The structural shapes of columbine flowers give them an alien appearance. After the flowers have been pollinated the petals fall off exposing a tube-shaped seed pod. If you look closely at the columbine flower photo above you’ll see two seed pods developing.
When you’re looking at columbine seed pods another visual clue that you can collect seeds is the way they open. Each pod creates these funnel shaped-tube and expose the seeds. You may even hear the seed pods ripen in the garden before you see them. Strong winds and brushing against the seed pods will create a rattling sound.
Inside each seed pod there will be a lot of small, shiny back seeds. The columbine seed “pod” is sturdy and keeps the seeds on the stem for a long time. As I write this it is late October and I still have seeds in their pod in the garden.
You may hear reference to columbines being promiscuous because they will readily hybridize in your garden with the help of pollinators. I originally only had the darker of the columbines (on the left in the picture above); the purple and white columbine came from seeds I saved from my garden. My almost black columbine flowers crossed with a lighter columbine to produce the bloom on the right.
How to Collect Columbine Flower Seeds Video
Columbines grow great in shady woodland gardens and the bright bloom colors of some of the hybrids really pop in the shade. Beside leaf miner bug damage I haven't noticed that they're bothered by garden pests. In my garden they seem to do perfectly well in full sun and with minimal watering. Columbine seedlings are easy to spot in the garden and should be weeded out if they’re growing in areas you don’t want them to because they’ll flower and set seeds and spread rapidly. After you’ve collected columbine flower seeds the easiest way to grow them from seeds is to plant them directly in the ground where you want them to grow. Plant columbine seeds late in the fall so they can germinate in the spring. The first year you’ll probably only get foliage, but by the second year your columbines will create a flush of blooms. If the meaning of columbine flowers interest you, then you may enjoy Shakespeare's Flowers, a great book on the flowers and their meaning found in Shakespeare's work. Columbines are mentioned in Hamlet they're one of the flowers Ophelia presents to the King, and coincidentally the middle name of the illustrator of the book is Ophelia. If you're new to gardening or saving seeds see How to Save Seeds From Your Garden for Next Year. My post with seed saving tips for newbie gardeners.