Golden Columbine – Aquilegia chrysantha

See also: Native PlantsHerbaceous Perennials
Golden columbine gets bigger and bushier than the more graceful and delicate American columbine (Aquilegia canadensis). Like American columbine, Aquilegia chrysantha is an herbaceous perennial native to the United States. Golden columbine's flowers are also larger than American columbine's, reaching  2-3 inches long.

golden columbine

Golden columbine is superb in the spring perennial garden. Click for larger.

Golden columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha) is native to the southwestern United States. It has pale lemon yellow flowers that border on ethereal. Leaves are three-lobed. Golden columbine is a clumpy grower, reaching up to three feet tall and wide.

Golden columbine can handle full sun to part shade. I recommend you plant it in a place that is in the shade at the times you are most likely to be in the garden.

Water and soil quality requirements are average or medium...and by this I mean you don't need to prepare the soil to the Nth degree (although your columbine will appreciate some compost mixed in), but hard scrabble soil conditions will not do.

aquilegia chrysantha

The eagle talons for which columbine gets its genus name. Click for larger.

Golden columbine may be cut back in summer when the leaves get tatty...let the flowers go to seed however.

Golden columbine, unlike many of the European columbine hybrids, will come true to seed. It is not an aggressive spreader in the landscape. One of my greatest gardening pleasures is finding columbine popping up in unexpected places in the garden. Many gardeners weed fanatically. Live a little and allow golden columbine to reseed around the garden.

Evenly moist soil is best. You need to watch the soil drainage. Many herbaceous perennials will tolerate just about anything but wet feet in winter, and golden columbine is no different. Golden columbine is hardy zones 3-9, so northern gardeners are in good shape.

Deer and rabbits do not like golden columbine. Those flowers and the foliage surely look tasty. The sap can irritate the skin, so maybe it has a defense systems in place to ward off hungry visitors.

Golden columbine is also known as golden-spur columbine. Finally, consider reading a nice write-up on golden columbine from the U.S. Forest Service.

About Barrie

Barrie earned both his Bachelor's (1990) and Master's (2006) degrees in landscape architecture from the University of Georgia. His favorite plant is the oakleaf hydrangea.