Questions on: Columbine
Ron Smith, Horticulturist, NDSU Extension Service
Q: I purchased a columbine plant from a catalog a few years ago. The plant did well the first and second year. This year it has exploded. Iíve dug up at least 60 new plants in the last few weeks. After this last rain, I looked and plants are everywhere! Is this normal or will I be fighting this flower like I fight the spread of strawberries in my garden? (Brookings, S.D.)
A: Columbines typically will self-seed, but will not be a problem from an invasive standpoint. They typically weaken when they go to seed, so many of the seedlings will not mature. I have had columbines in my backyard for many years. We always get a good flush of growth and a few flowers. They eventually die if they are not reseeded. You may have an ideal location for this species to self-propagate, although I never have heard of it being a problem. If this is creating something that you donít want, then nuke everything with Roundup before they have a chance to seed.
Q: I reside in south central North Dakota and will be relocating this summer to the north-central part of the state. I have invested a lot of time and energy in some plants so I would like to relocate them. Specifically, stone crop, columbine and a lily. Would it be okay to relocate them now? I won't be able to return in the fall to retrieve them. Any special tips on handling them? (Wishek, N.D.)
A: Carefully dig them up with as much root and soil mass as possible and move them to their new site as soon as possible. Water in well and fertilize. Enjoy!
Q. I have a columbine that is about 4 years old and has always had mauve flowers. This year half of the blossoms are mauve and half are white. What causes this? (Langdon, N.D.)
A. Sometimes when they self-seed, genetic crossing will give a new generation of mixed colors. However, don't fret. I have never seen a columbine I didn't like.
Q. About four years ago I got this columbine seed, and the plants were a plumish red with a cream center. This spring little ones are coming up all over, and they started to bloom in a variety of colors. My question is, will they come back next year in the same colors, or should I take the seed off and save it, or is it just a fluke of nature and I'll end up with the first color back again? (Litchville, N.D.)
A. You have experienced what is known as open pollination. In other words, nature, helped along by wind and insects, crossed the Columbine flowers for you to produce very high germination rate seeds. Next year should be pretty much the same. A good rainbow of colors. Enjoy!
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