Columbine is one of the more hardy perennials in the garden and rarely needs any extra care during the winter months. The one thing that would harm Columbine is waterlogged soil for any length of time. Columbine is hardy in just about any zone and needs a certain amount of cold weather during dormancy to regrow vigorous and healthy in the spring.
Protecting Columbine in Winter
Extra protection is not needed for Columbine. The plants will die back to the ground in the coldest of the hardiness zones. Mulching the plant crowns with leaves or organic compost can protect the plant from frost cycles. Make sure the planting site does not have standing water for long periods of time. Cold, waterlogged soil will cause root rot and death for Columbine by the time spring comes along.
Cutting Back Columbine For Winter
Columbine is completely dormant through the winter in most of the hardiness zones. It dies back to the ground, and the spent material can be removed in the fall or left in place as insulation for the crown. Columbine behaves more like a semi-evergreen in mild winters. During this time, the plant will be resting until active growth resumes in the spring. Cutting back any tattered-looking growth will help keep diseases at bay through the colder months.
Winter Care in Pots
Depending on the container type and your hardiness zone, you may need to provide extra insulation for Columbine over the winter. Generally, Columbine is extremely hardy and can handle winter extremes to zone 3. Container-grown plants have less soil insulating their roots and may be more susceptible to freezing temperatures. Consider moving pots to a more sheltered spot that still gets natural precipitation. Wrapping the outside of a pot in a few layers of burlap is another insulation option. Columbine should not be moved into an unheated greenhouse or garage to overwinter like more tender perennials. They need a period of cold and dormancy to grow back vigorous and healthy. Columbine should not be grown as a houseplant during the winter.
Watering Columbine in Winter
Columbine should not need extra watering during the winter months. Making sure the planting site is not waterlogged or flooded. If there is a problem with drainage during the winter, do not be afraid to dig up Columbine and temporarily pot it up until it can be transplanted to a better site.
Growing Columbine Indoors
Columbine should not be grown indoors. This perennial naturally goes dormant over the winter and needs a period of cold weather to get ready for vigorous growth in the spring.
Steps to Care For Columbine in Winter
Step 1 - Mulch the crown of the plant well with organic compost or leaves
Step 2 - Ensure that the garden stays well drained during the winter months
Step 3 - Move any pot or plant that is in standing water until the drainage can be fixed