The Columbine plant (Aquilegia), also called wild columbine, wild honeysuckle, red-bells, rock-lily and jack-in-trousers is a cold hardy perennial that can be found growing in the wild growing just about anywhere, but especially in fields and meadows from Colorado's Rocky Mountains to the east coast. Very easy to grow, Columbine needs well drained soil and does best with morning sun and partial to full shade in the afternoons. Typically, the plant will grow to about twenty-four inches high with flowers forming on tall thin spikes. With a long blooming season -- from mid May through July -- the flowers are quite showy, coming in all sorts of colors, often in spectacular combination, including white, pink, yellow, deep purple, red and lavender. The leaves, too, are very attractive, producing a delicate, almost fern-like atmosphere in shady places. There are some dwarf varieties, too, like the one pictured here, with leaves staying close to the ground under multiple flower spikes reaching only about half a foot into the air. All varieties are quite adorable.
Easy to grow, Columbine returns from year to year for about five seasons, but also spreads by self-seeding. Plants that sprout from seeds bloom the second year. They will self-hybridize as well. In some areas, the plant is evergreen or semi-evergreen, but here, they die back in the winter only to return the next spring. They do well in containers, too. Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds love this plant. In fact, according to the USDA, Columbine is an important nectar source for hummingbirds.