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Regional Picks: Plants for Dry Shade – Southern Plains

Fine Gardening – Issue 158

Golden columbine

Name: Aquilegia chrysantha and cvs.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8

Size: 2 feet tall and wide

Conditions: Partial to full shade; sandy to loam soil

Any perennial that gives you large yellow spring flowers while growing in the shade is valuable for a tree-filled landscape. In addition to its colorful blooms, golden columbine is a great nectar plant that attracts hummingbirds. This durable native has tremendous tolerance for summer heat, though it may go dormant in a prolonged drought. A mound of delicate blue-green foliage makes the plant attractive even when it’s not in flower. If the long nectar-filled spurs remind you of larkspurs (Delphinium spp. and cvs., Zones 3–7), it is because both plants are in the same family: Ranunculaceae.

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