Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Aquilegia ‘Origami Rose & White’ (photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story)
Aquilegia ‘Origami Rose & White’ (photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story)

Click to Enlarge

Zones A2, A3, 1-9, 14-24, 32-45
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water

Aquilegia flabellata Cameo Series

Perennials, Flowers


Lacy foliage and beautifully poised flowers in exquisite pastels, deeper shades, and white give columbines a fairylike, woodland-glen quality. Plants are erect and range from 2 in. to 4 ft. high, depending on species or hybrid.

Divided leaves reminiscent of maidenhair fern (Adiantum) may be fresh green, blue green, or gray green. Slender, branching stems carry erect or nodding flowers to 3 in. across, often with sepals and petals in contrasting colors; they usually have backward-projecting, nectar-bearing spurs. Some columbines have large flowers and very long spurs; these have an airier look than short-spurred and spurless kinds. Double-flowered types lack the delicacy of the single-flowered sort, but they make a bolder color mass. Bloom season comes in spring and early summer.

Plants are not fussy about soil as long as it is well drained. On all columbines, cut back old stems for a second crop of flowers. Most are not long-lived and will need to be replaced every 3 or 4 years. Allow spent flowers to form seed capsules to ensure a crop of volunteer seedlings. If you’re growing hybrids, the seedlings won’t necessarily duplicate the parent plants, but seedlings from species (if grown isolated from other columbines) should closely resemble the originals. Leaf miners are a potential pest, especially on hybrids.

Aquilegia flabellata ‘Nana’ (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)
Aquilegia flabellata ‘Nana’ (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)

Click to Enlarge

Aquilegia flabellata

From Japan. This stocky plant grows 8 in. to 1 1/2 ft. tall and 1 ft. wide, with nodding, two-tone flowers of lilac-blue and creamy white. Hooked spurs to 1 in. long. Differs from most other columbines in having thicker, darker leaves with often overlapping segments. 

Aquilegia flabellata Cameo Series (photo courtesy of Monrovia)
Aquilegia flabellata Cameo Series (photo courtesy of Monrovia)

Click to Enlarge

Cameo Series

This dwarf grows to 4–8 in. high, with two-toned flowers of white and blue, rose, or pink.

You Might Also Like...

Astilbe chinensis pumila

Low mats of leaves are topped by lilac-pink flower clusters that rise to 12–15 in. high.

Astilbe simplicifolia

Grows to about 18 in. high and wide. Leaves are merely cut or lobed, not divided into leaflets. Better...

Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Woodside Gold’

Grows 20 in. tall and wide, with gold and green variegated foliage. You can get selections with blue, ...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More