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Tuesday - May 12, 2015

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: How to protect Columbine plants from Texas sun
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I planted some Red columbine seeds in October of last year and they are now doing well, roughly 6-inches tall. I believed I was planting them in mostly shade at the time; that area now seems to get 6+hours of sun each day. I've planted a Yaupon nearby to increase the shade but it's likely it'll take at least a year for any decent shade from this small tree. My question: Can Red columbine survive in full sun throughout our summer months? Also, what can I do to assist it until the Yaupon takes over and gives a bit more shade? Thank you!

ANSWER:

I assume that you have grown the popular Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine).  I suggest that you plant a rapidly growing species, such as Solidago canadensis (Canada goldenrod),Helianthus maximiliani (Maximilian sunflower) or Physostegia virginiana (Fall obedient plant) between the Columbine and the prevailing sun's rays to provide some shade.  You may need temporary shade cloth to protect your Columbine until the taller shading species reach a suitable height.  The shading plants mentioned above should be available at one of the local plant nurseries.

I have found that a yellow native Texas Columbine, Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana (Hinckley's golden columbine) survives several hours of direct sun in Austin, although it is rather unattractive in midsummer.  A red cultivar also has a degree of heat tolerance. If you chose to plant one or more of these possibly more heat-tolerant varieties, you would need to separate each variety at some distance from the others because Columbine hybridizes readily.

 

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