Aquilegia Vulgaris: [Sowing, Care, Irrigation, Substrate, Problems]

Aquilegia vulgaris is a small plant that produces showy flowers and is native to Spain.

Its flowering usually occurs during the spring – summer period , adorning the gardens where it is planted.

As for the colors, there are many varieties. They are capable of being presented in a single color or also with two-color mixtures.

Of course, it is necessary to consider that it is an inedible plant , so care must be taken in the places chosen for planting.

Of the rest, it will only remain to enjoy a species ideal for gardens, terraces or to assemble compositions in conjunction with other flowers

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Important points when sowing Aquilegia Vulgaris
  • When? In early spring or fall.
  • Where? In semi-shade, in a nourished and fresh soil.
  • How do we prepare the land? Adding a layer ofhomemade compost .
  • How should we water? In an abundant way, directly on the base of the plant , without wetting the leaves.
  • How often do you have to water? Three times a week to prevent the substrate from drying out.
  • What pests and diseases does it have? The aphid and rust.

Aquilegia vulgaris characteristics

Aquilegia vulgaris (European columbina, common columbina, grandmother’s hat, grandmother’s hat) is a species of columbina native to Europe. It is a flowering perennial herbaceous plant that grows up to 1.2 m tall, with finely hairy, branching stems.

The leaves are doubly-tempered; each leaf has three groups of three leaflets. The flowers, in various shades of purple , blue , pink, and white , are pendant or horizontal with hooked spurs, appearing in early summer .

The specific Latin epithet vulgaris means «common.»

This species and several hybrids derived from it are popular garden flowers, available in a variety of single and bicolor colors, in single and double forms.

Although they are perennial , cultivars can be short-lived and are therefore best treated as biennials. Spent flower heads must be removed to prevent the plant from being planted. Crops include Barlow series («Nora Barlow», «Black Barlow», «Rose Barlow», «Christa Barlow»), «Pretty Bonnets».

When to sow aquilegia vulgaris?

Sowing has to be done at the beginning of spring so that they carry out their germination and seedling growth process.

This process will last a few months and will allow the transplant to be carried out in early autumn in the place chosen for this purpose.

It is also possible to start the germination process during the fall and, later, to transplant it in the spring.

Where to plant aquilegia vulgaris?

  • Aquilegia vulgaris needs to be sown in semi-shade to prevent its structure from being affected by direct sunlight at certain times of the day.
  • Of course, this does not prevent it from having the ability to adapt to an unprotected area, but it could seriously affect its flowering process.
  • As for the terrain, replicating the natural conditions is the best option and for this it is recommended that it be loose, of good temperature, nourished and with drainage .
  • At certain times the aquilegia vulgaris could withstand a certain level of waterlogging, as long as it is not excessive and is not repeated a lot.

How to prepare the land?

As it is a plant that does well with nutrients for proper development, it is worth preparing the soil by adding a layer of organic matter .

This process does not have to be very complicated, with only homemade organic matter such as homemade compost will be more than enough.

Drainage, as already mentioned, is essential and that is why it is advisable to mix with coarse sand to ensure compliance.

How do we water aquilegia vulgaris?

Liberally to ensure the soil is moist enough most of the time.

However, it is important to take into account that these must be carried out on the basis of the root, avoiding wetting the leaves so as not to allow the appearance of fungi.

How often do we water?

The waterings will be established at a rate of 3 times a week, watering thoroughly in each session.

It is worth mentioning that aquilegia can survive a few days of drought, as long as it is not in full sunlight and this condition is not repetitive.

How to sow aquilegia vulgaris step by step?

The sowing of aquilegia vulgaris will be done from the seeds . These can be taken from an existing plant or purchased from a store.

It is important to note that the conditions of genetic variability prevent ensuring that the daughter plant will be the same as the mother when the seeds are collected.

However, with certified seeds it will be possible to ensure that the characteristics indicated on the packaging will be obtained.

Now, regarding the sowing procedure for aquilegia vulgaris:

  1. Choose the seeds that you will use for sowing.
  2. Bury them in seedbeds prepared with universal substrate and sand, ensuring a thin layer of soil on each of them.
  3. Water precisely and ensure that the soil is always moist to improve germination capacity.
  4. Put them in a cool place where they get some sunlight each day.
  5. Transplant the seedlings in autumn ensuring the placement of a little mulch to improve the humidity and temperature conditions of the land.

In general, aquilegia is capable of multiplying very well by its own seeds if the soil and environmental conditions are given.

What care does aquilegia vulgaris need?

  • Fertilizing with special fertilizers for flowering plants is ideal because it will enhance the chances of obtaining beautiful blooms.
  • These fertilizations are carried out by diluting the chosen product in the irrigation water and then applying it normally.
  • Ideally, a subscriber should be planned every 15 days in spring and until the beginning of summer.
  • Pruning will only be done for aesthetic purposes to remove wilted flowers and dry leaves that have been attached to the plant after flowering.

What pests and diseases affect aquilegia vulgaris?

There are certain pests and diseases capable of causing damage to the structure of aquilegia, so we must be very careful.


Aphids are one of them, since they are attracted to the sap content of the plant for their consumption.

The positive part is that they are possible to treat with natural products such as nettle extract .


Rust is a fungal-type disease that could also cause serious damage to plants.

Its symptoms begin with the presence of necrotic spots on the structure of the leaves that get bigger and bigger.

The use of fungicides will be the only convenient way to counteract the attack.

One of the most important data that it is necessary to rescue regarding aquilegia is that it is very resistant to low temperatures.

Cases of aquilegia have been seen that have survived up to 15º C below zero without this restricting their next flowering.

What must be taken into account is that it is a species that does not survive for many years.

This leads to the need for subsequent planting to be done if the area is to be kept embellished with its beautiful, brightly colored flowers.

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