Sow aquilegia seeds from February to June or September to October at 15-20C (59-68F), on the surface of a good quality seed compost and cover with a fine sprinkling of vermiculite. Keep the soil damp but not wet and do not exclude light. Place in a propagator or seal the seed tray inside a polythene bag until after germination, which usually takes 1-3 months. When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant and grow them on in cooler conditions until large enough to plant outdoors. When aquilegia plants are well grown and all risk of frost has passed, acclimatise them to outdoor conditions over 7 to 10 days. Overwinter October sowings in a coldframe and plant out the following spring. Grow aquilegias in a sun or part shade in fertile, moist, well drained soil at a distance of 30cm (12") apart.
Columbines hybridize readily. If seedlings are not wanted, deadhead faded aquilegia flowers to prevent them self seeding. Aquilegias dislike disturbance but overcrowded clumps may be lifted and divided in spring when necessary. Caution: Contact with aquilegia sap may irritate the skin.
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