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Hybrid columbine

Hybrid columbines have unusual, spurred flowers.

Hybrid columbines are a great woodland perennial for the naturalized garden. Brightly colored nodding flowers, in an assorted colors, rise above gray-green mounds of fern-like foliage. Favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name:

Aquilegia hybrids

All Common Names:

Hybrid columbine, columbine

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Perennial

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Container,
  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Patio/sidewalk

Size Range:

  • Large plant (more than 24 inches),
  • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil

Season of Interest:

  • Early spring,
  • Mid spring,
  • Late spring

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Blue,
  • Pink,
  • Purple,
  • Red,
  • White,
  • Yellow,
  • Other

Shape or Form:

  • Mounded

Growth Rate:

  • Fast

More Information:


Mounds of foliage with flower stalks rising 1 1/2 to 3 feet high

Plant Care

Full sun to part shade in average, well-drained soil
Tolerant of clay, loam, sandy soils
Provide moisture if planted in full sun and during dry periods
Reseeds easily, remove faded flowers to avoid seeding
Larger varieties may need staking
Cut foliage to ground if infected with leaf miners. New foliage will emerge.

Disease, pests, and problems

Leaf miner, stem borers, aphids, powdery mildew, leaf spots

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Deer, rabbit

Native geographic location and habitat


Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Butterflies and hummingbirds

Leaf description

Mounds of 3-parted compound leaves with irregularly cut margins
Blue-green to gray-green, leaves are fuzzy pubescent.

Flower description

Hanging or erect flowers borne on terminal branching stems from April to June.
Each flower is has 5-petals, 5-sepals with long or short spurs projecting backward.
Flower colors vary from white, yellow, blue, pink, red, violet or bicolor.

Fruit description

Seed capsule; reseeds freely but most seeds do not come true to color

Hybrids varieties and their differences 

Biedermeier hybrids  (Aquilegia 'Biedermeier'): 1 to 2 feet high with rounded mounds of blue-green foliage; pendulous flowers in white, purple, pink, yellow and blue

Cardinal columbine (Aquilegia 'Cardinal'): 12 to 18 inches high and wide; long-spurred, dark red with white corolla in May and June

Cinderella columbine (Aquilegia incarnata 'Cinderella'): 3 to 4 feet high and 3 feet wide; vanilla-scented, shell-pink, recurved flowers with white eyes

Goldfinch columbine (Aquilegia 'Goldfinch'): 18 to 24 inches high and wide; long spurred creamy yellow flowers

Ice Ballet columbine (Aquilegia incarnata 'Ice Ballet'): 3 feet high and wide; white flat-topped flowers; narrow, gray-green leaves

Double White columbine (Aquilegia 'Double White'): 2 to 3 feet hig and 12 to 18 inches wide; bright white, double flowering nodding; blue-green foliage

McKana hybrid columbine: hybrids grow 2 to 2 1/2 feet high with medium green foliage and long spurred blooms in red, yellow, blue and bicolored

Spring Magic Rose & Ivory columbine (Aquilegia 'Spring Magic'): 18 to 24 inches high and wide; early blooming; outside petals rosy-pink with creamy ivory interior


Location of Aquilegia hybrids (Hybrid columbine) at the Arboretum

We do not seem to have this in our living collection.