Aquilegia caerulea, commonly called Colorado Blue Columbine or Rocky Mountain columbine, is a bushy, clump-forming perennial which occurs in the U.S. Rocky Mountains at elevations of 6000 to 12000' from Montana south to New Mexico. In cultivation, it typically grows 1.5-2' tall and features large, upward-facing, bicolored flowers (to 3" across) with 5 pale to sky blue sepals and 5 white petals with backward-extending, straight and slender blue spurs (to 2" long). Blooms in spring. Compound, biternate, almost fern-like, medium green leaves with lobed and deeply-cleft leaflets. Foliage is somewhat suggestive of meadow rue (Thalictrum). State flower of Colorado.
Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates wide range of soils except heavy, poorly drained ones. Prefers 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. Garden Uses. Borders, cottage gardens, open shade gardens, native plant gardens or naturalized areas. Also a good selection for a hummingbird garden.
- Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Put the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the seeds.
- Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.