Columbine Aquilegia 'Alaska' (State Series)

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
columbine 'Alaska'


Aquilegia 'Alaska' is a striking ornamental plant, well-loved for its distinctive and elegant appearance. This particular variety showcases a harmonious blend of white flowers, which exude a classic and pure aesthetic. The blooms are notable for their unique shape, composed of a series of contrasting, spurred petals that gracefully project backwards, resembling the appearance of small bonnets or the wings of a bird in flight. At the center of each flower, a group of contrasting yellow stamens adds a vivid splash of color, creating a beautiful contrast against the white petals that is both eye-catching and serene. The foliage of Aquilegia 'Alaska' forms a delicate and airy backdrop for the flowers, comprising a collection of soft green leaves that have a slightly blue or grayish tinge. The leaves are often divided into rounded lobes, giving them a lace-like appearance that contributes to the plant's overall whimsical and cottage garden feel. The foliage emerges in an attractive mound that sets the stage for the flower stalks which rise above with their charming blooms. Overall, Aquilegia 'Alaska' is cherished for its delightful flowers and foliage that come together to create a picture of elegance and simplicity. Its white blossoms are a favored choice among gardeners looking to add a touch of serenity to their garden palette.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Columbine, Granny's Bonnet.

    • Common names

      Aquilegia 'Alaska'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Columbine, specifically the Aquilegia 'Alaska', contains several toxic compounds, primarily the alkaloid compound called aquileginin. If ingested, it can be poisonous to humans. The symptoms of poisoning from this plant can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, heart palpitations and breathing difficulties may occur. Consuming large quantities of the plant, particularly the seeds and roots which contain the highest concentration of toxins, could lead to more serious consequences, including seizures or damage to the liver and heart.

    • To pets

      Columbine, also known as Aquilegia 'Alaska', is toxic to pets. The plant contains harmful substances such as cyanogenic glycosides and can lead to symptoms of poisoning if ingested. In pets, these symptoms may include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and potential respiratory or cardiac issues. The severity of the symptoms can vary depending on the amount consumed and the size of the pet, with the possibility of seizures or cardiac failure in extreme cases. As with humans, the most poisonous parts of the plant are the seeds and roots. Pet owners should prevent their animals from consuming any part of this plant.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2 feet (0.61 meters)

    • Spread

      1 foot (0.3 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      North America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts Pollinators: Aquilegia 'Alaska' attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, contributing to pollination in the garden.
    • Aesthetic Appeal: The plant's distinctive white flowers with a yellow center add charm and visual interest to garden landscapes.
    • Low Maintenance: Columbine is relatively easy to care for, requiring minimal attention once established in the right conditions.
    • Cold Tolerant: This variety is known for its hardiness and can thrive in cooler climates, making it a good choice for northern gardens.
    • Shade Tolerance: Columbine can grow in partial shade, providing flexibility in garden design and plant placement.
    • Late Spring Bloomer: It blooms in late spring, providing color and interest after early spring flowers have faded.
    • Good Cut Flowers: The blooms of Aquilegia 'Alaska' make for attractive cut flower arrangements.
    • Perennial Growth: As a perennial, it returns year after year, offering long-term presence in the garden.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • The crushed leaves of Columbine can release a strong fragrance and be used in potpourris or as natural air fresheners for rooms and closets.
    • Dried Columbine flowers can be incorporated into artistic items such as bookmarks and greeting cards for a decorative touch.
    • Columbine's seed pods can be used in dried flower arrangements or as interesting features in botanical art projects due to their unique shape.
    • You can use Columbine petals to make natural dyes for fabrics, offering subtle color derived from its varying flower hues.
    • The foliage of Columbine, with its unique shapes, may be used as a natural stencil or pattern when designing garden pathways or paving stone layouts.
    • Columbine flowers can be used as a natural confetti for outdoor celebrations, providing a biodegradable alternative to synthetic versions.
    • The resilient and elastic stems of the Columbine plant can be woven into small decorative items, such as baskets or wreaths.
    • Pressed Columbine flowers can be used in making handmade paper, giving the paper a beautiful, textured appearance.
    • Columbine can be planted in large pots to create living, decorative privacy screens on balconies or patios.
    • The plant can also serve as a teaching tool in botanical and horticulture classes to illustrate the diversification and adaptability of perennial plants.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant Columbine is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant Columbine is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Determination: The Aquilegia, commonly known as Columbine, thrives in high-altitude regions similar to Alaska’s tough conditions, symbolizing a steadfast nature and the ability to overcome challenges.
    • Resilience: Columbine has the ability to bounce back and grow even after harsh winters or difficult circumstances, representing resilience in adversity.
    • Freedom: The light and airy appearance of Columbine flowers can symbolize a sense of freedom and the joy of the wild, open spaces akin to the Alaskan landscape.
    • Healing: Historically, Columbine has been associated with medicinal uses. Its symbolism for healing extends to emotional and spiritual realms, offering solace and recovery.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Columbines should be watered thoroughly and deeply once a week, applying about 1 to 1.5 gallons of water for each plant, depending on the soil and weather conditions. In hotter and drier periods, you might need to water them more frequently, such as every 3 to 4 days. Always check the moisture level a few inches into the soil; the topsoil can be dry, but the root zone should still be moist. Avoid overhead watering to prevent fungal diseases; instead, water at the base of the plant. During the winter months when the plant is dormant, you can cut back on watering.

