Perennial herbaceous plant native to most of the temperate areas of our planet. It forms low circular tufts of divided leaves, green-blue, with very long petiole; in spring from the center of the leaves stands a stem, up to about 90 cm long, which bears numerous flowers, often gathered in clusters, of various colors ranging from white to blue, sometimes even two-colored; they have a funnel-shaped cup, which ends with a spur. Flowering lasts until June, and is very abundant and showy; to prolong flowering it is advisable to cut the stems that carry faded flowers at the base. At the end of June the plant is left to produce the woody capsules that contain the seeds, so that it is self-seeded for the following year, then all the stems that carried the flowers are cut at the base, the leaves will adorn the garden until autumn with their compact green cushions, they will wither and disappear completely in winter.
Aquilegia is a lively plant capable of blooming profusely and in a wide range of colors.
All the species turn out to be very rustic and find easy placement in the flowerbeds, in the mixed border, in the natural or rocky garden, but they also adapt well to growing in containers, on balconies or window sills.
They are rather adaptable with regard to exposure and can therefore prove to be precious to enrich a slightly shady green space.
The genus Aquilegia, which belongs to the family of the ranuncolaceae, is composed of about 120 species spread throughout the Eurasian continent and in North America.
The species that can be found more easily in Italy are the A. vulgaris and the A. alpine, quite common in our meadows, especially above 800 meters of altitude.
The vegetative apparatus is very light and elegant: the basal leaves are lobed and form a pretty cushion. Along the stem, instead, there are petiolate leaves divided into three lobes, each further subdivided. Flowering usually occurs at the beginning of summer. The corollas are formed by 5 colored sepals that cover the buds. At the opening the sepals are arranged almost horizontally revealing the five lower laminae, which can be in the same shades or even in contrast. In the center there is a clearly visible tuft of yellow stamens.
The species originating from our continent flourish in pink, white and blue, with short spurs (which allow easy access to insects and thus good pollination). The varieties coming from North America, on the other hand, are mostly characterized by a long and narrow spur and warm colors, such as yellow and red, useful to attract the attention of hummingbirds, which in those areas are the main pollinators of small flowers.
|Family and gender|
Ranuncolaceae, gen Aquilegia, about 120 species
|Type of plant||Perennial short-lived, lively herbaceous|
|Ground||Generally rich, read Moist and well-drained|
|colors||Blue, pink, white, light blue, purple, yellow, red, almost black, two-tone|
|Irrigation||Keep the soil cool|
|Composting||In spring, before flowering||Caution||Poisonous plant in all its parts!|
These plants, also called with the name colombina, do not need too abundant watering, bearing short periods of drought without any problem. So water regularly, but supplying small amounts of water. Every 15-20 days, provide fertilizer for flowering plants, dissolved in the water used for watering, from April to July.In the open ground it is good to intervene when the area is rather dry. Keep in mind that they require more humidity at the time of vegetative growth, therefore from March to June.The name Aquilegia
The name Aquilegia comes from the Latin and means eagle. It refers to the shape of flowers, whose spurs particularly resemble the beak of a bird of prey.
However, it has many popular names: colombina, hidden love, perfect love, cornet, shoe ...
This plant adapts without problems to any type of soil, provided it is well drained and dry; there are even those who believe that the flowering and development of the plant are weakened by too fertile soil. Cultivate the eagles in sandy, well-drained and loose soil, also using a good garden soil.
The ideal substrate must be rich, capable of always retaining a slight humidity, but also light and with an excellent drainage capacity.
Aquilegia vulgaris differs slightly, as it wants a slightly calcareous and alkaline soil, and the longissima, which instead requires more moisture.
If our soil is too heavy, it will be necessary to work deep, incorporating good quantities of sand, mature manure and leaf soil.
Cultivation of aquilegia
The cultivation of aquilegia does not involve great difficulties. It is only necessary to specify that, in general, these are short-lived perennials. This means that a single pigeon plant tends to run out over about 5 years. It is also rather difficult, especially for cultivars and hybrids, to select seeds that retain their original characteristics unchanged. They will therefore have to be re-seeded often using selected seeds or to go back to buying seedlings (even the division is rather complicated).
at the beginning of spring or at the end of flowering it is possible to divide the tufts of aquilegia, placing the produced portions directly in their homes; at the end of summer it is possible to sow fresh seeds, directly at home. If you want to sow in the spring or summer it is advisable to put the seeds in the refrigerator for a few days before sowing them directly, to simulate the winter season. If you want to multiply columbines of particular colors it is advisable to divide the clumps, since the propagation by seed does not always produce plants with flowers of the same color as the mother plant, since the columbines hybridize with great ease.
