En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

 

 

 

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Plant identification and seed source
October 23, 2009 - We drove to Fredricksburg this Saturday the 17th and beginning at about Dripping Springs there is a very showy bright yellow wildflower that is so pretty. It probably is about 2' tall. Would love...
view the full question and answer

Cutting costs on purchase of plants in Boston
April 19, 2008 - I spend OVER $600 per season on annuals for my gardens here in the Boston area each year. I wonder if there is any place you are aware that I can buy discounted plants? I grow the typical geraniums, m...
view the full question and answer

Source for chile pequin plants in Austin
June 11, 2013 - Where can I buy chile pequin plants in Austin? Thank you,
view the full question and answer

Finding a native plant garden designer from Austin
April 10, 2011 - I was at the center today and told to contact you on the website for suggestions on who to call to hire a garden designer to come to my house,lay out a garden and select plants, etc.
view the full question and answer

Sources for Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americana) in Pennsylvania
December 01, 2005 - I am interested in purchasing some Strawberry bush plants but I am having problems finding where I can purchase them. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center