"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away?"

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Monday, June 14, 2010

How to save Columbine Seeds

   I don't know the particular variety of Columbines (Aquilegia) that these are. My father-in-law gave me the plant when he was still running his greenhouse probably about 30 years ago. He is no longer with us, but I still have these beautiful flowers. They bloom in spring a pretty, dark, bluish/purple color. More purple than blue tho. They require absolutely no care from me. It grows best in zones 3-8, and will tolorate full sun to partial shade. Do not plant them in full sun in zones 7-8. Even in my zone 6, it might get too hot. It seemed the ones I had planted in partial shade got about a foot taller than the ones in more sun. Those in full sun were easily 24" to 30" tall. They grow from a central rosette of leaves that kinda of resemble a frilly clover leaf, only larger.

The camera really distorted the flower color above. The true color is in the first pic.
To save seeds from these pods, you should wait till the pods are brownish.Then the seeds will be black.
This is what the seed pods look like after the flowers are gone. The pods are still green yet.

Now when the pods turn sorta brownish, you can see the pointy tips start to open and show the seeds inside.

Now just tip this pod over and wiggle it around and all the seeds will pour out. And you have this:

You can easily get 50 seeds per pod. 
Seeds need light to germinate so dont cover them. You can sow them this time of year like mother nature would, winter sow them. They need stratification if you sow them in spring. Winter sowing works ideally for this type seed. 


  1. Very informative. I don't have columbine here, but I think I may have enough shade now in a few spots to grow it in the future.

    I've been trying to clean my blue flax seeds today. I just can't get all the chaff out! The pods are so tiny and difficult to open that I'm using the eraser end of a pencil to gentle pop it open and try to slide out the flat seeds.

  2. I havent checked mine yet for seeds.

  3. Hi Tammy, I have lots of the blue columbine seeds to collect. The pods are just starting to turn brown.

    I loved reading about your turkey vulture. I have some living/nesting near my farm. On Thursday I plan to post a couple bad photos of the one that hung around and watched me garden.

    I love wildlife and wild birds but it kind of gives you a funny feeling to have a vulture watching you:)