How to Grow and Care For Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Nora Barlow’

How to Grow and Care For Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Nora Barlow’

How to Grow and Care For Aquilegia vulgaris ‘Nora Barlow’

Image by Darorcilmir from Wikipedia

Aquilegias, which bloom in early summer, bridge the seasonal gap between the last of the spring bulbs and the main flush of summer perennials. Aquilegia ‘Nora Barlow’ produces flowerheads that are nearly spherical, fully double, and covered in masses of tiny pink and white petals that are surrounded by golden yellow sepals. It’s a well-known aquilegia, grown for its graceful, upright habit and lovely blooms.

Grow Aquilegia ‘Nora Barlow’ in sun to partial shade in fertile, moist but well-drained soil. Lift and divide clumps every three to five years, and mulch with well-rotted manure or compost once a year. Aquilegias are notorious for self-seeding in the garden.

Botanical nameAquilegia vulgaris ‘Nora Barlow’
Common nameGranny’s bonnet
Plant TypePerennial
Soil typeChalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Moisture Moist but well–drained
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Blooming SeasonLate April to Early June
Flower ColorPink, White 
Hardiness Zones3 – 8
Planting EnvironmentFull sun, Partial shade
Plant size 90cm height 45cm spread
Exposure Exposed or Sheltered

Aquilegia ‘Nora Barlow’ Growing Instructions

Common columbine ‘Nora Barlow’ is a perennial plant that can live for 4 to 5 years on average, with some species only living for 1 to 2 years. We can propagate it in general by sowing or transplanting. Because the seeds of common columbine ‘Nora Barlow’ have a short shelf life, they should be planted the same year they are collected. Before sowing, prepare slightly moistened sandy soil, spread the seeds evenly, gently press the soil, and cover it with a layer of glass instead of fine soil, then place it in a shady environment with a temperature of about 18 – 24 °C for germination.

It takes approximately 2 to 4 weeks for seeds to germinate, and it may take several months for a few seeds to break dormancy and germinate. In general, seeds of common columbine ‘Nora Barlow’ do not need to be exposed to low temperatures to promote germination; however, if the seeds do not germinate after a long period of time, they can be stored at a low temperature environment of -4 – 4 °C for 2 to 4 weeks to break dormancy, and then they can be taken out for sowing again. Seeds that are not being used immediately can be stored in a refrigerator at a low temperature until the next sowing season.

Because ‘Nora Barlow’ common columbine has a strong ability to self-seed and spread naturally without being sown, you can also transplant the seedlings and place them where you want them. When transplanting, the root cap should be flush with the soil surface, and all of the fragile and fine roots should be buried in the soil.

Because the root system of common columbine ‘Nora Barlow’ is relatively fragile, it is not well suited for division propagation; therefore, if you must divide a plant, dig out the entire plant and use a sharp knife to divide the entire root system into several clumps, which should be planted separately as soon as possible without shaking off the root soil. Plants should be divided in the spring and supported with plant stakes as they grow taller.


Because common columbine ‘Nora Barlow’ prefers a slightly moist but well-drained growing environment, water it once a week or until the soil is dry through. Because the plant is thin and weak, water it slowly and sparingly.


Before planting, add one or two teaspoons of general plant fertiliser or bone meal to the soil. Throughout the growing season, Columbines can receive one monthly application of liquid fertiliser to encourage leaf growth and enhance the appearance of the flowers.


In the summer, cut off the withered leaves to allow them to regrow. Pruning withered flowers at the appropriate time can reduce unnecessary nutrient consumption and extend the flowering period.
If there is no need to collect seeds at the end of the flowering period, the plant’s above-ground parts can be cut back for germination the following year. If the common columbine ‘Nora Barlow’ has been planted for three or four years, the entire plant can be uprooted in the fall and new seedlings can be planted with seeds.


After blooming, the common columbine ‘Nora Barlow’ usually produces a large number of seeds, which can be collected and sown in the fall. If the seeds are not collected, they will often spread naturally and produce a large number of self-seedlings in the fall or the following spring. Because the self-seeding ability of common columbine ‘Nora Barlow’ is so strong, it should be controlled to prevent seedlings from spreading out of the garden.
Furthermore, common columbine ‘Nora Barlow’ is very easy to hybridise with. To avoid hybridization, plant different Columbine species at regular intervals if you want to keep the characteristics of the seed plant and its mother plant consistent.