  • sunLight

    Columbines thrive in partial shade with gentle morning sunlight and protection from the harsh afternoon sun. The ideal spot is one where they receive about 3 to 6 hours of sunlight daily. Too much sun can stress the plants, especially in hotter climates, while too little can impede flowering. They can also adapt to full sun in cooler regions, but ensure they have enough moisture to avoid wilting.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Columbines prefer a temperate climate with temperatures ranging from 50 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. They are hardy and can tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees and as high as 80 degrees for short periods. However, extended exposure outside these ranges can damage or kill the plants. The ideal growing conditions are those where the nights are cool, and the days are moderately warm.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Columbines to remove dead or spent flowers, which encourages new blooms and prevents the plant from self-seeding excessively. Pruning should be done after the main blooming period, typically in late spring or early summer. If desired, you can also cut back the foliage in the fall to tidy the plant and reduce the risk of overwintering pests. However, some gardeners leave the foliage for winter interest and to protect the crown.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Columbine 'Alaska' thrives in a well-draining soil mix with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. A good mix could be equal parts garden soil, peat, and perlite or sand to ensure drainage and aeration.

  • plantRepotting

    Columbine 'Alaska' does not generally require frequent repotting and can be done every 2-3 years, or when it outgrows its current container.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Columbine 'Alaska' is not overly sensitive to humidity and can tolerate a wide range, but it does best with moderate humidity levels.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright indirect light and ensure soil drainage.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade with moist, fertile soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Columbine 'Alaska' begins its life cycle as seeds, which require stratification—a period of cold to break dormancy—before germination. Upon germination, seedlings develop true leaves and establish a root system. As it enters the vegetative stage, the plant grows stems and foliage, forming a mound of deeply lobed leaves. Following this, it advances to the flowering stage, typically in late spring or early summer, when it produces large, nodding flowers with distinctive spurred petals. After pollination, often assisted by hummingbirds and bees, seeds are set in follicles that mature and eventually release seeds, completing the cycle. The plant then enters a period of dormancy during colder months, only to resume growth the following spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propogation: Columbine, specifically the Aquilegia 'Alaska' variety, is commonly propagated through seed. The ideal time to start sowing columbine seeds is in late winter to early spring for spring blooming. However, seeds require a cold treatment to break their dormancy, a process known as stratification. This can be done by placing seeds in a moistened growing medium such as peat, then chilling them in a refrigerator for approximately three to four weeks. After stratification, seeds can be sown in a lightweight, well-draining potting mix, barely covered with soil, and placed in a bright location with gentle warmth. Germination generally takes about 30 days. It is important to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged to prevent the seeds from rotting. Once seedlings develop true leaves and are strong enough, they can be transplanted to their final location in the garden.