Question: I haven’t had the best luck with my columbines. What can I do to get better flowers?
Answer: Columbines are native to cooler areas, so our summer heat can take its toll. Many of the hybrids and even species types are reluctant to grow and bloom well in our climate. Hinckley’s columbine is native to the Big Bend Country mountains in West Texas. A selection called ‘Texas Gold’ columbine establishes well and reseeds fairly freely. Plant it in shade in well-drained, highly organic soil. Keep it moist, and cut all the old foliage off in mid-summer, after the spider mites have turned it all tan. Not only will the mother plants come back for several years, but you’ll also get seedlings germinating within the bed as well. It’s a lovely plant for the shade garden.