Columbine is a favorite perennial for many gardeners for its unusual flowers and ease of care. Aquilegia viridiflora is a special variety of this plant that lovers of columbine need to check out. Also known as green or chocolate soldier or green columbine, it produces stunning, chocolate brown blooms.
What are Green Columbine Plants?
The two common names for this plant, green-flowered columbine and chocolate soldier columbine, seem contradictory, but this unique variety produces flowers that have touches of both pale green and chocolate brown. For those not familiar with columbine, the flowers are inverted and bell or bonnet shaped. On the green flower columbine, the sepals are pale green and the petals chocolate brown to purple. This variety of columbine grows to about 12 inches (31 cm.) and is great for beds and flower borders, cottage gardens, and natural or informal areas. It is a fairly compact type of columbine, which makes it a great choice for rock gardens and the front edges of borders and beds. You’ll get flowers in late spring and early summer.
Growing Chocolate Soldier Columbine
Chocolate soldier care is pretty hands-off and easy, another reason why columbine is popular with gardeners. These plants prefer moist soil that is rich and drains well but tolerate a range of soil types as long as they are not too heavy or soggy. They like full sun and will also do well with dappled or partial shade. For best results, water often enough to keep the soil evenly moist. Green flower columbine will readily self-seed, but you may not get true offspring due to interbreeding. If you want to keep the variety pure, deadhead the plants before seeds can be produced. You can also cut these plants back once the appearance of the foliage begins to deteriorate. Pests are not a big issue for columbine but cutting them back will reduce the risk of any infestations.
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Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.
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