Pests and diseases
This herbaceous plant is not easily affected by pests and diseases; sometimes the leaves are ruined by miner larvae or red spider mites.
These bright can be attacked, especially in spring, by snails and slugs. It is important to prevent creating barriers with ashes or setting up traps (beer-based ones are very effective).
Another frequent pest is the cochineal: we intervene as soon as we see its appearance by acting manually or using specific products (for example mineral oil + systemic insecticide).
Even powdery mildew is not rare, especially where there is frequently an alternation between heat and rain. We prevent with sulfur. If the attacks were strong and frequent we use a specific antioidic, possibly with curative and eradicating action.
Columbine specimens are plants that grow spontaneously in mountain areas throughout the world. Consequently, they do not suffer from the cold at all. Instead, they may have some problems when this is accompanied by high atmospheric and soil humidity: this could cause radical rot. It will therefore be necessary to prevent the soil from working in depth and correcting it according to our needs.
To stimulate the flowering of the dove, a liquid fertilizer for flowering plants can be distributed every 15 days, in which potassium is largely prevalent compared to nitrogen. Generally it starts in March to continue until the production of corollas is exhausted.
If desired we can also use a slow release granular fertilizer with the same characteristics, to be applied only once, around mid-March.
Before the arrival of winter it is certainly useful to spread some handful of manure in the area which, in addition to repairing the underground apparatus, will help to keep the substrate rich and airy.
The planting should be carried out, preferably, in autumn, but it is also possible at the beginning of spring, trying to disturb the roots as little as possible.
The seedlings, to get a nice full effect, should be spaced about 20-25 cm apart.
The columbines do not need excessive attention; It is necessary, however, to frequently devote itself to cleaning from withered flowers to stimulate the production of new ones and to avoid excessive self-dissemination. In autumn, or at the end of winter, we will have to clean the tuft from the dry aerial parts.
Colombina - Aquilegia alpina: Variety of aquilegia
There are so many species, varieties, hybrids and cultivars currently on the market. Aquilegia has always been much loved both for its elegance and for the large amount of colors and shapes in which it declinesquilegia
We will give a description of the most widespread, most requested and most famous.
Alpine Aquilegia also endemic to Italy, it grows in alkaline soils, generally in open meadows or on the edge of the woods. It has tomentose stems at the bottom and deep blue hanging flowers. Its height ranges from 30 to 60 cm.
Aquilegia vulgaris to be cultivated as a biennial, it is widespread in nature throughout Europaquilegia The flowering stems are up to 40 cm long and carry, from May to June, purple or blue pendulous corollas. From this descend many horticultural varieties, including some double ones.
It reproduces with extreme ease from seed.
Aquilegia Pyrenaica common in Switzerland and in Austriaquilegia It has small and solitary flowers, blue, up to 25 cm high.
Aquilegia Coerulea up to 80 cm in height for this species coming from the American continent, in particular from the rocky mountains. It assumes a bushy habit, with white flowers and shades from yellow to blue, with very thin and long spurs.
Aquilegia chrysantha it can exceed one meter in height and is in general a very interesting herb for both flower beds and mixed borders. It comes from Central America and carries golden yellow flowers sometimes with red touches.
Aquilegia skinneri originally from Mexico and the United States, it reaches 80 cm of height. The petals are greenish, with bright red spurs, very long. It can bloom again in autumn.
|provenance||First name||cultivars||color||Flowering period||height||Features|
Blue, sometimes lilac, mauve or white
Very dark purple, almost black
Dark blue with white margin
First greenish rose, then pink with white at the tip
Double corollas without spur
Deep blue with double spur collar, white margin
Simple pure white flowers on a green stem
Foliage sprayed with yellow
Purple or white
Mostly yellow foliage with green spots
Sepals and purple, black currant and black edges edged in white
At most three years of life
Very difficult cultivation in gardens
Blue or blue and white
Yellow and red
Uniform pale yellow
Blue and white, pink and white, blue and white and mixed colors
Suitable for the vase
Aquilegia, commonly called Columbine, or even a dancer, is a perennial plant; there are many species of this pi