Western Columbine Seeds (Aquilegia formosa)
A classic native wildflower for shady locations!
Western columbine is a wonderfully adaptable little plant that is perfectly happy in mostly shaded areas with damp soils such as the north sides of buildings, yet it also does fine open sunny meadows as well. Other than hot, dry locations, or places, this plant seems happy just about anywhere.
That said, columbine is relatively short and doesn't compete well with much taller plants. On our farm, it struggles under the competition of much taller stinging nettles and it responds well whenever the nettles are weeded back -- showing that it can spread with a little help and protection.
The flowers are not overwhelmingly active with visitors, but they do attract a surprisingly wide range of different types of pollinators ranging from hummingbirds to tiny Andrena mining bees and syrphid flies. It's particularly satisfying to watch large queen bumble bees in the spring dangling from the downward-facing blossoms while the entire flower stalk bobs wildly up and down under the bee's weight.
For folks with mature fir trees in their yards, this is a great native understory plant that can add a little bit of color in an space that might otherwise have few non-green options. Do note, it can take some patience and dedication to grow columbine from seed. We recommend sowing in well-watered seed flats in a shaded location, and protected from slugs, until the seedlings are large enough to transplant.
Approximately 100 seeds (0.2 grams).