If you live in the eastern half of the United States, native Wild Columbine might be a good choice for birdscaping. The Callaway Garden planted just a couple plants three years ago. We looked for a native plant nursery to find this variety and found Naturally Native Nursery in Bowling Green, Ohio. These plants spread by seed to some of the disturbed areas of the yard so this year we decided to transplant them to new areas. Next spring we plan to add other natives -possibly Red Trillium and Woodland Sunflower.
Benefits of Wild Columbine
Early Blooms: one of the first flowers in spring
Low maintenence: doesn’t need any special prep, is perennial and spreads from seed
Benefits wildlife: the flowers are a critical source of nectar for migrating hummingbirds and bees benefit from early blooming plants.
The prominent red elfin flowers of columbines herald the coming of the spring wildflower season and the return of their pollinators, hummingbirds. These welcoming plants serve as the first of the wildflowers to provide a meal to our native hummingbirds. The nectar of the red flowered columbines provides a hummingbird with high sugar content and necessary amino acids. The nectar’s sugar content is twice that of all the other columbines native to North America. -USDA Forest Service
Birdscaping bottom line: hummingbirds and long-tongued insects love it, native to the area and easy to grow in many areas.