seed follicles in summer to keep tidy Generally lives 3–5 years and needs no dividing Use in borders or in rain or woodland gardens Excellent Replacement for Alliaria petiolata - Garlic Mustard Aquilegia vulgaris -European Columbine *In the Mid-Atlantic Region, it is native to DC, is rare in DE, and occurs throughout PA. In VA, it is common in the mountains, frequent in the Piedmont, and infrequent in the Coastal Plain.

Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets.