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Mr. Smarty Plants - Companion plant for columbine in Summer

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Sunday - February 01, 2009

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Companion plant for columbine in Summer
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Please suggest a companion plant for Texas columbine that will hide them when they are ragged in summer but won't interfere with their seeding out to make new plants.

ANSWER:

Rather than a companion "plant," how about "plants?" It's always a gamble to depend on just one plant to serve a particular purpose. In this case, we suggest finding a selection of annual and perhaps perennial flowering plants that will bloom and flourish at different times than the Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana (Hinckley's golden columbine). The columbine is a short-lived perennial which will reseed itself, given the time to recuperate in dormancy during the hot summer. It can take sun to shade, but does best in partial shade.  This particular species blooms in April and May. We're going to go to our Recommended Species section, click on Central Texas on the map, and NARROW YOUR SEARCH by selecting "Herb" under Habit, and part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun a day) for light requirements. By not checking anything under Duration, we will get plants that are both annual and perennial. If your sun exposure in that area is different, or you have a special soil moisture situation, you can use the same technique to find other plants more suitable.  Follow the plant link to each individual plant page to find color, size, etc.  that will help you choose the best one for your situation.

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed) - perennial, blooms May to September

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower) - perennial, blooms July to November

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower) - perennial, blooms April to September

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel) - annual, blooms May to August

Machaeranthera tanacetifolia (tanseyleaf tansyaster) - perennial, blooms March to November

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot) - perennial, blooms March to November

Salvia coccinea (blood sage) - annual, blooms February to October


Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana

Asclepias tuberosa

Conoclinium coelestinum

Echinacea purpurea

Gaillardia pulchella

Machaeranthera tanacetifolia

Melampodium leucanthum

Salvia coccinea

 

 

 

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