Beautiful, gray-green leaves resembling cilantro and one of the most unusual flowers of any local California native (we think they look like little jester’s hats), this diminutive, orange and yellow beauty is a truly moisture-loving plant that requires a commitment to regular watering. (You’ll most often see it growing near creeks, seeps or springs in the wild.)
Western Columbine is a short-lived plant overall, but its luxuriant seeding habit will likely produce multiple seedlings even if you lose the “mother plant” to either senescence or inland heat/drought. At the LANPS garden, we’ve found that Western Columbine is most happy in filtered/dappled sunlight and constantly moist soil. Given these two cultural requirements, it can bloom, non-stop, from spring to late summer. Aquilegia formosa goes well with other shade and water-loving riparian plants such as Erythranthe cardinalis (Scarlet Monkeyflower) and Adiantum capillus-veneris (Southern Maiden Hair).