En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Need source for seeds or plants of Pinus remota in Johnson City, TX..
October 18, 2011 - I cannot seem to find a source for Pinus remota or papershell pinyon pine. Who Grows this? I understand it is rare and would love to try it here in Johnson City. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Difficulty identifying/finding a plant
August 21, 2010 - I have been advised that the Calandria (sic) is a good plant to cover a cement wall surrounding our home in La Quinta, CA. I cannot find such a plant on line. Can you assist? I want to entirely cov...
view the full question and answer

Flowering Deer Resistant Ground Cover for Dry Rocky Soil: Alabama
March 26, 2012 - My question has been partially answered in the FAQ but I live in Birmingham where the soil is clay and rocky so it's a little different. I want to plant on a rocky slope (small rocks like the size of...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of skunk cabbage
December 18, 2003 - Where can I purchase root stock for a start of skunk cabbage to plant? in my wetland?
view the full question and answer

Arizona centaury near Lost Maples from Austin
November 05, 2012 - I found a clump of Arizona centaury growing/blooming beside a road near Lost Maples State Nat. Area in the Texas hill country last week. Centaurium calycosum is the scientific name. I have 2 questio...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center