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Friday - August 14, 2009

From: Loveland, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Columbines for September wedding in CO.
Answered by: Amy Johnson


My daughter is planning a September 2010 wedding in Colorado. Is there any way for me to buy Columbines in the spring and keep them cool so that the pots all bloom in September for the wedding? Also, are columbines good cutting flowers for bouquets? Thanks, Mom


Dear Mom,

There are most likely nurseries or florists in your area who would be willing to "force" columbines to bloom in the fall for you.  This forcing will indeed involve keeping them cooler as you had mentioned in your question, probably in the range of 55-68 degrees Fahrenheit, in which case they would most likely bloom in somewhere from 4-9 weeks.  Since this can be a tricky process requiring facilities with strict light (about 16 hours) and temperature control as well as the room to store enough of them for the wedding, I imagine you'd have the best luck finding someone to do it for you, as opposed to attempting to do it yourself.  However, you may be one of those most fortunate souls with one or more roomy greenhouses in your backyard, so if you want to try, best of luck to you!  Then again, since it is your daughter's wedding, you may want to leave little room for error and leave it to the professionals.  You can look up some of your local nurseries at this link:  http://www.wildflower.org/suppliers/

Columbines are often not the best cut flowers, but there are some being grown in order to enhance that quality in them.  There are some cultivars of the Rocky Mountain Columbine or Aquilegia caerulea (Colorado blue columbine) being grown which are called the Song Bird Series, and the blue one of these is called Aquilegia 'Blue Jay' or the Blue Jay Columbine.  These look much like the original native Colorado Blue Columbine, are meant to keep their color longer, and have slightly more erect stems.  Since we are dealing with Mother Nature though, you may want to consider mixing them with some greens or other filler that can help support them, and possibly even think about keeping some in decorative pots, maybe as accents down the aisle for example.  Being in soil in the pots will help support them better than many vases will.  You could arrange some moss around the tops of the pots for an extra flourish.  Whatever you decide, I hope that you are able to have the beautiful flowers you had hoped for in your daughter's wedding!

Aquilegia caerulea

Aquilegia caerulea

Aquilegia caerulea

Aquilegia caerulea





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