Columbine is a prolific bloomer, although its season tends to be short in the spring, depending on when the last frost is in your hardiness zone. Typically, the most blooms are from late April to late May, although some Columbine can be encouraged to keep blooming a couple weeks longer.
Common Reasons Why Columbine Isn’t Blooming
The most common reason columbine doesn’t bloom is its age. Columbine only begins to bloom after 2-3 years. Secondly, this perennial can be coaxed into blooming longer if it is deadheaded regularly just above a bud on the stem. When the old flowers are left on the plant they will form seed and divert energy away from the plant. Lastly, the crown of the plant may be planted too deeply or covered with mulch. Mulching of plants should always be done around the base of the plant, and any stray pieces should be pulled away from the crown.
Pruning Columbine to Help it Bloom
Deadheading during the bloom time will help to encourage more buds. Leaving the plant to set seed will end the blooming period very quickly. Columbine will put all of its energy into forming seed. Additionally, cutting back spent plants as they go into dormancy will help to reduce the danger of spreading diseases that could harm or disfigure the flower buds in the spring.
Fertilizing Columbine to Help it Bloom
Adding supplemental fertilizer to garden-grown Columbine may promote foliage at the expense of flowering. Too much nitrogen in the feed can make the plant spindly and leggy. This extra, leggy growth will attract sap-sucking pests, namely aphids, that will attack and cause a bigger problem than lack of flowers. Cultural and mechanical manipulations are much more successful ways to encourage blooming.
Why Columbine Isn’t Blooming
- Plant not old enough
- Planted too deep
- Too much mulch has built up on the crown of the plant
- Plant has not been deadheaded and has set seed