GARDENING: Outstanding shade-bloomer

By Jeanette Castanon

The Texas Gold Columbine is one of the most spectacular shade-blooming plants. Before the introduction of any plant, years of testing and production has occurred.

Concerning plant size, the Texas Gold Columbine attains a height of 2-3 feet in April after winter growth. Unlike other Columbines, Texas Gold survives the summer and is awakened by the cool weather and rains of fall.

After growing a clump of beautiful fern-like foliage throughout the winter, the plant erupts into a mass of brilliant, golden-yellow, spidery flowers which appear to be dancing in thin air.

Hinckley’s Columbine must be grown in some shade. It will grow in dense shade but performs best with as much as half sun. The more shade there is, the less blooms there will be. The more sun there is, the more blooms there will be, but the foliage will burn worse in the summer.

Plantings beneath deciduous trees (those that lose their leaves during the winter) such as Arizona Ash, Bald Cypress, Montezuma Cypress, Red Oak, Cedar Elm and Crape Myrtles are excellent as the trees provide shade during the hot summer months while allowing the winter sun to shine through while the plant is actively growing.

Since the plant goes somewhat dormant during hot summer months, plan to have summer-thriving, shade-loving plants such as coleus, begonias, caladiums, Blue Shade or impatiens interplanted with the Columbine.

Plant foliage is customarily cut to the ground (just above the crown from which foliage emerges) after bloom and seed drop have occurred. This causes the plant to generate new, lower-growing foliage for the summer.